Does running burn belly fat any faster than other cardio exercises for weight loss like the stepmill or the elliptical?
As you research for ways to achieve your goal to get leaner body, you may find that the one of the most popular weight loss activities that everyone seems to be doing is running.
But the question that always seems to come up is if running burns more actual belly fat or if it simply burns up more overall calories, but not necessarily fat.
So in this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how running affects weight loss and if it’s one of the best fat burning workouts to do if you want to lose weight.
Does Running Target More Belly Fat?
To start out with, there’s no denying the fact that running is one of the greatest forms of cardiovascular activity and can definitely get you in shape quickly.
In addition to that, running is also an excellent overall calorie burner.
According to Runner’s World magazine, the average person is able to burn approximately 100 calories per mile that they complete. 
So most people assume that since the weight loss equation is all about burning up more calories than you consume, it would mean that running is a one of the best activities for burning belly fat.
But is there any real truth to that statement?
Is running really all that great for targeting the fat on your belly?
Let’s find out.
How Does Running Affect Your Metabolism?
The very first thing to think about when trying to figure out if running really burns more belly fat is how much of an impact it will have on your overall metabolic rate.
Ideally when performing your exercises you want to be doing activities that are not only going to burn calories while you do them, but that are also going to cause you to continue to burn calories all day long.
This will really help to rev-up your overall daily calorie expenditure and move you that much closer to your weight loss goals.
Unfortunately, this is where running falls a little bit short.
Unless you’re doing come form of interval training and running a series of sprints, a long and moderate paced jog isn’t going to do much to elevate your metabolism for serious fat burning.
What that equates to is the calorie burning effects, and ultimately the benefits, stop when you do.
So while it does burn a good number of overall calories while you are actually performing the activity, over the long term you are not going to get the fat burning benefits that you are after.
How Does Running Affect Hunger?
Finally, let’s take a look at how running affects your hunger and food cravings.
There’s no denying that if you do a high amount of running, it’s going to have an effect on your levels of hunger.
This is because you need a fair share of calories to sustain your run and your body is going to burn a lot up in the process.
That doesn’t mean that your body is burning up fat, it’s simply burning up a lot of calories in the form of glycogen (carbs).
Now, if you get done with your run and then give in to your cravings and eat a large snack, this will now benefit you in your quest to shed belly fat.
You still need to stick to your meal plan in order to make sure you are burning fat.
The fact is, it’s incredibly easy to replenish all of the calories that you just burned off with your run, so you have to be careful when you eat when you are finished.
Does Running Burn Up Muscle Mass?
Another aspect of running that needs to be addressed is how it affects your lean muscle mass.
Probably the most efficient way to lose belly fat is to find a way to increase your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which is your metabolic efficiency while you are at rest.
When you are able to boost your BMR, you are going to be able to burn more calories without doing anything extra.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through resistance training such as lifting weights.
Since resistance training stimulates the growth of lean muscle tissue, this will be far superior to running.
As a matter of fact, distance running can actually cause you to burn up lean muscle tissue, which is why bodybuilders and other physique competitors steer clear of it while training for competitions.
If you take a look at runners who compete in marathons and such, you will see that most are very thin and lack any type of significant muscle tone.
This is also why, if they ever stopped running as much as they do, they would start to gain a high amount of body fat back.
So there you have it, a few pointers to think about if you decide you are going to use running as in your fat loss program.
If you insist to include running in your program then just be sure to include some form of resistance training like free-weights or machines as part of your routine.
Also, make sure that you are still sticking to your nutrition program as well and not adding in anything extra to offset your hunger.
Gabe is a trainer, nutrition consultant, health & fitness blogger, author, researcher and nutritional supplement expert. He writes for several bodybuilding and fitness websites and has authored hundreds of articles on nutrition, supplements, motivation and training routines. Stay in the loop by following Gabe on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.