Running Weight Loss Plan
Everybody loves a plan, right? Especially a weight loss plan, but not just any old plan. Nah, boss, we’re going to give you a running weight loss plan so you can start losing weight today.
No waiting around to get skinny. When the clock starts ticking you start losing.
That might sound like we’re promising the world and exaggerating, but seriously you are burning calories as we speak, so technically we’re telling the truth, aren’t we? Of course you aren’t going to lose a stone overnight, but if you listen to our carefully crafted advice and planning you’ll soon be showing off that six-pack on the beach or in the bedroom and definitely on a selfie or three.
We live in a digital age and photographs aren’t worth having unless they’re shared on social media. Well that’s what we think at the time, but our social media friends are probably less enthused when they’re notification bombed just as they’re getting to sleep.
What Do Runner’s Love the Most?
A quick guess of the top of my head, I’d say losing weight. Everybody loves to beat their personal best time at any distance, but what we really love the most is when we lose weight. Why? Because for every pound we lose on the scale, we’re actually stripping our body of fat and nobody really likes having fat that they can do without.
It’s easy to become obsessive, especially if you’re a bit of an OCD type of freak like myself, but regardless there is no better buzz than to keep a check on the scale and your Body Mass Index, even though BMI is a load of crap really and it’s proper body fat percentage that counts. I’ve probably told you this before, but BMI can be misleading; if you’re a body builder, for example, you will probably fail your BMI reading, which we all know would be silly because body builders have low body fat ratios.
Every time the needle on the fat scale goes in the opposite direction of a Bugatti speedo, we know we’re getting ever nearer to that elusive six-pack. Wowzers!! It’s the icing on the cake and something every runner should be rightly proud of. It takes patience and lots of hard work and dedication to lose weight then keep it off.
Right so how do we go about losing this weight? First of all we need to plan carefully so let’s get cracking.
Constructing our Weight Loss Plan – Things to Think About
First off all, let’s analyze the situation and put together a proper plan that will last the test of time. We don’t want quick results that will rebound and end in failure. We want a proper regime that can be followed and tweaked as necessary, in order to get the best results. The weight loss programme should be individual, although a general one would still work albeit not quite as effectively.
The main ingredients of successful weight loss are more or less universal after all.
Things to consider:
- How much weight do I need to lose?
- How long will it take to lose weight at 1-2 pounds maximum per week depending on the individual.
- How will I lose weight? Calorie restriction plus increased activity.
- Tailored diet plan in order to lose fat while still toning the muscles somewhat.
- Running plan aimed at losing body fat primarily, but also with a view to increasing strength, endurance and fitness levels.
What Goals Should I Set?
First of all you should decide how much weight you want to lose. For the average person a safe weight-loss goal is between 1 and 2 pounds per week or just under 1 kilogram.
So if you want to lose 1 stone in weight, which equals 14 pounds, that is going to take between 7 and 14 weeks. There are numerous factors which affect how rapidly you will start losing weight.
Bear in mind the following:
- Work out your total weight loss goal: 1 stone = 14 lbs.
- Set realistic targets. Try for a minimum of 1 lb per week: 14 lbs = 14 weeks. This way you aren’t going to feel a failure if you don’t lose 2 lbs per week, but you will be buzzing if you lose more than your target.
- Weight will come off quicker at first then it will gradually become harder to shed. This is natural and affects everyone the same way.
- Diet is equally important, if not more so, than exercising. Don’t think because you are running that you can simply eat what you want.
- 1 lb of body fat equals roughly 3500 calories. Familiarize yourself with healthy foods that you will be consuming, portion sizes and being a bit of a food geek will most definitely help you to be successful with planning your weight loss goals.
Running Weight Loss Tips
When you are exercising to lose weight, there are numerous angles to attack the situation from, but we’ll stick with the tried and tested formulas and enhance these with some more modern ideas and methodology.
