All of us wish we could snap our fingers and magically lose weight. Although we aren’t gifted this power, we can teach you how to lose weight while running.
Like everything else in life, losing weight takes time and persistence. There is no easy answer, there is no quick fix, there is no secret. If anyone else tells you some “short cut,” or “way to shred fat fast,” don’t believe them.
While we cannot snap our fingers and shed 20 pounds off of you, we can give you some tips on how you can lose weight while running. Let’s first give you some baseline information on what happens to your body when you start running and some tips to keep your machine running properly
How Running Changes Your Body in 60 Days
People want to see results. You can usually feel results long before seeing results. Here are the changes your body will go through in 60 days:
- Within 10 days: you will start to see a difference on the scale
- Within 30 days: others will start noticing a change in your appearance
- Within 60 days: you are going to notice a difference in yourself
Ironically, we are with ourselves the most, though we are the last to visually see the difference in ourselves. Try not to beat yourself down.
You are losing weight and your body is becoming stronger. Just don’t expect results to happen overnight. The great wall of China wasn’t built overnight.
Some of you may want a specific mileage and the exact amount of weight you will lose if you run 100 miles. Like we said before, every body is different. What we can guarantee is if you run 100 miles in 60 days, you will lose weight.
Diet is Everything
We know, isn’t that heading a sucker punch to the gut, both figuratively and literally. Diet is 70% of losing weight, exercise is the other 30%
If we drink beer and eat pizza every night, that weight isn’t going anywhere. Even when you run 50 miles a week. So, if we want to see positive results, then we need to pay attention to our diet.
No one solution fits all here. Every body is different, though some general tips apply to everyone.
General tips for losing weight are:
- Laying off carbs at night
- Eating less sugar
- Laying off beer and other alcohol
- Not putting your body in starvation mode
- Eating four to five smaller meals throughout the day
- Consuming carbohydrates at the right time
Now that we listed the six simple tips, we’ll dive a little more into detail to better explain them to you. Some tips are self-explanatory, but some of us like to understand more behind them.
Laying Off Carbs at Night
Carbs before bed, equal weight gain ahead. Eating carbohydrates at night increase your insulin levels which raises the sugar in your bloodstream. Additionally, there is a low chance that you are going to burn those carbs off before you sleep.
During the day, raised insulin levels are healthy and give you the energy to move around. At night, you move around a lot less which prevents your body from burning off those carbohydrates.
Instead of using those carbs, they are stored in your fat cells, which lead to weight gain. So, remember, laying off carbs at night, is a weight loss excite.
Eating less sugar
Eating less sugar helps you lose weight by decreasing the amount of your calorie intake. Just cutting one fizzy drink can cut 130 calories and 34 grams of sugar!
BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider, did a study that found people who eat less sugar lose an average of two pounds over 10 weeks while people who consumed more sugar gained that amount in the same time frame.
Additionally, sugar is almost as addictive as cocaine. You may probably still feel hungry at the dinner table until you eat something sweat. This is because your body is craving that sugar fix. Many people keep eating food even when they are full because the sugar craving has not been satisfied.
By cutting your addiction to sugar, your body will become aware of when it is full, preventing you from overeating.
We’re not saying cut all sugar completely, but studies prove eating less sugar will lead to weight loss.
Laying off beer and other alcohol
This one is everyone’s favorite. Can you sense the sarcasm? We all enjoy drinking alcohol, but if we want to lose weight, then we need to drink less often. It is much easier said than done.
Beer has one of the highest glycemic values of any alcoholic beverage. That’s the same as eating two slices of bread.
That doesn’t seem like a lot, but people don’t usually stop after one beer. By the end of the night, you’ve drunk a whole loaf of bread! And that’s on top of the burger and fries you ate to help sober you up.
I recently watched the documentary, “The Truth About Alcohol” on Netflix. It was very informative and interesting.
In the documentary, the separated a rugby team into two groups. Both groups just came from a lunch. One was given water to drink, and the other group was given beer. Each group was given a large assortment of snacks. The group drinking beer ate almost twice the amount that the group drinking water ate
Not to mention these guys just came from a lunch! They weren’t actually hungry. They were just eating because, well, they were drunk.
The moral of this story is that drinking will cause you to eat more and make more reckless eating decisions. Obviously, this causes weight gain.
Not putting your body in starvation mode
We want quick results but starving yourself is a horrible way to lose weight. Sure, you will lose weight quickly, but starving yourself is incredibly harmful to your health.
