Get lean in 5 simple steps

Keen to get lean? Our five simple lifestyle tips will shred fat fast and help you become a more agile and efficient runner. 

Get lean in 5 simple steps

1. Drink matcha green tea

If you want to burn up to 25 per cent more fat, have a drink of matcha green tea immediately before your workout.

Already popular in Japan, matcha is set apart from most teas because the chloropyhll-packed leaves are ground into a powder rather than steeped, so you get the full effects of its many health properties.

Drinking the tea (also available in tablet form) supercharges your metabolism (even at rest) with a powerful suite of antioxidants, fibre, amino acids and caffeine. In addition to increasing your fat-burning rate, matcha lowers bad cholesterol and combats inflammation.

2. Speed work

Sprinting is the key to burning fat. Find an approximate 100 metre stretch and start a timer for 15 mins. Do sprint repeats on a flat stretch where you sprint for 30 secs then recover (jog, walk) for 1 minute. Gradually increase your sprinting time and try to keep the recovery time the same at 1 minute.

This kind of training is called HIIT (High intensity interval training). It propels your fat burn and uses maximum calories and should leave you feeling physically exhausted yet energised and full of achievement. Try this 20 minute beginners' HIIT workout.

3. Hill repeats

Running up and down hills sounds less fun than it is, so don't be put off. It will get your heart racing, burn fat like nothing else and give you a serious kick of endorphins.

To get the best results from hill repeats, find a medium steep hill (you can do this on the treadmill too). Start by sprinting up it and slowly jogging back down and do this for 6 minutes. On the 6th minute run to another hill and this time make sure it is steeper than the previous one.

Set the clock at 5 minutes this time and sprint up to the top and back down. On the 5th minute jog on and find a super steep hill. Set the clock for 4 minutes this time and sprint up and jog back down till the clock strikes 4. If this does not hurt and leave you out of breath and feeling physically drained then add another 2 minutes on the steep hill.

Do a slow jog on the flat for 10-15 minutes as a warm down and be sure to stretch out your aching muscles to enhance your recovery. 

For more on inclines, read hill training explained

4. Cross training

Mixing up your training will offer you a little break from running and your body will be thankful. It’s really important to mix it up, and change will shock your body into using different areas propelling your fat burn. Try swimming, cycling, or hit the gym and use the cross trainer or step machine. In the long term this will improve your agility, skills and balance.

Taking a break from running will add variability into your routine, reduce exercise boredom and produce a higher level of all round body conditioning. It will give your running muscles a break, working other muscles while they rest and generally will reduce the risk of future injuries.

For more on the benefits of cross training click here

5. Rest and recovery

Think of sleep as a non-negotiable 'recovery' cycle that your body needs in order to release and stabilise hormones and repair and build new muscle.
Constantly not getting enough rest (7-9 hours) will result in a chronically elevated level of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is pretty much your worst enemy when it comes to getting trim, it destroys healthy muscle, shifts fat directly to the belly, negatively affects your metabolism while increasing your blood sugar and sugar cravings. Cortisol levels can be controlled by getting better quality sleep and stress management.

Magnesium also helps your muscles relax and repair themselves, so make sure you're eating plenty of magnesium-rich foods like leafy green veggies, bananas, avocado and almonds.

For more on the importance of sleep for runners click here

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