Running for Weight Loss: How to Do it Right

Running for weight loss is one of the most common things people will try to shed pounds. After all, running—and other low-intensity, steady state activities—are great for targeting fat burning rather than just consuming carbs for energy. It should be a great way to get in shape and get rid of body fat right? The answer is yes, but ONLY if you do it right! Here is how you can start running for weight loss properly to see real results today:

Speed Up

One of the biggest mistakes people make when running for weight loss is that they think running for longer is the key to seeing results. While long periods of running (upwards of 45 minutes) can be excellent for activating stored fat for energy, the truth is that you’ll burn far more energy by speeding up the pace. You can work on your endurance by running slowly, but for real results, it’s time to pick up the pace and try sprints. Even just 20 minutes of sprints intermingled with low-intensity intervals will burn more calories and boost your metabolism more effectively than 45 minutes of slow-pace jogging.

Change it Up

If you always run the same speed, your body is going to adapt to your energy demands, so your metabolism won’t need to run as much in order to generate the energy required for your run. This means that you’ll burn fewer calories when you run, making it harder for you to lose weight. The key to combatting this is to change things up. Alternate your pace, change the duration of your run, attack hills, or go for stairs instead of flat surfaces. The more you vary up your run workout, the harder it will be for your body to adapt, so you’ll always end up burning maximum calories when you run.

Mix it Up

Don’t just run, but change things up and add in all types of cardio to your workouts. Throw in a rowing day, a cycling day, a day on the elliptical machine, Stairmaster training, the Jacob’s ladder, sprint training, and then a light jog. The more you change up your workouts, the harder it will be for your body to adapt, so the more energy you’ll burn, the greater your endurance will become, and the more metabolic benefits you’ll see. Variety is absolutely the spice of life when it comes to your daily cardio workouts!

Forget Calories

Stop worrying about the number of calories you burn on your run—instead, focus on running faster, longer, or on more varied terrain. Your daily calorie expenditure will vary based on your runs, but you shouldn’t worry about burning the same number of calories every day. Focus on pushing your cardiovascular endurance as much as possible, and training your heart to beat more efficiently and your lungs to absorb more air. That should be the primary goal of your runs, not burning an arbitrary number of calories.

Run Less, Train More

Stop treating running like the “be all and end all” for weight loss, but instead use it as one pillar in your overall fitness routine. Spend more time working on your muscular strength and endurance, and use running and cardio workouts to finish off your daily training session. If you run after a resistance training workout, you’ll have already burned through all of your blood-stored glucose, so your body will be forced to activate fats for energy. That’s when you really start seeing the weight loss results you want!

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