Sunday, March 22, 2020

I'm Running But I'm Not Losing Weight. Why?

"I'm running, but I'm not losing any weight.  Why is that? How can that be?"  

This is a question I often get from runners. The truth is, when most people train, they are running at an easy pace. Honestly, even when they run a 5k, 10k or even a marathon, they are going at a conversational pace, one that allows them to finish that distance.

Aerobic running is great for your cardio, don't get me wrong but it doesn't always help with weight loss. As people begin running, or increase their mileage, the strain of that additional exercise causes hunger.  Most people will then not only eat, but eat a little bit extra because after all, they worked out and feel they deserve it.  Countless times, I've allowed myself a Dairy Queen Blizzard or a Double Doozie Cookie because I ran all week and it was my reward.  The problem is that the ice cream and sugar filled cookies come with A LOT of calories.

Your Weight May Be the Same But You Are Probably Getting Thinner

If you are watching what you eat, making better choices, but the scale is not moving, there is another more likely possibility. This may sound like a strange thing to say, but even if the scale is not moving, you are likely getting thinner.  What do I mean by that? Well, you see, a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  It's like the kid joke, what weighs more? A ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?  It's still a ton. But like feathers, fat takes up a lot more room where as muscle is like the bricks. Tight, compact bundles that don't take up nearly as much room.

Simple Math for Weight Loss

Weight loss is a rather simple formula: Calories in vs calories out.  Eat more than you use and you'll gain weight.  Burn more than you eat and you'll lose weight.  But here's the thing...I have a (not so) secret to tell you...

We burn calories just sitting on our butt watching TV, walking to the fridge and even sitting at a desk at work. You probably already knew that, but here's the secret: you can increase the amount of calories you burn at rest by having more muscle. Great! But what's that got to do with running?  I'm sure you've heard of HIIT training at the gyms. High Intensity Interval Training is a way to do short bursts of exercise followed by small rest breaks. This type of exercise is considered anaerobic.

Want to Lose Weight? Run Faster

When I was in the best shape of my life, I was doing speed work on the track twice per week.  I was getting in my cardio to build my endurance, but was also sprinting at the track twice a week and getting in my anaerobic conditioning. Without getting into all the science, let me just say that HIIT or Interval training is great for building lean muscle. Lean muscle is great at burning more calories while at rest. In fact, cardio helps you burn calories after running, but after HIIT training, your body will continue to a burn fat at a much higher rate for hours after you're done working out.

I recommend running intervals twice per week. You don't even need a track. Just run down the street, in a park or even on a treadmill.  At first, do short sprints. 50 meters perhaps or less depending on your fitness level  Walk back to the start and do it again.  Do 3-4 if you can. Take a couple minutes to get your breath and then start again with another 3 or 4 with the rest being your walk back. Do this 3 or 4 times for a total of 3 or 4 sets of 3-4 sprints each.

If you can, go longer.  Do 100 meter sprints, 200's, 400's. still with walk breaks. If this is too easy, jog the recovery to shorten the time before your next one.

If you'd like a running weight loss plan, please reach out to me.  I would love to help you on your weight loss journey.

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