There’s been a lot of confusing and conflicting information over the years put forth as to whether or not exercise is a useful tool for weight loss. And not only has debate raged over whether or not it’s exercise or diet that’s a useful weight loss tool.

If one wants to take the exercise approach, for example, there are many arguments as to just what kind is best, both from a fat burning perspective and a health and safety one.

And none of these arguments are without merit. Any type of weight loss program should not be entered into lightly, in order to protect one’s health, time, and money. It’s easier to burn through cash than it is body fat trying to reduce waistlines.

All of this should be considered before taking up the A4 Size Waist Challenge. The challenge of course, as chronicled on China’s Weibo, is to reduce waist sizes to the size of a vertically held sheet of 8.3 x 11.7-inch-wide (21cm wide) A4 piece of printer paper. Is such a feat possible?

Can You Lose Weight Through Exercise?

To get that A4 size waist, or achieve weight loss of any significance, various approaches have to be looked at. The key, of course, is to burn up more calories than one takes in, resulting in a reduction of body fat. Watching what one eats definitely helps. However, exercise is the best way to achieve lasting weight loss.

Why go to all the effort of shrinking down to an A4 size waist if you can’t keep it? But as this data from the internationally famous Mayo Clinic shows, not all types of exercise get the same calorie burning results. One of the listed forms of exercise that does? Running.

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The Advantages Of Running For Exercise

Humans have been running since the time they began moving around on two legs, although admittedly they were first doing it for survival, either running from megafauna, or themselves hunting.

Running as a form of sport showed up in ancient Greece and Britain as a part of religious ceremonies thousands of years ago. And running as a means of training for other sports has been around for hundreds of years as well. But it wasn’t until the publishing of a book called Jogging in the United States in 1962 that the general public began to truly understand the many benefits that running could offer them.

A daily running program has not only been shown to burn off calories, and burn up body fat, it improves mental and emotional health, improves the quality of one’s sleep, and even enhances sex drive!

So Will Running Give You That A4 Size Waist?

The short answer to this question is that it depends. More specifically, it depends on what you are doing in addition to running. Remember, a running program’s biggest contribution to weight loss is that it helps to keep lost weight from returning.

The single biggest factor that contributes to weight loss is taking in fewer calories than you’re burning up when exercising. So to truly make progress in waist shrinking, you need to combine your running regime with a specific calorie diet.

But one must be careful. You’re not going to be enjoying, and others won’t be admiring, that A4 size waist if you get ill or worse by not safely combining diet and exercise to achieve it.

While there are lots of carbs included in this suggested diet, these foods are important in order to stay healthy and be able to continue running. You must burn off about 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound, so adjust the amounts of these recommended foods accordingly, in order to be able to run off what you eat.

Remember to stay well hydrated as well. Water not only acts as an appetite suppressant, it protects your body’s various systems while exercising. Avoid so-called “energy drinks” while exercising. These products tend to be high in sugar and caffeine, and not much that’s going to be helpful in achieving that A4 size waist.

And after running, don’t fight off your body’s tiredness and the urge to sleep. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can result in the body retaining and even gaining weight.

Other Tips For Burning Off Belly Fat

So while running, combined with reduced calorie intake are your best hopes of shrinking the waistline, remember that it has to be a dedicated, daily, running program of five miles or more to really see results.

There’s nothing wrong with indoor or treadmill running in poor weather either, as long as you increase treadmill time to compensate for the ground that you’re losing by not actually moving.

Non-running tips include giving up alcohol, a beverage whose high calorie count is very “sobering”. Taking a Vitamin D supplement on a daily basis has been shown to trigger weight loss in users.

A photo posted by Crystal Fung (@crystalfyy) on

And accepting that you might not reach your A4 size goal in running and exercising, and hey, that’s all right, can be helpful as well. Those with positive, cheerful outlooks tend to get the best results with both weight loss and exercise programs.

So if one treats the A4 Size Challenge as a “maybe” goal, and treats running as a great form of relaxation and exercise rather than a means to an end, one might find that they’ve achieved their goal without even trying.

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Whether you think the A4 size paper waist challenge is simply absurd or if you are paper thin, we have only this to say.

Beauty can not be defined by a piece of paper!

Runners, is an A4 size waistline important to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Nathan Lin

Nathaniel is a certified personal trainer from Hong Kong and holds a master’s degree in psychology and exercise physiology. As a columnist for RunSociety, he aims to provide the readers with the information they need to make educated and informed health and fitness decisions, yet often adding in his funny observations.

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