Losing weight is easy! All you have to do is burn 3,500 more calories per week than you take in and you’ll lose a pound that week. In theory it sounds easy, but we all know in practical terms losing weight can be hard.
Fortunately running is a great way to take off the pounds, but only if you do it right. If you are new to running, first start out with a run/walk program. A longer workout at a lower intensity is best in the beginning for weight loss.
Not only does it keep you moving for a longer period of time, it gives your tendons, ligaments and joints time to adjust. The one thing you want to avoid is increasing your risk of an injury that can set you and your new exercise program back.
Consistency Is the Key
Once you feel your body is ready for run-only workouts, plan on committing at least three months to running at least every other day. You did not gain weight overnight, nor should you expect to lose it all in two or three weeks.
On your non-run days, do a strength-training workout so you develop your muscles too. Not only does a more toned body burn more calories than one that is not, you will reduce your risk of an injury.
Your workout can be as simple as doing push-ups, squats and lunges – none requiring any equipment, or you can choose to do a routine of exercises on equipment typically found in a home or commercial gym. Also don’t forget to strengthen your abdominal core by adding in such exercises as crunches, planks and pedestals.
Keeping the Weight Off
Once you have lost weight, keeping it off is the next challenge. While you may have been doing 40 to 60 minute runs while trying to lose weight, you may only have to run 20 to 30 minutes to keep from gaining weight back. Once at goal weight, keep monitoring your weight and adjust your running routine (and diet) as necessary.
To help lose weight and keep it off, your healthy eating plan should include complex carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), protein and good fats (unsaturated, olive oil, Omega family) at a ratio of 50%, 30% and 20%, respectively. Stay away from the simple carbohydrates like sugar and bad fats like saturated.
Avoid the temptation to run faster and/or farther. While you might be able to accomplish these lofty goals in the short term, you are asking for a debilitating injury if you continue doing it over the long haul. While it might seem logical that you would burn more calories by running longer and farther, it is not worth the risk. Train smart, eat smart, and listen to your body. It will help guide you to losing weight.