Running to Lose Weight: How to Exercise and Eat to Get Results

running to lose weight

It helps, and it's a proven fact. A year of easy half-hour runs four times a week can lose about 3. 3 kg without dieting.

In addition, running is better for losing and maintaining weight than walking and exercising on an exercise bike (the latter applies to overweight and obese people).

But despite the proven effectiveness, even with regular classes, you can get inconclusive if you don't take into account some important factors. Below we will discuss how to run to lose weight safely.

If you have problems with the cardiovascular system or the musculoskeletal system, or if you are overweight or obese, consult your doctor before starting the course.

How to run for weight loss

Start gradually

If it's been a few years since you last ran, don't rush it right away. Their main tasks: gradually accustom the body to physical activity, maintain health and the desire to run.

Alternate easy running with brisk walking for the first few training sessions. For example, run for three minutes, then walk for the next two minutes, and then continue to walk.

Repeat this five-minute series six times and you have a perfect half-hour workout that will tire any beginner. Reduce your walking time as you get used to it until you can walk non-stop for 30 minutes.

After that, congratulate yourself on a small win, but don't relax.

Increase the intensity

Running, no matter how strenuous it may seem at first, doesn't burn as many calories as we'd like. For example, running 30 minutes at 8 km/h for a 70 kg person will only burn about 290 kcal.

As the speed increases, so does the power consumption. The same person uses 360 kcal in half an hour when running at a speed of 10 km / h, and when accelerating to 12 km / h, about 450 kcal.

The Cochrane Review of Scientific Studies mentioned that intense exercise increases weight loss by 1. 5 kg per year compared to more relaxed activities. So it makes sense to stretch a little more during training.

Set a goal to complete a kilometer of your run a little faster and see how it makes you feel. If everything went well, next time try to run a little more at the chosen speed.

You can also gradually increase the running time - this also has a positive effect on your energy costs.

Calm running alternates with HIIT and sprints

There are several methods of running training that are effective for weight loss:

  • Long smooth runsat the same pace. They typically last 30-60 minutes, and the entire time you're working at a low heart rate of around 130-140 beats per minute.
  • High-intensity interval training(HIIT). This method alternates short bursts of high-speed running with quieter periods of recovery. For example, if you run at a heart rate of 90% of maximum (about 170 beats per minute) for one minute, then run at 60% of maximum (114 beats per minute) for 30 seconds, and repeat this for 15-20 minutes.
  • interval sprints(IP). Here you give your best for a short time and then relax. For example, run as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 4 minutes and repeat several times.

There is evidence that interval training is better for losing weight than long, steady cardio training. In one study, 20 men and women either ran quietly for 30-60 minutes three times a week or did 4-6 sprints of 30 seconds each.

After six weeks, the sprinting group lost 12. 6% body fat, while those doing gentle cardio lost just 5. 8%.

The same thing was found in three other experiments involving 23 and 49 young healthy women: At 6 and 15 weeks of exercise, intense interval training helped lose significantly more fat than long, quiet cardio.

But a meta-analysis of 31 papers didn't confirm the benefits of HIIT and sprints over calm cardio. Scientists came to the conclusion that both options are good, but the difference between them is insignificant.

In another review, 13 studies found that both gentle running and high-intensity intervals helped obese people lose about 0. 8 kg of extra fat. That's right, they found that intervals take 40% less time.

So it's definitely not worth doing absolutely all runs in the interval training format. In addition, they are quite energy-consuming for the body and take a lot of time to recover.

But given the good prospects for losing weight, you don't have to do without it either. Especially since HIIT is great for increasing endurance. And the longer you can run, the more calories you can burn.

Do 1-2 interval runs per week paired with gentle, long-term cardio.

An example of a 60-minute interval sprint:

  • Warm up: 20 minutes of easy running.
  • Sprints: 1 minute run at maximum effort, 2 minutes brisk walk recovery. Repeat 8 times.
  • Cooldown: 15 minutes of easy running.

Example of HIIT for 20 minutes:

  • Warm up: 5 minutes of easy jogging
  • Intervals: 9 out of 10 weight bearing runs, then easy run for 90 seconds. Repeat 4-6 times.
  • Cooldown: Light jog for 5 minutes.

Adjust the time and intensity, and focus on your physical abilities and feelings. Monitor your condition - if you feel bad, stop exercising.

Add strength exercises

Despite all the benefits, running does not increase muscle mass. And if, in addition to training, you reduce the number of calories in the diet, then this is unlikely to help muscle maintenance.

Strength training is considered the best strategy to protect against muscle loss. In an experiment with 60 women, they found that a diet combined with strength training makes it possible to maintain and even slightly increase muscle mass. In contrast, calm cardio significantly reduces the number of muscles.

In another study, women who did strength training in addition to interval cardio lost an average of 3 pounds of fat and increased muscle mass. But those who did long, quiet, no-power cardio didn't lose fat or gain muscle.

Maintaining muscle is not only important for appearance, but also for maintaining metabolism. The volume of muscle mass is directly related to the energy expenditure at rest. Muscle breakdown naturally reduces your energy expenditure and slows down your weight loss.

Do strength training twice a week on rest days or gentle runs.

At the same time, it is not necessary to visit the gym - exercises with your body weight will do. To pump your legs, do squats, step up a hill, do lunges, and jump out. To strengthen the top - push-ups from the floor and pull-ups on the horizontal bar, for the muscles of the body - plank and twisting.

Create a total body strength workout of 5-6 exercises and do them in 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps for the upper body, 20 reps for the butt, and 20-25 for the abs.

How to eat for those who run for weight loss

Diet is the main factor that can help you lose weight or, conversely, cancel all your efforts.

The Cochrane Review found that if you combine exercise with diet, you can lose 3. 4 to 17. 7 kg, while if you ignore diet, that number drops to 0. 5 to 4 kg in the same time.

Therefore, if you are in the mood for significant weight loss, be sure to pay attention to this aspect.

  1. Create a calorie deficit, but not too big. For healthy weight loss, a weight loss of 0. 5-1 kg per week is recommended. To lose about that much weight, use a calculator to calculate the calorie content of the diet and subtract 300-500 kcal from the resulting figure. If you do not want to keep records, then give up high-calorie and not particularly healthy foods: sugar and sugary drinks, fast food, processed flour products, alcoholic beverages.
  2. Don't reward yourself for effort. In one small study, 16 men and women burned 200-300 calories on a treadmill. At the same time, they themselves thought that they burned 3-4 times more (about 800 kcal). And in the end, after jogging, they treated themselves to a meal, the calorie content of which was about 500 kcal. It's especially easy to break the limit if you're used to rewarding yourself with candy or junk food. A muffin contains about 370 kcal, a slice of pizza about 400 kcal.
  3. Only run on an empty stomach when it suits you.It's often said that running on an empty stomach helps you burn more fat. A meta-analysis of scientific papers has shown that fast exercise increases fat oxidation, but only at light to moderate intensity. When the pulse accelerates to 150-160 beats per minute, the difference disappears.

Spoil yourself after a run and you'll shatter that entire half-hour effort in five minutes.

But even when you're exercising at low intensity, increased fat oxidation doesn't necessarily accelerate weight loss. In a study with 20 young women, they tested whether exercising on an empty stomach really helps you lose more fat. After a month of training, all of the women lost significant weight, and there was no difference between those who ran on an empty stomach and those who had breakfast beforehand.

Run on an empty stomach if you feel comfortable doing it. If not, don't agonize over the belief that this will help you burn more fat.

Remember that the intensity and regularity of exercise, as well as the total number of calories burned per day, mean much more than what time you eat.