What is even more insane, is how your body freaks out when it doesn’t get the food it needs. Your body releases hunger hormones which cause you to retain and gain weight, instead of losing it.
It is important to mention that intermittent fasting is not starvation. Intermittent fasting is healthy cycling between eating and fasting. Starvation mode restricts food altogether.
Eating 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day
Spreading 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism revved. Eating requires more energy, which means eating more frequently burns more calories.
Consuming carbohydrates at the right time
Consume your carbohydrates right before or immediately after working out. Carbohydrates give you a ton of energy, so eating them around your workout is a fantastic way of getting a more powerful workout.
Not only do you get a powerful workout, but your body will be using the carbs instead of storing them as fat for later. Start timing your carbs for better weight loss.
How to Lose Weight Running
Losing weight is going to happen naturally when you start running. Your body isn’t used to the shock it is about to experience. Let’s take a deep dive into why you will lose weight immediately when you start running
Make your body more efficient (by running)
You body has never had a reason to be efficient with its energy consumption. Just like a giant truck, there are many small things that add up to result in a lower MPG. Once you begin working out your cells become more efficient in burning energy.
Your mitochondria will become denser and more efficient in powering the cells. Additionally, the mitochondria itself will move closer to the cell wall so that energy is transferred faster. This will make your body more efficient with each calorie you put into it.
Incorporate high intensity sessions
Not every run should be a light jog in the park. While these runs are always beneficial, high intensity cardio will boost your metabolism for much longer than an easy run.
If you are unsure exactly what a high intensity workout shout look like, take a look at this guide we created about high intensity interval sprints on the treadmill.
Running on an empty stomach as soon as you wake up will force your body to use all the energy inside of it rather than food energy. Energy from the body will consist of fat, which is exactly what you are trying to shed off.
A question many of you are probably asking: Is coffee okay before these fasted runs? Yes! Just be sure not to dump an entire load of sugar and cream into it.
Always stretch before running
If you want to continue running and losing weight, you better keep your body in tune and free of injury. Stretching loosens up those tight muscles and gets them ready for your run. If you want, check out our 10 minute stretching routine here. If not, here are nine stretches you can do just before your run today:
- Pigeon pose
- Psoas stretch
- Propped hamstring
- Hip flexor
- The split
- Quad stretch
- Top of foot/shin stretch
- Upper/lower calf
- Supine twist
Lose Weight by Walking Now and Running Later
If running is new to you, then ease into it. The best way to ease into running is through walking.
When your body is ready start running. Run for 20 minutes on Monday, maybe another 20 minutes Wednesday, and 30 minutes on Saturday.
Repeat this schedule each week until you can run without stopping. Once you can get that routine down, then build up from there.
Maybe instead of just running 30 minutes on Saturday, run 30 minutes on Monday too. Then run 30 minutes on Wednesday too. Keep adding minutes as your body increases endurance.
Issues to Pay Attention to as a New Runner
Losing weight while running will sometimes lead to complications. It is important to look out for a few problems that new runners experience.
The three issues to look out for are:
- Stress fractures
- Shin splints
- Knee pain
What are Stress Fractures?
Stress fractures are caused by overuse. It is a small crack in your bone from repetitive pressure. Learn more about stress fractures here.
What are Shin Splints?
Shin splints are pain along your shin caused by muscles detaching from the shin bone. Learn more about shin splints here.
How to Prevent Knee Pain
The best way to prevent knee pain is by learning how to run properly. See the section above that talks about maintaining a good running form.
You can learn how to prevent stress fractures and shin splints. We’ve put together a blog post and YouTube video that you can read and watch here.
The Weight Loss Plateau Conundrum
No matter what exercise you do, you will eventually hit a plateau where the weight just isn’t coming off. Our best suggestion is to switch up your routine.
Sometimes our bodies get adjusted to the same old routine. Do something different. Use different muscle groups. Take a hike (not in a negative way!).
Another idea is to add sprints to your running routine. If you work in sprint workouts on the treadmill the weight will come off even more. We only recommend adding in sprints only after you have built a good running base of 2-3 weeks.
How to lose weight while running involves a healthy diet, correct stretching, and proper running form. You should ease into running by walking first.
Make sure to pay attention to newbie runner injuries. Understand how your body will change over the next 60 days and never give up on your weight loss goals.