If you’re a newbie and just getting into running, you are possibly starting running not because you love running, but to lose weight. That’s absolutely fine and the reason we say this isn’t as an insult, but you will be ideally suited to LSD runs. This isn’t any hippie drug-induced running method, but the long, slow, distance run.
All LSDs are is exactly what they say on the tin, a long and slow run over a long distance. They’re ideal for a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon, when you want to get away up the woods for a few hours.
When your body burns fat it needs plenty of oxygen. On the other hand, if you were trying to burn carbohydrates, you’d start sprinting. If you think of carbs and fast running and fat and slow running, this is an easy way to remember what gets burned and when, though it is naturally more complex than this and there is a lot of cross over.
Due to the fact we only have limited carbohydrate stores – glycogen reserves – in our bodies, we never intentionally burn carbohydrate off and instead it is something that we preserve so we don’t get tired. Fat is the exact opposite. We have enough fat on our bodies to run literally hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. The trouble is when we are so depleted from our carbohydrate stores being emptied after a marathon that we never get the chance to blitz the fat off in this way. Instead we have to patiently burn a couple of pounds of fat per week.
How Many Miles Per Week Should I Run?
To start off with you can run three or four times per week or every other day. If it clashes with your work schedule then you are okay to run two days in a row, but make sure that you definitely don’t go over this because you will start to feel sluggish and won’t enjoy your running as much as normal. If you go down this road then it’s quite clear that you can quickly get disenchanted with exercise and pack in before you reach your goals.
So to answer the question, don’t worry about miles, but instead concentrate on the time. Remember you aren’t after breaking any world records, all you want to do is lose weight. Discipline is more important than mileage at this point. You should aim for 20 minutes to start off with and increase this to 30.
Walk on Your off Days
If the weather is nice and you’re sick of being stuck in the house, then by all means get out there and walk on your off days. This is an ideal opportunity to walk off the slight bit of stiffness you may have from the previous days running. Healthy blood flow is great for getting nutrients back into your muscles and also waste products ejected.
The general rule of thumb is that for a 180 lb person approximately 100 calories are burned an hour. This translates to about 65 calories an hour for a 120 lb person.
The great thing about walking is that if you’re having a good conversation with a friend or loved one, combined with beautiful scenery then you won’t even notice that you’re putting the miles in… until you hit a steep hill and gravity takes effect.
Beginner’s Running Plan:
No need for a sophisticated running plan at this stage. Just keep it simple and concentrate on discipline, turn up every time you have agreed to run with friends or even on your own. Don’t be a let down!
- Monday – 20 to 30 minutes steady running.
- Wednesday – 20 to 30 minutes steady running.
- Friday/Saturday – 20 to 30 minutes steady running.
Don’t forget to warm up and cool down before each run. Take walking breaks whenever you feel tired – you’ll still be burning fat when walking. In fact, walking is one of the best things for burning fat because the exercise places so little stress on your body you don’t need to tap into your carbohydrate (glycogen) stores.
Gradually increase your running as your confidence and knowledge on the subject grows too. You’re looking for sustainable results and not a flash in the pan.
Key Points to Consider:
- Dedication is paramount – don’t let yourself or anyone else down. Be proud of yourself and celebrate little wins!
- Set realistic targets: aim to lose 1 lb per week of body fat.
- Don’t over do it. Increase your output by no more than 10% per week.
- Listen to your body. If you’ve run before then you can pick up the pace a bit quicker than an absolute beginner.
- Don’t overlook the importance of your diet.
What is the Best Diet for a Runner?
A healthy balanced diet that consists of the following:
- Carbohydrates – 50 60%.
- Protein – 20 – 30%.
- Fats – 20 – 30%.
You should try and reduce your calorific intake by around 500 calories per day. This way you won’t be left feeling like you’re starving to death. Eating high-quality food with plenty of protein will not only ensure your muscles are repaired properly, but protein will make sure you feel fuller for longer.
