Of all the physical activities people try for weight loss, running is the one that is most commonly opted by most people. Coincidentally, running for weight loss happens to be one of the toughest thing to do if you’re a rookie! If you’re a physical inactive person and you have a sudden epiphany to lose weight, a good idea would be, not to go outdoors (or mount the treadmill) and start running like your house’s on fire! Running may look simple but there’s a complete science to it.
First thing you have to consider is that what is your fitness level? Have your run before? Can your body and lower torso handle your body weight without chances of injury? If you have just started to run for the first time, it is my recommendation that you start with low intensity interval training or LIIT. For starters this would be something like:
walk for 4 minutes followed by 1 minute jog (Repeat 6 times)
Once you start to build muscle endurance and stamina, you can transition into longer intervals of running and shorter intervals of walking. It is up to you and your physical fitness level how quickly you transition. Some way into your training program, Your LIIT may look something like:
Jog for 4 minutes & walk for 1 minute (Repeat 8 times)
At this point you can transition your running program into constant running at an endurable pace. Your workout Chart for the week may look something like:
- Mon : 5K constant run without any rest
- Tue : Rest Day
- Wed : 1 hour LIIT (4 min Jog, 2 min Walk)
- Thu : Rest Day
- Fri : 5K constant run without any rest
- Sat : 3K run (As fast as you can)
- Sun : Rest Day
The chart above provides a rough guideline how you can manage a Cardio workout in a week. It may represent a beginners workout; for someone who has the stamina to run for 5 kilometers but has very little running experience. You can always modify your workout once you improve your physical fitness, stamina, endurance level and confidence level. One important thing worth mentioning here is that long duration of running helps you lose fat. But along with body fat you also lose muscle mass. Now, muscle mass is very important for many reasons (Increased metabolism, great body shape, improved physical strength).
It is always important to preserve muscle mass (Or lean mass) when you go for a cardio training. Weight training helps preservation of lean mass as it prompts the body into a muscle overload and the body’s reaction to this overload is to build more muscle. For this reason, you can always fill in your Rest Days with weight training so that your workout becomes a blend of fat loss & muscle gain. This not only applies to the male community but women should follow this advice as well sine lean mass is equally important for both genders.
Another important thing to consider is nutrition. Always aim at cutting your calorie intake by no more than 10% at a time. Observe the effects of this reduction for a week and if you start to lose weight, well and good; if you don’t go for a 15% cut and observe the effects for another 7 days. Take a well balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and mostly natural products. Combine good nutrition with a good workout plan and you’ll soon be running for weight loss!