Secret Fat Loss Techniques For Runners
There’s more to fat loss than burning calories. We look at five secret fat-busters for runners.
Getting good quality, consistent sleep is probably the most important tool in your box of fat loss tricks. If you don’t get enough sleep, if your sleep patterns are erratic, or if you sleep fitfully, your body will be stressed and will churn out the damaging hormone cortisol which makes losing body fat all but impossible. In addition, levels of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”, will rise, you’ll crave extra calories (and more stodgy, sweet, comforting foods) and you’ll be more likely to fall into bad diet and exercise habits because you’re so exhausted. Aim for 7-9 hours of good sleep a night. Get a good bedtime routine in place: get off the internet and turn off all electronic devices for an hour before bed (read, have a bath, or do methodical chores like washing up or preparing the next day’s food). Make your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. Don’t allow phones, laptops or tablet devices in your bedroom. And try to relax your body and mind. We find writing a to-do list, or a “brain-dump”, clears our mind of annoying worries.
Are you getting enough fibre in your diet? Fibre helps you feel full, and is very useful in keeping your digestion running smoothly, both of which will aid fat loss. Up your vegetable and fruit intake, concentrating on leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables, and consider taking a fibre supplement (psyllium husk is great value for money). Remember to drink plenty of water to match your fibre intake.
Drinking plenty of water helps your body shift toxins (and the body fat in which they’re stored), transport nutrients around the body and find a healthy state of homeostasis. Your body and its hormones will be more inclined to let go of body fat if it feels well hydrated. So drink up! Aim to drink a glass of water on waking, carry a bottle of water with you, have one glass before every meal, and a glass before bed.
Vegetables and other high-volume foods
If you’re eating for fat loss, you’re probably going to feel a little hungry from time to time. That’s to be expected as your body adjusts to the calorie deficit and starts giving up stores of body fat. Fill up on high-volume foods such as vegetables and big bulky salads. Choose your favourite: we like snacking on sliced cucumber, grilled asparagus, steamed broccoli and homemade kale “crisps” for a filling, nutrient-dense snack with a barely-there calorie count.
In the same way that a lack of sleep causes stress hormones to rise, any stress will encourage your body to hang on to body fat (particularly around the abdomen, belly and waist). Stress can come in many forms: work stress, relationship stress and financial stress are common. But it’s worth remembering that even things that we see as “positive” are felt as a stress by our bodies: being busy, skipping meals and yes even training! We’re not saying to cut down on running, but do try to minimise stresses and find ways to relax, unwind and cope with all mental, emotional and physical stresses on your body and mind. Try yoga, reading before bed, meditation, walking outdoors or any gentle, happy habits which make you feel nurtured and calm.