Yes, running does help you lose weight, and initially it’s the main reason that a lot of people get into running, hoping to see weight loss as one of the health benefits of being a runner.
But… and there is a but, there are lots of pitfalls along the way, the most high-profile being the assumption that because you ran a 5km you can eat whatever you want or you deserve a ‘reward’. That’s not the case so how running help you lose weight?
It’s worth saying, we’re all individuals, with different views of our bodies and our weight, so take that into consideration when reading this or any other article regarding weight.
Understanding calories and calorie deficit
Your body requires a certain amount of calories to function and the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men. That is just a general rule, and we’re all different, but it gives you a rough idea.
When you run, you burn calories, which can help you reduce your overall body fat and lose weight.
However, it’s important to remember that losing weight isn’t just about exercising – you also need to pay attention to your diet and make sure you’re eating the right kinds of foods in the right amounts. A combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet is the best way to achieve weight loss.
There isn’t a magic solution, no quick fixes, and it takes hard work.
How much should I run to lose weight?
The amount of running you need to do to lose weight will vary depending on your individual circumstances, such as your current weight, your fitness level, and your diet. In general, however, you should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking or jogging) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (such as running) per week. You can also increase the amount of running you do to help speed up weight loss, but be sure to listen to your body and avoid overdoing it, as this can lead to injury. Additionally, be sure to combine your running routine with a healthy diet to maximize your weight loss efforts.
If you create too much of a calorie deficit by exercising too much then your body is going to react strongly and that will most likely manifest in cravings. So opt for a gradual increase in exercise to create longer lasting and more maintainable fat loss.
As we mentioned earlier, don’t think of exercise as a way to earn the opportunity for eating junk food. That is not a healthy mindset, but is a trap that a lot of new runners fall for.
It’s also worth noting that as you continue your running journey, you will build more muscle, which is more dense than fat. So it can also be the case that you slim down, look better, but actually remain the same weight.
Will running make me skinny?
You shouldn’t run to get skinny, you should run to get healthy, and natural fat loss will be part of that. Skinny doesn’t always mean heathy.
This should never be the focus or reason for running and everyone’s body is different, so the amount of running it takes to become “skinny” will vary from person to person. It’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor or a fitness professional to get personalised advice.
Can running give you abs?
The abs you’re talking about are ones you can show off, that give you a ‘six-pack’, but ultimately don’t really mean anything.
We all have abs, or abdominal muscles, but while running can help you burn calories and lose weight, it’s unlikely to give you the “abs” that you see on models on Instagram.
In order to have visible abs you need to incorporate other types of exercise, such as strength training, into your fitness routine, and you will also need to have a low body fat percentage.
It’s takes a lot of focused work and a lot of the time this isn’t aligned with being a runner. You need calories and energy to run.
Will running reduce thigh fat?
Yes, running can help reduce thigh fat. When you run, you burn calories, which can help you reduce overall body fat, including fat on your thighs. However, it’s important to remember that spot reduction – the idea that you can target specific areas of your body for fat loss – isn’t possible.
In order to lose fat on your thighs, you need to lose overall body fat, and this requires a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Additionally, everyone’s body is different, so the amount of running it takes to reduce thigh fat will vary from person to person.
What you can do though is build muscle on the areas you want to lose fat. This can be thighs, but also arms, chest etc. It won’t make the fat go away, but building muscle below with add more definition, and help you learn to love your assets.
What type of running burns the most fat?
The type of running that burns the most fat is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of running involves alternating between periods of intense effort and periods of recovery. For example, you might run at a high intensity for 30 seconds, then jog or walk for 30 seconds to recover, and repeat this pattern for several minutes.
The intervals of intense effort help boost your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories and fat, even after you’ve finished exercising.
Additionally, because HIIT is a high-intensity form of exercise, it can help you build muscle, which can also help you burn more fat. Overall, HIIT is a very effective way to burn fat and improve your fitness.
Don’t always run at the same speed
When running at a moderate pace you are burning calories but you are also burning less fat. You are burning calories but those calories won’t necessarily be coming from fat.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of finding a running sweetspot when you can run a moderate pace and hold it for a long period of time, but doing this constantly won’t actually improve your metabolic function. Your body is going to adapt to this stress and it will start holding onto fat.