While you need to stick to the ratios set out above, try and eat the best-quality food that you can afford. We don’t mean that you have to shop at Harrods, but look for food that hasn’t been over processed. By shopping at your local butcher, you will get superior food that has more nutrients and will most likely leave you feeling fuller for longer so you won’t be snacking on rubbish every two minutes.
Everyone loves a snack, but keep the right type of snacks in your cupboard such as bananas and apples plus decent oatmeal bars and yogurts.
Once you get into the swing of eating healthy it will become second nature. You need to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day and don’t eat too late or it will sit on your stomach during the night.
Make sure you have a pre-workout meal, which is more of a light snack actually. Then afterwards have a post-workout snack/meal, such as a protein shake, which will start off the repair process for your muscles until you get your main meal at home afterwards.
Don’t Fall into the Trap of Overeating
A lot of runners think that they’re burning off more calories than they actually are. Hence, they fall into the trap of overeating after their workout. This is an easy trap to fall into, but it’s one of the more common reasons why people don’t see any weight loss even though they have been genuinely training hard and putting in the correct mileage.
It is true that some people have faster metabolisms than others and they’re what most of us call lucky buggers. They seem to be able to eat a horse and still don’t put on an ounce of fat. Rather than getting jealous, which gets us nowhere, we are better off educating ourselves and resorting to hard work and dedication.
Muscle Burns More Calories Than Fat
It’s another well-known fact that muscle burns more calories than fat. This can be a reason why people can be fooled by their bathroom scale and also by the typically useless BMI – body mass index.
What I’m saying is that if you are after the ultimate weight loss, you can add weight lifting to your weekly routine, but that’s just a quick tip seen as though this is a running blog. Although most keen fitness people these days do quite a lot of crossover training because the effort is worth it and in truth the more complete your workout programme is the better the results.
A professional marathon runner isn’t going to have the same weight lifting schedule as a boxer, for instance, but you can hit parts of the body in the gym that you can’t reach when pounding the trails running.
Although you don’t need to go to the gym to benefit. At home you can easily do some sit ups or get a pull up bar. What about a skipping rope? They’re also handy for your warm ups.
Keep Ahead of the Curve
In the past whenever I’ve stopped running it’s usually being unintentional. It’s not like I’ve decided to stop running – it just seemed to happen. Looking back, though, it’s usually something like it was raining heavily so I missed a session and then the same thing happened again. Before I knew it I wasn’t even running anymore. I’m sure most of us can relate to something similar in our lives. After all, there isn’t a person out there that has kept on going with every hobby they ever started.
The point I’m making is that try and see problems before they are here. We’ve all got a smartphone in our hands and that gives us access to weather reports. It’s got offers for the best foods and protein powders. A lack of information isn’t an excuse for packing anything in, is it?
You might have only wanted to start running to look good for your holiday, but then really enjoyed yourself and kept it up. Whatever your running story it will have ups and downs. Even though I’m writing this my own book of running has had many different chapters. Usually they end with the British weather and the rain, but hopefully this winter I’m going to still get out there or even do a few sessions on the running machine.
Whatever little problem comes our way, if we really want to solve it we can. It’s all about having the right mentality and being positive.
Think of Running as the Reward
One quick tip I got elsewhere is that instead of looking forward to a reward, such as a bar of chocolate, after your run. Think of running as your reward. So if you head to the beach, instead of thinking about getting home and eating a home-cooked slice of your Grandma’s famous chocolate cake, you should appreciate how beautiful the seaside trails were on your run. Savor the memories rather than the food. Easier said than done, but us runners have strong will power when we want, don’t we!
Five More Runner’s Reads
What’s Your Best Weight Loss Tip?
When something comes from a fellow runner or reader, it’s more trustworthy, or so they say. Not that we’re dodgy of course, but we’d love it if you get a bit of banter going on in the comments section once the readership grows enough and you aren’t talking to yourself obviously. 🙂
Until then I’m going to keep busy writing as many articles as possible so we can get a little running family on the boil. Not actually on the boil because I prefer chicken legs to runners’ legs, but you get the picture!