Running Can Save You Money

Running Can Save You Money

First few days back at work and everywhere is full of diet plans, gym offers, how to burn the most calories with maximum weight loss and get you the body you want fast.  Marketing for every sporting event ever conceived has gone mad, as we’re inundated with info on what to enter and how.  Feeling confused, cynical and overwhelmed by it all and wondering where to start?  Join the club, well maybe a running club that is…

Most of the claims about rapid weight loss are just totally unrealistic for many people who’ve over-indulged not just recently, but for most of their lives.  People won’t suddenly change their eating habits because its January, and people who’re terrified of gyms, group classes, and being surrounded by other very fit-looking, sounding and behaving people will still be terrified.   Which is why running can be the answer to the question: where do I start if I’m relatively new to, or returning to exercise, especially if I don’t have loads of cash and I don’t feel able to stop eating the junk quite yet.

The latest gym ‘craze’ is to interval train during a quick 30 minute full-on session.  This means accelerating the heart rate up high, holding it there, and reducing it back down at regular intervals for a full-on cardio blast.   Lasting a quick but gruelling half an hour without recovery time, some experts are also saying that if you’ve then got any spare capacity in your schedule and the energy afterwards, you could do some weights for the rest of your magic hour to ensure your body gets the full-on pounding it needs to build muscle and burn fat. 

Actually, exercise professionals have been training like this for years, it’s just that nobody’s exactly ‘bottled it up and sold it.’ Perhaps because if we gave away all our tricks of the trade, there wouldn’t be that much need for us to be out there imparting our knowledge in person.

I guess the crucial elements to the various fitness regimes being promoted in January though, is motivation and commitment.  Yes, anyone can talk or write about these things and some can even think about doing them, but it’s a different matter entirely to actually exercise at such intensity that you too can burn the claimed 1,000 calories.  So always consider the fitness levels of the apparent people turning up for these classes in the first place, before believing that 1,000 calories is achievable and realistic for everyone.  I’d say there are very few individuals who can sustain a pounding training session for a full hour, whereby it’s remotely possible to burn 1,000 calories.  

Only a conditioned and experienced exerciser with seriously good all round cardio vascular fitness could get to anything like this level of fat burning, and even then you’d need to be on zero recovery time during your hour, which really is reserved for the most Athletic of people, because for most, once you’re into your anaerobic training zone i.e. when you approach your V02 max, then it’s vital to have some recovery time to enable your body to restore oxygen and for energy levels to return. 

So most people are usually, in January in particular, looking for something basic but enjoyable, that can just get them active, stay active and make a difference to their physical and emotional well-being without costing a small fortune.  And this is why running can be the solution especially when the New Year resolutions of losing weight, eating and drinking less and joining a gym are often over by mid- February. This is when the old habits return and we realise that improved fitness and weight loss doesn’t happen overnight and that changing our lifestyle through giving up the food and drink we enjoy isn’t all that easy.

So, when a gym’s advertising sessions that can burn up to 1,000 calories and offering you memberships at a mere £100+ a month for the privilege, ask yourself if this is really the right way to tackle the problem?  Just think what you could do with that money instead, because if you had the motivation to get out there and run, be outdoors, feel alive and yes, build up to interval training through your own or a group running programme, it could save you a lot of time and money. Plus think how empowered you’d feel and how much healthier it would be than breathing in everyone else’s germs and ‘moist gym air’ indoors during a class.

I’m not saying it’s easy to get outside and run at this time of year.  Even the hardiest people dig deep for winter motivation.  Of course January can be the gloomiest month, but it doesn’t matter how unfit you’re feeling, face up to it, the longer you leave it, you’ll probably feel even worse when and if you do actually start.  So, if you’re new to exercise or haven’t done anything for a few years, just start very slowly, walk then jog then walk again: Do as much as you feel able to do, then catch your breath and slow down before speeding up again, but keep going like this for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week and build up your stamina gradually.  The key is to keep altering your pace.  You can do this if you’re already a runner too but at a faster pace; sprint then run, because that’s all there really is to interval training.  It’s all about the intensity and recovery and what you do with it.  Remember everyone has to start somewhere, and, over time, the fitter you get, the sooner you’ll find that you too can build up to burning 1,000 calories an hour too – well, something like that anyway.

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