Low level cardio should be 80% of your training. A heartrate in zone 2 is the fat burning zone. This will teach your body to be aerobically more efficient, allow you to train longer with less stress,
Maximum effort 20% – This intensity doesn’t necessarily burn fat during the exercise, but in the 24-48 hours after the exercise your body will keep burning fat due to post exercise oxygen consumption.
These ratios will also allow your body to adequately recover.
Is running good for belly fat?
As we mentioned earlier, you can’t target specific areas for fat-loss, but the fact is that the stomach area is where we generally store fat, so yes, running can be good for reducing belly fat. When you run, you burn calories, which can help you reduce overall body fat and lose weight, including fat in the abdominal area. Additionally, running can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, which can also help you burn belly fat.
However, it’s important to remember that losing belly fat isn’t just about exercising – you also need to pay attention to your diet and make sure you’re eating the right kinds of foods in the right amounts. A combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet is the best way to achieve weight loss and reduce belly fat.
Does running tone up your body?
Yes, running can help tone your body. When you run, you use a variety of different muscles, including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. This can help strengthen and tone these muscles, giving your body a firmer and more toned appearance. Additionally, because running is a weight-bearing exercise, it can help build strong bones, which can also contribute to a toned body.
However, it’s important to remember that running alone isn’t enough to achieve a toned body – you also need to incorporate other types of exercise, such as strength training, into your fitness routine. A well-rounded fitness program that includes a variety of different types of exercise is the best way to tone your body.
Why do I gain weight after running?
There are a few possible reasons why you might gain weight after running. One possible reason is that you’re not eating enough to support your exercise routine. When you run, you burn calories, which means you need to make sure you’re eating enough to fuel your workouts and support your body’s energy needs. If you’re not eating enough, your body might start to break down muscle tissue for energy, which can lead to weight gain.
Another possible reason is that you’re not giving your body enough time to recover between workouts. If you’re running too often or too hard, your body might not have the time it needs to recover, which can lead to weight gain.
Finally, it’s also possible that you’re not accurately tracking your food intake or exercise, which can lead to weight gain. It’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor or a fitness professional if you’re concerned about weight gain.
What pace to run to burn fat
The pace at which you should run to burn fat will depend on several factors, including your fitness level, your goals, and the duration of your run. In general, however, it’s recommended that you run at a pace that’s comfortable for you and that allows you to maintain a consistent effort throughout your run. For most people, this means running at a moderate pace that allows you to carry on a conversation without becoming too winded.
Running at a moderate pace will help you burn a higher percentage of calories from fat, as opposed to a faster pace, which will burn a higher percentage of calories from carbohydrate. Ultimately, the best pace for you will depend on your individual situation.
Heart rate for fat burning when running
The fat-burning heart rate when running is the heart rate at which your body is burning a higher percentage of calories from fat, as opposed to carbohydrates. The fat-burning zone is generally considered to be between 50% and 70% of your maximum heart rate.
To determine your fat-burning heart rate, you first need to calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you’re 40 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 180 beats per minute (220 – 40 = 180). To find your fat-burning heart rate, you would then multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.5 and by 0.7.
For the example above, this would give you a fat-burning heart rate range of 90 to 126 beats per minute (180 x 0.5 = 90 and 180 x 0.7 = 126). Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline, and your fat-burning heart rate can vary depending on your individual situation.
How to start running when overweight
Starting a running routine when you are overweight can be a great way to improve your health and fitness. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Consult with your doctor: Before starting any new exercise program, it’s important to consult with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you.
- Start slow: If you are new to running or have been inactive for a while, it’s important to start slow and gradually increase your pace and distance. Consider something like Couch to 5k.
- Wear proper shoes: Invest in a good pair of running shoes that are comfortable and provide adequate support.
- Set realistic goals: It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself, such as running for a certain amount of time or distance, rather than trying to do too much too soon.
- Stay consistent: The key to success is consistency, so try to run at least a few times a week to see progress.
Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. It’s better to start slowly and gradually increase your activity level over time.
A final word
Running can get you physically healthier, and as you progress you may see weightloss, an increase in fitness, and faster run times. But that can also change too, due to a variety of reasons, so prepare yourself mentally for this.
Running is something to enjoy, and even if you’re not seeing physical gains, you will be getting mental wellbeing gains, so enjoy the fact that you can run, no matter what.