A Runner’s 7 Rules For Fat Loss
Finding it hard to shift the festive pounds? Here are 7 ways to trim away at body fat without affecting your energy for running.
Forget slimming shakes, fasting, and fads. Runners need simple, realistic ways to lose excess weight which won’t leave them feeling hungry or low in energy.
1) Keep It Real
You might be desperate to be rid of those extra 10lbs but take your time and it’ll be a lot easier (and likely to last). Create a calorie deficit of no more than 15% of your caloric intake (300 calories, if your caloric intake is usually 2000 calories). Do this from less food (calories in) or more activity (calories out) or a combination of both. Aim to lose 1.5-2 lbs a week for steady weight loss which is mostly from body fat.
2) Be Balanced
At this time of year, dieting advice is everywhere. Most quick-loss diets will tell you to cut something out completely. For runners, it’s important to keep a balanced approach. Don’t cut out carbohydrates (they are important for energy and running performance) or fats (it’s essential for hormones and general health). Focus on a small calorie deficit but keep all three macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) present.
3) Make Smart Swaps
Get more bang for your buck by swapping higher-calorie foods for lower-calorie health options. Rice or potatoes are likely to fill you up (and deliver more vitamins and minerals) than breads. Avocados, oily fish and nuts are a healthier way to get your fat quota than hidden fats in cereal bars and other snacks. Lean proteins like chicken, fish, eggs and dairy are a great way to get more protein in your diet.
4) Bump Up Your Protein
Everyone needs sufficient amounts of protein, but female runners need it more than most. It’s what supports our bodies as they run, race and recover. Eat a serving of protein at every meal and snack: a chicken breast, a small pot of Greek yoghurt, 2-3 eggs, a small amount of red meat or oily fish. It’s healthy, low fat and fills you up.
5) Find Calorie-Free Rewards
We encourage you to congratulate your successes as a runner. But if your go-to rewards are desserts, takeaway, chocolate or wine, you will find yourself trapped in a cycle of weight loss and gain. Find ways to reward yourself without the calories. A massage, a beauty treatment, a night in with your favourite TV show, an early night… whatever does it for you.
6) Eat More Fibre
Most of us aren’t eating enough fibre for general health. Fibre fills us up, keeps digestion healthy, and will help us lose weight naturally without resorting to hunger. Include more vegetables in your meals, particularly leafy greens. Eat a chopped salad for lunch. Use beans and lentils in meals.
7) Drink More Water
It’s difficult to drink lots of water at this time of year, simply because we’re cold! But upping your water intake will really help with weight loss. Not only will it keep things moving through your digestive tract, but it will keep you feeling fuller, and prevent mindless snacking. If plain cold water doesn’t appeal, add a little sugar-free squash, drink herbal tea, or try hot water with lemon. Aim for 2-3 litres a day as a minimum. Homemade soup ticks several of these boxes: it contains “smart swaps”, it can bump up your protein intake, it’s a great way of getting more fibrous foods in, and it automatically gets more water into your day!