Running for Weight Loss

Running for weight lossEditor's note: This post originally appeared in September 2015 and has been updated and revamped for accuracy.

If you are looking to lace up your running shoes in the hopes of dropping a few pounds, you are in luck.

Running can be an effective weight loss tool. As a matter of fact, running can help you lose weight even if you don’t diet or change anything else in your routine.

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How it works

To put it simply, if you want to lose weight you need to use more energy (calories) than your body takes in. In order to lose one pound of fat, your body needs to use 3,500 less calories than you’ve eaten.

  • 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat loss.

For every mile you run, your body will burn approximately 100 calories. (The exact number of calories will be determined by your personal body weight. You can use a calorie calculator to determine what yours is.)

If you run five miles every day of the week, you can lose one pound of fat per week, for a total of four pounds per month. If you run 2 ½ miles every day of the week, you can lose one pound of fat every two weeks, for a total of two pounds per month. Even if you don’t change a single thing about your diet, running can help you lose weight.

Want to lose weight faster? No problem. Increasing the intensity (speed) or incline of your run will help you burn even more calories.

  • Running on a 5% incline burns 50% more calories.

  • Running on a 10% incline doubles calorie burn.

Supercharge Your Weight Loss

If you want to supercharge your weight loss efforts, then it’s time to hit the weights. Studies have shown that cardio plus strength training burns fat faster than cardio alone.

How does strength training help with fat loss? Bigger muscles burn more calories and fat. It takes your body more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than it does a pound of fat.

Strength training revs your post-exercise metabolism longer than cardio. For up to 38 hours after you’ve lifted weights, your metabolism will remain elevated as your body replenishes and repairs itself. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

The best reason to add strength training to your weight loss routine? Strength training will improve your runningLifting weights will improve your aerobic and muscle endurance. That means you will be able to run faster, longer, and with higher intensity.

Both running, and running plus strength training, can help you lose weight without changing your diet. But, if you are going to put in all of this hard work at the gym, on the treadmill, and on the trails, why wouldn’t you want to fuel your body for better performance? Eat clean, strength train, and get out for a run, and weight loss is sure to happen.

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