One of the most common reasons people take up running is to lose weight. After all, running is one of the most efficient total-body exercises. To make the most of running for optimal fat burning, consider following the tips below.
Run for at least 20
From a cardiovascular perspective, the heart does not start to receive major benefits from running until the 20 minute mark. Pushing your body into the cardiovascular zone will help your body burn fat for fuel in the later stages of your run, which will improve metabolism and metabolic efficiency.
Adding a light weight lifting session immediately after running is not only good for your muscles and bones, but good for your metabolism as well. As your body burns fat and builds muscle, your metabolism will increase in order to provide those new muscles with the fuel they need.
Increase the Pace
Adding short bursts of speed a few times per week at the end of your run helps improve running and metabolic efficiencies. Your body recruits fuel different for fast running than for slow running, and switching up the systems that your body uses leads to overall weight loss. At the end of an easy run, sprint for 100 m a total of 4 – 6 times. For added fat burning potential, find a short hill or incline for your running bursts (also known as strides).
Energy bars, sports drinks, and recovery smoothies all have their rightful place in a runner’s arsenal, but a beginner who is trying to lose weight should aim to avoid these calorie-laden items. Instead, opt for whole foods when replenishing your body, such as lean meats, healthy carbohydrates (like rice or sweet potatoes), fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products such as yogurt or cottage cheese.
Don’t Skip Meals
When following a plan of both diet and exercise to lose weight, it can be tempting to exercise more while eating way less. Avoid doing this, as building too large of a calorie deficit can have the opposite effect on weight loss and cause your body to retain fats and carbohydrates. When trying to lose weight, eating 4 – 6 small meals per day is preferred, in order to maintain a healthy metabolism.
Visit a Nutritionist
Ideally, every runner, whether trying to lose weight or not, should visit with a nutritionist. Not only can a nutritionist identify areas in the diet which may be harmful and lead to injury or low energy, but a nutritionist can also point out areas in a runner’s diet where he or she may be eating too much, or too many of the wrong items. A sports nutritionist can help a runner get on track with his or her eating while still having the energy to run and exercise.
Run on Trails
Running on trails provides a more intense workout than running the same distance on roads because of elevation changes and rough terrain. Boost your calorie burning potential by hitting the trails for your next weekend long run.