Understanding Fat Loss For Female Runners
Don’t get started without reading this guide to fat loss for women who run!
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that women and men lose weight and body fat the same way. The truth is, there are some significant differences – and knowing about them will make your next fat loss diet a success!
5 Reasons Fat Loss Is Different For Women
#1 Women tend to be smaller than men, with less muscle mass
#2 So our basal metabolic rate (how many calories we burn just moving about) tends to be lower
#3 Therefore we usually need to diet on fewer calories than men
#4 We have significantly less natural testosterone than men (a hormone which can help fat burning)
#5 And some women (not all) have more of an emotional response to food and body image (it’s all connected!)
So, don’t expect to lose fat as quickly or in the same way as any male runner you know! Here’s the best way to do it:
Set appropriate goals
Healthy body fat levels for a woman are up to double that of a man. So set your goals realistically. What would “success” mean to you? Set personal goals which you will be proud to achieve.
Women will store more fat around the hips, bum and thighs. It’s actually better for your health to store body fat on your limbs than around your torso (like men do) – so take heart! Remember that some body fat is essential for your hormonal health. Very low body fat levels are unhealthy – so keep a balance.
Common sense food rules
Forget any rules you’ve heard about female dieting (like eating 1,200 calories per day). Work out your BMR and TDEE (we’ve blogged about this before) to work out how many calories your body needs. Then create a small deficit from there. Lose weight slowly and steadily. Eat a balanced diet, and don’t force yourself to diet on foods you hate. Whole foods, natural ingredients and unprocessed foods will give you more bang for your dieting buck than high calorie snacks and treats. Clean up your snacking habits. Cut out (or minimise) alcohol. Eat protein at every meal.
Add a little muscle
Resistance training to add a bit of muscle will help weight loss AND weight management. A bit of muscle will help you have a more sculpted toned look (not gaunt or skinny) and the lean tissue will help your body burn more calories all the time. So your metabolism will go up – and stay up! You don’t need to use heavy weights or even go to the gym (unless you want to) – any kind of resistance training will do.
Cardio like running will help you create that calorie deficit to lose fat. So keep running, and do what you enjoy! Mix things up if you can, and at least try some interval training, HIIT, circuits or sprints. But the key is sticking with what you enjoy, so you actually do it. You’ve got this!