Running to Lose Weight: How to Train and Eat for Results

run to lose weight

It helps, and it's a proven fact. For a year of leisurely half-hour runs four times a week, you can lose about 3. 3 kg without any diets.

Additionally, running helps with weight loss and weight maintenance better than walking and exercising on a stationary bike (the latter is true for overweight and obese people).

But despite the proven effectiveness, even regular classes can leave you without results if you ignore some important factors. Below we will discuss how to run to lose weight for sure.

If you have problems with the cardiovascular system or the musculoskeletal system, in addition to being overweight or obese, consult your doctor before starting classes.

How to run to lose weight

Start gradually

If the last time you ran was a few years ago, don't rush just yet. Your main tasks: gradually accustom the body to physical activity, maintain health and the desire to run.

During the first workouts, alternate light running and brisk walking. For example, run for three minutes, then walk for the next two minutes, then start running again.

Repeat this five-minute set six times, and you've got a perfect half-hour workout that will tire out any beginner. Reduce your walking time as you get used to it until you can run non-stop for 30 minutes.

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

Increase the intensity

Running, however difficult it may be at first, does not burn as many calories as we would like. For example, 30 minutes of running at a speed of 8 km/h burns only about 290 kcal in a person weighing 70 kg.

The higher the speed, the higher the power consumption. The same person spends 360 kcal in half an hour running at a speed of 10 km / h, and if he accelerates to 12 km / h - about 450 kcal.

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

Set a goal to complete a mile of running a little faster and see how that makes you feel. If everything went well, next time try running a bit more at the selected speed.

You can also gradually increase the operating time - this will also have a positive effect on your energy costs.

Alternate calm running with HIIT and sprints

There are several effective running training methods for weight loss:

  • Long, silent journeysat the same pace. Typically, they last 30-60 minutes, and during that time you're working at a low heart rate of around 130-140 beats per minute.
  • High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT). This is a method in which short intervals of running at a high pace alternate with slower recovery periods. For example, when you run for one minute at a heart rate of 90% of maximum (about 170 beats per minute), then for 30 seconds - at 60% of maximum (114 beats per minute), and repeat this for 15-20minutes.
  • Interval sprints(PI). This is when you do 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 this several times.

There is evidence that interval training is better suited for weight loss than long, steady cardio. In one study, 20 men and women ran leisurely for 30 to 60 minutes three times a week or did 4 to 6 30-second sprints.

After six weeks, the sprint group lost 12. 6% body fat, while those who did gentle cardio only lost 5. 8%.

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

But a meta-analysis of 31 scientific papers failed to confirm the benefits of HIIT and sprints over quiet cardio. Scientists have concluded that both options are good, but the difference between them is insignificant.

In another review, 13 studies found that gentle running and high-intensity intervals helped obese people lose around 0. 8 kg of extra fat. True, they noted that intervals spend 40% less time.

So, organizing absolutely all races in the form of interval training is definitely not worth it. In addition, they are quite energy-intensive for the body and take a long time to recover.

But, given the good prospects for weight loss, you don't have to give it up either. Especially since HIIT is great for pumping up stamina. And the longer you can run, the more calories you can burn.

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

An example of a 60 minute interval sprint:

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

Example of HIIT for 20 minutes:

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

Adjust the time and intensity, focusing on your physical abilities and feelings. Monitor your condition - if you feel bad, end the workout.

Add strength exercises

Despite all the benefits, running will 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 maintain muscle.

Strength training is recognized as the best strategy to protect against muscle loss. In an experiment involving 60 women, they found that diet combined with strength training helped maintain and even slightly increase muscle mass. But calm cardio, on the contrary, significantly reduces the number of muscles.

In another study, women doing strength training in addition to interval cardio lost an average of 1. 3 kg of fat and increased muscle mass. But those who did long, quiet cardio without strength didn't lose fat or build muscle.

Preserving muscle is important not only for appearance, but also for maintaining metabolism. The volume of muscle mass is directly related to energy expenditure at rest. Losing muscle will naturally reduce your energy expenditure and slow down your weight loss.

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

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

Make up a complete workout of 5-6 exercises and perform them in 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps for upper body, 20 reps for lower, and 20-25 for abs.

How to eat for those running to lose weight

Nutrition is the main factor that can help you lose weight or, on the contrary, scratch all your efforts.

The Cochrane review noted that if you combine exercise with diet, you can lose 3. 4 to 17. 7 kg, whereas without attention to nutrition this figure drops to 0. 5 to 4 kg in thesame time.

So, if you are in the mood to lose weight significantly, be sure to pay attention to this aspect.

  1. Create a calorie deficit, but not too large. To lose weight without harm to health, it is recommended to lose weight by 0. 5-1 kg per week. To lose about that much, calculate the required caloric content of the diet using a calculator and subtract 300-500 kcal from the resulting value. If you don't want to keep a log, give up foods that are high in calories and not particularly healthy: sugar and sugary drinks, fast food, processed flour products, alcoholic beverages.
  2. Don't reward yourself for effort. In a small study, 16 men and women burned 200-300 calories on a treadmill. At the same time, they themselves considered that they burned 3-4 times more (about 800 kcal). And in the end, after jogging, they allowed themselves a meal, the calorie content of which was about 500 kcal. It's especially easy to go over the limit if you're in the habit of rewarding yourself with sweets or junk food. A muffin contains about 370 kcal and a slice of pizza contains about 400 kcal.
  3. Only run on an empty stomach if it suits you.You can often hear that running on an empty stomach helps you burn more fat. A meta-analysis of scientific papers showed that fasted exercise increases fat oxidation, but only at mild to moderate intensity. When the pulse accelerates to 150-160 beats per minute, the difference disappears.

Treat yourself after a run and you'll erase all that half-hour effort in five minutes.

But even if you exercise at low intensity, increased fat oxidation will not necessarily accelerate weight loss. In a study of 20 young women, they tested whether exercising on an empty stomach really helped you lose more fat. After a month of training, all the women lost a lot of weight, and there was no difference between those who ran on an empty stomach and those who ate breakfast beforehand.

Run on an empty stomach if you feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, you should not torture yourself, believing that it will help you burn more fat.

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