Running for weight loss: how to train and eat to achieve results

Running for weight loss: how to train and eat to achieve results

Running for weight loss: how to train and eat to achieve results

April 8, 2021

Likbez Sport and fitness

Calm cardio on an empty stomach is not the most effective strategy.
Photo by Iya Zorina

Iya Zorina

Author of Lifehacker, athlete, CCM

Running for weight loss: how to train and eat to achieve results
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Does running really help you lose weight?

It helps, and it’s a proven fact. For a year of quiet half-hour runs four times a week, you can reset about 3.3 kg without any diets.

Moreover, running helps to lose weight and maintain weight better. walk and lessons on exercise 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 do not take into account some important factors. Below we will discuss how to run in order to lose weight for sure.

If you have problems with the cardiovascular system or the musculoskeletal system, as well as being very overweight or obese, consult your doctor before starting classes.

How to run for weight loss

Start gradually

If you last ran a few years ago, don’t rush right off the bat. Your main tasks: gradually accustom the body to physical activity, maintain health and desire to run.

In the first workouts, alternate light running with fast walking. For example, run for three minutes, then walk for the next two minutes and then go back to running.

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 run non-stop for 30 minutes.

Find out more 🏃‍♂️
  • How to Start Running: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

After that, congratulate yourself on a small victory, but do not relax.

Turn up the intensity

Running, no matter how hard it may seem 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 for a person weighing 70 kg.

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

In Cochrane review scientific studies have mentioned that intense training increases results in 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 close one kilometer of your run a little faster and see how it makes you feel. If everything went well, next time try to run at the selected speed a little more.

You can also gradually increase the running time – this will also have a good effect on your energy costs.

Alternate calm running with HIIT and sprints

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

  • Long quiet runs at the same pace. As a rule, they last 30-60 minutes, and all this time you work at a low heart rate of about 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 calmer recovery periods. For example, when you run for one minute at a heart rate of 90% of the maximum (about 170 beats per minute), then 30 seconds – at 60% of the maximum (114 beats / minute), and repeat this for 15-20 minutes.
  • Interval sprints (IP). This is when you give all 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 some evidence that interval training is more suitable for weight loss than long, steady cardio. In one research 20 men and women three times a week either ran quietly for 30-60 minutes or did 4-6 30-second sprints.

After six weeks, the sprint group lost 12.6% body fat, while those who did gentle cardio lost only 5.8%.

The same was observed in three other experiments in 23 and 49 young healthy women: over 6 and 15 weeks of training, intensive interval training helped to lose significantly more fat than long-term cardio.

But meta-analysis 31 scientific papers did not confirm the benefits of HIIT and sprints over calm cardio. The scientists concluded that both options are good, but the difference between them is insignificant.

In another review of 13 studies figured outthat both quiet running and intense intervals help overweight people lose about 0.8 kg of excess fat. True, they noted that intervals spend 40% less time.

Thus, arranging absolutely all runs in the format of interval training is definitely not worth it. Moreover, they are quite energy-consuming for the body and require a lot of time to recover.

But, given the good prospects for losing weight, you don’t need to give them up either. Especially since HIIT is great for pumping 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:


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