10 Tips for Running to Lose Weight and Keep it Off
If you want to lose a few pounds, there is no better way than counting calories and lacing up those running shoes!
To lose weight (and keep it off!), follow these 10 steps to build a diet with numerous health benefits and running workouts that will yield long-lasting results.
1. Try A Fasted-State Run
Intermittent fasting is a popular weight-loss method that involves scheduling time blocks during the day when you eat and when you don’t. It’s a tricky diet and is certainly not for everyone. If you find that intermittent fasting isn’t ideal for you, you could try a fasted-state run.
Fasted-state runs involve hitting the trails on an empty stomach. Lace-up your running shoes within an hour of waking and go for an easy run. On an empty stomach, your body will burn body fat a little quicker than if you ate a full breakfast.
Running on an empty stomach is more complicated, so starting slow is best. I suggest going for a brisk morning walk to see how your body reacts.
If all goes well, slowly add more miles at a higher intensity and watch that fat melt away!
2. Go For Longer Distances
If fat loss is your ultimate goal, long-distance running is a great way to burn fat; so don’t go for short sprints. When you lace up your running shoes to go for a run, try to push yourself a little further each time. It’s essential to set goals and celebrate little milestones along the way.
Set a conversational pace where you can still hold a conversation with a friend and add more miles or more minutes to your daily runs. The longer you are engaged in aerobic/cardio activity, the more efficiently you will burn fat and shed pounds.
3. Don’t Fall Into A Rut
Diets are difficult, and they can suck the joy out of your life – at least at first. While steamed broccoli and grilled chicken is an excellent dinnertime meal, eating it every night is a surefire way to rage-quit your diet. The same thing can be said for running.
If you hit up the same stretch of sidewalk or trail three times a week, things can get a little boring. When things are boring, you are more likely to quit. The great thing about running is that you can do it anywhere!
Turn your runs into an adventure – try out new trails in your town, or go for a run in various areas of town to change up the scenery a little bit. It’s incredible how a slight change of scenery can breathe new life into your workouts.
4. Don’t Reward Yourself With Food
I am certainly guilty of this. If you had a perfect run, it’s easy to undo all of your hard work with a single donut. When running, you burn roughly 100 calories per mile, and that’s a lot of calories.
So, if you went out for a 4-mile run and then rewarded yourself with a slice of cheesecake that evening, it’s like you never run at all!
This doesn’t mean that you cant treat yourself after your workouts/any forms of exercise. Swap out food rewards for something else. I found a lot of success investing in fancy bath bombs and treating myself to a soothing bath instead of dessert at the end of the day.
Other post-workout treats could be anything from a massage, a movie, online shopping, a cup of tea, giving yourself a facial, or a good old-fashioned nap!
5. You Can’t Out Run Those Calories
Let’s say that you need to eat 2000 calories a day to lose weight, but you go over your daily calorie intake by 600 calories. Six hundred calories may seem like a lot, but a pit stop to a coffee shop where you grab a coffee and a muffin can quickly add up.
If you want to outrun those calories, you will need to run around 6 miles per day to break even.
While this line of thinking may work for holidays (where it’s just too tricky to say within your calorie budget), it’s not sustainable in the long run.
6. Mark Success Off The Scale
You’ve been running for weeks, but that needle on the scale doesn’t want to budge. Don’t quit!
While it may be frustrating, this may likely be because you are losing fat and gaining muscle. It’s essential to mark success by more than just numbers on the scale.
When you start your running weight-loss journey, I highly suggest taking a before picture as well as writing down your measurements.
Even if your weight has stayed the same, your measurements have likely shrunk, and your body feels better. Keep at it, and those numbers will eventually start to drop!
7. Make Those Calories Count
Counting the amount of calories is the best way to shed pounds and reduce body mass, so make those calories count! If you have 1,500 available calories per day and you use those calories to eat four slices of pizza and a chocolate sundae, your runs will suffer!
To fuel your runs, you must fill your body with a good balance of healthy dietary carbohydrates (swap out your white rice with brown rice, for instance), lean protein (beans, eggs, chicken breasts), and fruits and veggies.
A healthy diet is the key to weight loss/fat burning and will also help boost energy to get you through your run.
8. Always Be Hydrating
When engaging in any aerobic cardiovascular activity, restoring lost hydration is essential. Ensuring that you take in enough water will help your muscles repair after a long run and trick your body into thinking that you are full!
Be sure that you replenish your body with a tall glass of water after a run (or a healthy energy drink), and take in enough water throughout the day.
To keep your hunger monster in check, try and feed it water instead of food. This will trick your body into thinking that it’s full to eliminate the desire to reach for some snacks while also soothing your tired muscles.
9. Add Weights
On your off-days, hitting up the gym for strength training is a great way to increase endurance, muscle mass, and shed calories. If you run 3-4 days per week, try squeezing in a little bit of weight training in the middle of the week.
Not only is this a great way to shed calories while allowing your joints time to recover, but it can make you a better runner.
Don’t have access to a gym? No worries! Bodyweight exercises can be just as practical as weight training.
Try a quick 30-minute circuit of push-ups, jump rope, jumping squats, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and burpees to send that metabolism into high gear.
10. Getting Out There Is Half The Battle
Some days you don’t feel it – and that’s ok! Dieting is hard, and burnout is a fact of life. If you are feeling a little burned out, set your expectations low. Instead of going for a long-distance run, go for a brisk walk.
The hardest part of a running plan isn’t that first mile but the act of lacing up those running shoes. Simply getting outside and moving is the key to success.
If you missed a workout/some aerobic exercise (whether it’s because you are just too busy or low energy), that’s ok too! Everyone has an off-day, and the good news is that tomorrow is a fresh start.
The measure of a weight loss goal is how quickly you can get back on that horse!
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