What do the majority of people do when they need to get back in shape? They go running to lose weight and you see them pounding the tarmac, often looking like they’re not enjoying it much in the hope that it will work for them.
How many who decide to start running to lose weight actually lose weight? How many of them lose enough weight for it to have a visible impact?
The answer is not many…
Why do so many people run to lose weight?
I’ve asked myself this question many times and I don’t think there is a definitive answer, I think its simply a case of people not knowing any better.
If you haven’t run for a while then running is hard work and most people equate hard work with results, no pain no gain right?
The truth is running is actually a pretty poor way of trying to lose weight, its often ineffective for a number of reasons which I’m going to outline. I will also show you a better, easier way to lose weight without running yourself into the ground!
Running to Lose Weight is Not Very Effective
Its common knowledge that you have to burn more calories that you consume to lose weight, so people assume that an hour or two of running will burn a huge amount of calories.
The number of calories burned running (or during any activity) depends on your bodyweight (heavier people burn more calories) but here’s an example based on a weight of 176lbs (80kg):
|Exercise||Calories Burned Per Hour|
|Running @ 6.5mph|
|Walking @ 3.5mph|
Whilst 760 sounds like a lot of calories, how many people actually run at 6.5mph for the whole hour? Most of the people I come across run at half this speed and take breaks or don’t do a full hour so the actual calorie burn is more likely to be around the walking stats of 320.
320 calories is not a lot in terms of food and the majority of people reward themselves following a run with food they enjoy.
The end result is usually a high calorie meal that takes the person well over their daily calorie level, this means they don’t lose weight but probably gain weight.
Why are runners on the TV so lean if running to lose weight is ineffective?
This is a good question and probably part of the reason people assume running to lose weight is the way forward.
Let’s look at marathon and long distance runners firstly; they usually have very low body fat but no muscle at all. These guys do some serious mileage and as such the amount of calories burned is vast, this is usually coupled with a very controlled diet which equates to their low weight and low fat ratio.
The average person looking to lose weight doesn’t cover this kind of mileage and doesn’t have the time to do so even if they wanted. The other negative aspect is they are often stringy and weak looking, not the nice athletic toned body most people are after.
Speaking of which, what about sprinters? Some of these guys are very muscular and have lean physiques that 99% of people would be happy with.
The reason they are no lean and muscular is because of their training. Sprinting involves short sharp bursts of all out power; this is similar to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
High Intensity cardio is a good way to utilise running to lose weight but it’s often too intense for someone who’s just getting back on the wagon. Also bear in mind a number of these athletes supplement their sprinting with weightlifting to assist with their power and they are also strict with their diets.
So What is The Best Way to Lose Weight Without Running?
If you enjoy running then you can keep doing so, however, I would only advise running to lose weight when it’s included on top of a solid workout and diet plan.
Quite simply you need to be utilising resistance training (i.e weights) and have a good diet plan in place so you know you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning.
The reason weights are a better choice is because you get a double bonus from resistance training. Not only do you burn calories during the workout, your metabolic rate is ramped up for hours afterwards so you total calorie burn is higher.
In addition to this, every lb of muscle on your frame needs approx 3500 per week to survive, this is why people who are lean but have a good lean body mass (i.e. more muscle than fat mass) can eat more calories and not put on any weight.
So How Can You Get Started Today?
Luckily for you, everything you need to lose weight quickly is already here for you! Here’s my top two tips that will get you on your way!
1. Stop wasting your time running to lose weight and get your diet in order!
2. Make sure you have a solid workout plan, there’s plenty to choose from here.
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