Running & Weight Loss

April 04, 2024

Good afternoon guys, today we’ll be discussing some strategies to aid in reducing any unwanted weight or any of that stubborn fat that just won’t go.

You often hear people stating that they want to pick up running to lose some weight. Although running can aid in reducing weight & stubborn fat, a combination of different training techniques can help to optimise your progress. There are numerous ways one can train to achieve weight loss or help reduce that “stubborn fat”. A culmination of a well-balanced healthy diet & exercise is extremely important in reducing one’s weight. Some people try dieting such as intermittent fasting while others tend to take a more active approach with more intense High intensity interval training (HIIT)

1.) A well-balanced diet

I’m no nutritionist but as you all know, a well-balanced diet is essential for anyone, especially athletes such as runners. Ensuring you’ve a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins & minerals is important to ensure that your body is getting the correct nutrients to fuel itself for day-to-day tasks such as work and then for other thing such as strength training and cardiovascular training. I won’t dig too deep into this as Elise has already done an article on this, so if you want to have a look at this in more detail afterwards, you can find her article in the physio corner.

2.) Calorie deficit

For those of you that are interested or track your calories, a calorie deficit is a
sufficient way of losing weight. People can take this action too far and under nourish themselves. Aiming for a daily calorie deficit of anywhere between 200 – 500 calories can be a great starting point. The recommended daily calorie intake is approximately 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men. So if you are in a calorie deficit of 200-500 daily, you are in a weekly deficit of roughly 1400 – 3500 calories. Combining this strategy with a well-balanced diet and regular aerobic and strength exercise will really help to better your overall health, physique and performance if you are aiming to lose some weight. The biggest tip that people tend to forget is that water has no calories. A can of coca cola has 139 calories and a 500ml bottle of Lucozade sport has approximately 567 calories just as a small comparison.

3.) Strength training & Cardiovascular exercise

Strength training assists weight loss by building muscle mass, which is more
metabolically active than fat tissue. The more muscle you build, the higher your
resting metabolic rate rises, and the more calories you can burn while you rest, work and walk. This isn’t a perk that you’d get from cardio alone, because cardio burns calories solely by spiking the heart rate, forcing the cardiovascular system to work harder to supply blood and oxygen to working muscles. Resistance training is the way to go if you don’t plan to dramatically drop your calorie intake. The reason for this is because muscle requires more calories to be maintained, so building it will naturally burn more calories and lead to weight loss.

4.) Fat burner – 30/30/30.

This strategy involves consuming 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking followed by 30 minutes of steady state cardiovascular exercise. Steady state cardio is low intensity exercise where our Heart Rate (HR) is at or below 135bpm. This strategy targets fat opposed to lean muscle that is used during exercise. The amino acids in your bloodstream a.k.a., the protein, aid in preventing the muscle from being utilised in this way, allowing for fat to be burned. Weight loss is a broad concept and there are numerous ways of achieving the same goal but I feel that is essential to ensure that you maintain your physical activity levels if not better your overall athletic ability and performance while losing weight or trying to reduce that fat that just doesn’t want to go.

Gavin Smith
BSc Health & Performance Science UCD.
Final year physiotherapy student UCD.

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