Running for Weight Loss
While there are many compelling reasons to take up running, as it can have a range of mental and physical benefits. One of the main motivations for people to take up running is for weight loss. Cardiovascular activities, such as running, can be a great way to get into shape, improve your general health and wellbeing, and shed a few pounds in the process.
Does running help you lose weight?
Ultimately, there is no complete solution to weight loss: on its own, running may not be the most effective way to lose weight – but neither is swimming or weight lifting or dieting alone. The best way to lose weight healthily and sustainably is to employ a combination of exercise and diet. Visit our ‘Nutrition for Runners’ page for recipes and tips on how to fuel your body properly.
If you strike this balance of nutrition and activity, then running can be a great activity for losing weight. Running, no matter how fast or slowly you go, is a full body cardiovascular exercise that will get your heart pumping and your muscles working.
How to start running for weight loss
Whether you’re new to running and looking to start for the first time, or you’ve already had some experience and are just looking to tweak your training for maximum impact, read through the below tips to start your journey of running to lose weight:
1. Vary your training
The human body is very good at burning calories efficiently and conserving energy where possible. This means that if you do the same types of activity all the time, your body will be become efficient at doing that activity, which means you will burn fewer calories. This is why activities such as intervals are useful for weight loss, as well as generally mixing up your training with a combination of long, short, fast and slow runs.
2. Consider calories
No matter what type of training you do, you will need to create a calorie deficit in your body in order to lose weight. For example, completing a marathon-length run will of course burn a significant number of calories, but if you then immediately replace these by consuming calorific foods and drinks, it’s unlikely that you’ll lose weight. You should always bear this in mind when running for weight loss.
3. Weight loss vs fat loss
When trying to lose weight, it’s important to remember that fat loss does not necessarily mean weight loss. Whether you’ll be getting into running for the first time, or just adjusting your training plan for weight loss, your body will be changing and developing different muscles. Muscle is much more dense than fat, meaning that it weighs more. For example, you may lose a pound of fat and build a pound of muscle by running – your overall weight will stay the same but your body shape and metabolism will change.