Can running help me lose weight? Or, is running the best way to lose weight? What else can I do to lose weight during this festive season of eating, drinking and partying?
Well to lose weight, there is a simple equation to follow :
Calories IN : Calories OUT
In order to lose weight, there must be a deficit. I.e. Calories IN needs to be less, than calories OUT. Or, you could say, calories OUT, needs to be more than calories IN. Some think that crash diets are the only way to go, but did you know that research shows that just by cutting your diet by a mere 300 – 500 calories per day, you would start to lose weight at a steady, moderate rate? Yes that’s right, research has proven the most effective tool for shedding pounds is calorie restriction, that is, eating less, but not that much less.
But, here’s the CATCH.
If you add calorie restriction to long distance running, or prolonged cardio activities, you will end up feeling like a lethargic, and weak person. Anyone who runs a lot, will tell you how much they need to eat, pre & post run, to fuel their tired bodies. As such there is no way this sort of regime will work. Running alone, or intensive cardio alone, will not help you lose weight efficiently.
The solution is to combine your calorie deficit with a training program designed to keep your metabolic fire burning. Such a program includes several different kinds of workouts, and changing things up. Running alone will not cut it.
Here are some things to look at:
1. Weights Training
Focus on bodyweight as well as weight-lifting exercises, such as lunges, squats, deadlifts, pushups, shoulder presses and planks. While running melts away excess body fat, strength training burns additional calories and preserves muscle mass. This is important, because when you’re eating 300 to 500 fewer calories than your body uses daily, you are likely to lose muscle along with fat. Muscle is more dense than fat. So if you add weights training to the mix, chances are you are building muscle, shaving off fat, and you will take up less space in your clothes than before. So embrace weight training. You’ll feel and look leaner and rev up your metabolism while you’re at it!
2. Fat-Burning Exercises
Working at approximately 50 – 65% of your maximum capacity will put you in the fat burning zone. So what does working at 65% capacity feel like? It’s like jogging at a pace where you feel like you can jog forever. A easy pace where you can still chat while you run. Remember not to take power gels because then you would be burning carbs and not fat as fuel.
3. Interval Training
Pick your cardio of choice (bike, elliptical, treadmill, pool, rowing machine, or running outdoors at a park or track), and then estimate your maximum heart rate using this easy formula: 220 – your age = max heart rate. (So if you’re 28, your max heart rate would be roughly 192 beats per minute.)
Warm up for 10 minutes at a low intensity.
Speed up until you’re sprinting at 90 percent of your max heart rate; continue at that pace for 20 to 30 seconds.
Return to a low intensity until your heart rate drops to about 120 beats per minute, usually about two to four minutes, depending on your fitness level.
Do another 20-to 30-second sprint, followed by another round of active recovery. Continue until you have done a total of six to eight intervals.
Cool down at a very low intensity (such as walking on the treadmill) for at least five to 10 minutes before stopping exercise completely.
Vary this with weights training and doing sprints out-doors, to really get the maximum burn for your workout. You will achieve your weight loss goals in no time.
Good Luck and see you on the other side of 2014!