Running is a great way to lose weight, no matter who you are. However, you may not be aware that there are a few ways that you can maximise your running for fat loss specifically, helping you achieve your fitness goals!
We’ll run you through a couple of top tips on how to get leaner whilst running, which you can incorporate into your own training.
Scientists have stated for years now that exercising first thing in the morning is the most effective way of losing weight. But why? Well, it’s because you’re ‘fasted’ when you wake up. For most people, after sleeping for 8 hours it’s been around 12 hours since their last meal, meaning they have no food in their system when they wake up.
What happens when you run without eating first? First of all, I want to state that only light running should happen at this time, as training hard on an empty stomach can be potentially dangerous. When you’re running whilst fasted, your body has to burn the glycogen and fat stores already present in your body.
Usually, your initial source of energy comes from the most recent fuel you consumed, usually in the form of a carbohydrate. However, when you haven’t consumed anything within 12 hours, where does your body get your energy from? It burns your fat sources!
Training early in the morning actually teaches your body at becoming more efficient at burning fat, which is great in a few ways. Firstly, it helps you get rid of that stubborn belly fat. However, this can actually help you dramatically at the end of a race!
Let’s say you’re running a marathon for example. You’re in the last couple of miles and have burned up all the fuel you consumed pre-race. At this point, your body starts to burn the fat stores to help you get across that finish line. If you’ve already trained your body to burn fat effectively, then you won’t be as dramatically effected from this depletion of energy. Ultimately, this helps you run faster for longer.
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Speed training is one of the most effective ways of running for fat loss, and I’ve briefly touched on this point in a previous article. Take a brief moment to think of any olympic sprinter you can. I bet you’re thinking of someone who has powerful legs and big shoulders, but most importantly someone who is extremely lean.
The way sprinters train makes them carry very little fat for a reason, and if any runner starts to consistently train to develop their speed then they’ll certainly reap similar benefits. In short, speed training help develops your muscle mass, and that’s what makes you lean.
Developing more muscle helps to increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which essentially means your body burns more calories naturally on a day to day basis. This is because when your body is repairing muscle, it takes quite a lot of calories to do so. However, this just helps you to lose weight in general.
Increasing your BMR is actually one of the best ways you can train your body to burn fat, continuously, hours after completing an exercise that specifically develops your muscles. Similar to the fasted running example, sprint training helps you burn fat, rather than burning off the food you just ate!
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Long, slow distance running
This one is probably only applicable for the people who have been running for a little while, and can quite comfortably run for 90 minutes or longer.
I stated under the first point that at the end of a marathon, you run out of fuel and start to burn your body’s fat sources as a way of supplying energy. Well, through low, slow distance running you can get into that specific state, without too much effort. Long, slow distance running is essentially a way of getting you into the fasted state that we mentioned earlier, without you having to train first thing in the morning.
Why does only long and slow running have this effect? It isn’t the only way to get into this zone per se, but it’s definitely the easiest. After a long period of time, your body has already burned up its immediate sources of energy, so starts to burn up your fat sources. If you’re just running easily, then at the end of this run you shouldn’t be too tired, and you’ll be ready to attack your regular workouts.
This gives your body the exact same effect as running in a fasted state; it allows you to start immediately burning fat, whilst teaching your body how to burn fat more effectively (essentially by forcing it to do so).
Even though these are three great way of running for fat loss, it is still best to avoid sugar in your diet and stick to your daily sugar intake recommendations (which is a lot less than you probably think). Also, eat a lot of vegetables and a wide variety of protein and carbohydrate sources to fuel your workouts. A combination of a healthy diet and correct training can help you burn off that stubborn belly fat in no time!
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