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Is it possible to increase fat burning while running? Probably not, but let me tell you a story and you can make your own mind up.

1 The Story of Fatthumping

Some years ago I became intolerant to soy protein, and it caused digestive distress when I ran. It took me some months to realize the underlying problem was soy, and so I spent quite a bit of time running with an uncomfortable tummy. I found that by patting, slapping or gently thumping my abdomen I could settle things down. I also started to notice that this 'fat thumping' also seemed to reduce fat levels on my abdomen and also help slightly with weight loss. I've overcome the soy problem (by not eating soy), but I've continued periodic Fatthumping while running and noticed a correlation with abdominal fat reduction. The Fatthumping only seems to help when I'm doing a long run, not when sedentary. I've also felt that it sometimes gives me more energy on the run itself.

2 Why this is nonsense

There are many reasons why Fatthumping is nonsense.

  • If this worked, someone else would have found it, patented it, written a book, started a TV show and be rich and famous.
  • The effect (if there is one) is most likely to be the placebo effect.
  • Any reduction in abdominal fat could be the result of the Fatthumping moving water out of the adipose tissue, in which case it will return.

3 Some vague, pseudo-scientific reasoning

Studies into what fuels exercise at different intensities have shown that the burning of peripheral fat is fairly constant in terms of Calories/minute from 25% to 65% VO2max, which is between walking pace and a slow run for me. However, above 65%, the rate of peripheral fat burning drops significantly. In addition, there is some evidence that this reduction in peripheral fat burning is due to a lack of mobilization within the fat tissues rather than a change in the way the muscles burn fuel. Therefore it is a theoretical possibility that Fatthumping will mobilize the fat within the fat tissue during exercise and increase the rate of fat burning.