We all know that if we want to lose weight, we have to eat well and work out. When it comes to working out, one of the most popularly recommended exercises is running since it has been advertised and hailed as a fantastic option for weight loss. If this is the case, the why is it that some people can run for months and still not see any results reflect on the scale? After all, it’s no secret that running burns tons of calories and there are tons of people out there who have claimed to have lost a lot of weight from the said exercise. What’s the bottom line then? Is running even any good for weight loss? Can it really help people lose fat and achieve their ideal body weight? Well, yes and no.
Running takes a lot of endurance, strength, sweat, and will power. Couple that with a good diet and you’re pretty much guaranteed to drop pounds, and yet some people don’t because they are, essentially, self-sabotaging. At the end of the day, running is supposed to be good for weight loss, but it won’t be if you’re making any of the following mistakes.
Sabotage 1: Pigging Out After a Run
It’s normal to feel positively famished after a long run. This is because you’re burning tons of calories, so it’s your body’s natural reaction or need to refuel. However, we can’t stress enough the importance of refueling wisely after a run. Just because you’ve accomplished a long run doesn’t mean that you should stuff your face with junk food as your recovery food. If you do this, chances are extremely high that you’ll be hungry again in the next hour. A long run also doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to eat to your heart’s content. While a snack after a run is essential to your body’s recovery, it’s important that you choose a snack that is high in protein and carbs with a high glycemic index. It’s also important to make sure that your snack doesn’t exceed 150 calories.
Sabotage 2: Thinking You’re Burning More Than You Actually Are
While there are people who underestimate what they are capable of, there also people who definitely tend to overestimate their workouts and the effectivity of their workouts. With that in mind, you can’t come back from a run and just assume you’ve burned over 500 calories just because you’re covered in sweat. To put it into perspective, a woman who weighs 150 pounds will burn about 495 calories if running at a pace of 10-minutes-per-mile for 45 minutes. If you didn’t run this long or this fast, then it’s likely you’re not burning the amount of calories that you think you did. The best way to get a good gauge on the amount of calories you’re burning is by investing in a heart rate monitor or making use of a fitness tracker.
Sabotage 3: You’re Not Running as Much as You Think You Are
If you’ve been running for well over three months and still aren’t seeing results, then it might be time to analyze your calendar. Are you running as much as you should be? Are you really running as much as you think you are? Because if you’re not seeing much results but are sticking true to your diet, then there’s a good chance that you’re not actually getting enough miles in throughout the week. Think of it this way, one 45-minute run or two 20-minute runs in a week isn’t enough for you to get the results that you want. If you want to lose weight at an average rate of 1 pound per week, then you need to be dropping or burning at least 400 calories per day through the synergy of your diet and runs. To accomplish this, you need to run at least 3 times a week for a solid 45 minutes and incorporate other kinds of strength exercises or light cardio exercises throughout the week.
Sabotage 4: Following the Same Routine Every Day
There’s nothing wrong with having a routine for your week. If you’re just starting out with running, then identifying a route around your neighborhood or a place that’s familiar to you can set you on the right track to really making running a habit. However, if you keep returning to that same route for an extended period of time, then you’re well on your way to a weight loss plateau. Our muscles are fantastic at adapting to new things and strenuous activities, so if you’re running the same route day and day out, then your body will quickly adapt to it and you’ll start burning less calories. To avoid this and to make your runs effective, mix your routine up by trying a new route with a great incline or even try running on a new surface every now and then. Another great way to mix up your run and your body burning maximum calories is to add intervals into your regular route. It’s also important to combine your runs with different kinds of exercises throughout the week that will target strength training or will work a different area of your body while still being a cardio exercise.
Sabotage 5: Focusing on the Scale
We know that one of the biggest indications of weight loss is the number that you see on the scale, but if you focus on that number that you’re likely to be setting yourself up for further disappointment. So why is it important to not focus solely on the scale? Because of the kind of exercise that running is. Running is a fantastic way to tone up the muscles of your lower body and even the muscles of your abdomen. As your fat diminishes, muscle builds. Now, it’s no secret that muscle is denser, which means it takes up less space while weighing more. So although your weight many not be going down on the scale, your other body measurements like your waist size or leg circumference could be going down. Remember that the scale isn’t always the best way to monitor the progress that you’re making.