How to lose weight by running

Time to get fit? Lose weight and transform your running fitness with a few simple drills and diet tricks.

How to lose weight by running

Losing weight may feel like an uphill struggle but it's definitely possible if you stick to a training plan, eat healthy food and follow some of these tips along the way.

The best place to start is to set yourself smaller goals (on a weekly basis) that will help you achieve the bigger goal of losing weight. Follow our four week guide to shed the pounds and transform your fitness. Check out these tips on how to burn fat faster, and you'll soon become a lean, mean, fat-burning machine.

Week 1 

  1. Plan your meals in advance. If you buy all your ingredients on a Sunday, prep all your meals and portion them in tupperware containers for the week you'll be more likely to eat healthy food, rather than feeling lazy and buying pre-packaged meals or reaching for the takeaway menus. 
  2. Exercising first thing in the morning is the best way to kick start your day so stop sleeping in and get up and out and if you can go for a run on an empty stomach. One study has shown that training in a fasted state can not only increase fat burn by 20 per cent compared with exercising after you eat but it also doesn't increase your appetite. Just make sure you load up with a big healthy breakfast on your return and you'll be set for the day. 
  3. Interval training is one of the most efficient ways to not only improve your running but also to lose weight. Interval training involves running hard for a set time (60-90 seconds) and then recovering, usually for 1-3 times as long as the hard section (recover for 2-3 minutes). This is repeated several times. Week 1 you should aim to start doing two interval sessions per week for a total of 20 minutes per session. 

Week 2

  1. Week two is one of the most important weeks as your body will start to get into workout mode. It's important to make a real effort to keep your body hydrated; 37 per cent of us mistake thirst for hunger as the dehydrated body mimics the symptoms of hunger. We're also particularly prone to boredom eating when we're tired and feel like an energy boost. Kickstart your day with a pint of water to ensure full hydration.
  2. In week two you should incorporate a third session of intervals into your routine. In total you will do an hour of intervals on top of your normal exercise/running schedule. Depending how you are feeling you should reduce your rest time accordingly. If you are feeling great, reduce rest time to 1 minute, if you are struggling then keep your rest time as 3 minutes.
  3. If you are struggling to get the energy or you find yourself feeling tired early on in your training then try and eat at least one of these foods before your training session to give your body the energy it needs to run longer.

Week 3 

  1. Week three is where the pace picks up with interval training. Complete the following interval workout two times during this week. This is an overall interval workout and you will be sure to feel the burn after the session.
  2. Start with 5 minutes running at tempo effort (this is a 7/10 with 10 being the hardest) then recover with 2 minutes easy jogging. Next complete 8x30 seconds at a 9/10 effort with a 90second recovery. You can either cool down there, or, if you want a really tough workout, aim to complete another 2 x 3 minute intervals at an 8-9/10 effort. Stretch so you are ready for your next session in a few days time.
  3. Make sure you are following a balanced diet. Do not cut fat out; eating fat does not make you fat, instead fat is a vital ingredient for your body to continue functioning properly, including the immune and hormonal systems. It will also give you energy. 
  4. Remember to always keep a record of your progress, from how you felt after each session to the foods you are eating.

Week 4

  1. Welcome to pyramid intervals for the final week! These are great if you want to mix up your training and beat boredom. It is also great for the final week as a last minute body blitz. Complete intervals of 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1 minutes with equal time rest in between. You’ll work in a variety of heart rate and effort zones; you should find yourself going faster for the 1 minute intervals than for the 3 minute intervals. This is to be completed three times during this week.
  2. Focus on eating more of the right foods rather than less food overall. Ensure a healthy balance of carbs, protein, fat, and sugar to give you more energy and higher fat loss results rather than calorie counting.
  3. Don't forget to log your progress on The Running Bug to receive support and motivation from other Bugs!

For healthy recipe ideas visit our nutrition section

For more tips, check out our 10 weight loss tips for men. Getting too obsessive? Read our 5 reasons not to stress about weight loss

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