If it is always regarded as one of the top cardio workouts, then there must also be some top notch running exercises to lose weight.
Like an astute banker, our body also has a way of holding in reserve the surplus calories. They are deposited in our natural storage units called adipocytes or fat cells that act like minuscule moneybags. Sadly though, most of these cells are located in our midsection, thus producing a paunch when grossly accumulated and left unused.
How can you actually lose weight and body fat?
The only way to deplete overstuffed fat cells in your body is by utilizing their content through increased physical exertion. That is where running and other forms of exercises come into play. However, if you keep packing yourself with excess calories that your body cannot put to work, they will likewise end up in storage.
To actually end the vicious cycle, you have to make sure that your caloric intake is proportionate or lesser than your burning rate. That is why causing caloric deficit is highly advisable to people who are aiming to reduce weight and body fat.
Is running good for weight loss?
Running is one of the most convenient weight-reduction tools at your disposal. As long as your lower limbs can move and there are solid grounds around you, there is always a way you can make it work. Whether it is a rubberized track, a concrete or asphalt pavement, grassland, a dirt road, or a mountain trail, they can all be a part of your vast gym.
What are the best running exercises to lose weight?
While it is true that any form of running burns calories and even stored adipose fats if you hit the right intensity, there are actually ways or techniques you can employ for optimum results at a shorter amount of time.
But first, a little word of caution: Do not skip doing at least 5 minutes of warm-up exercises before running. I highly recommend that you do a series of dynamic stretching movements such as lunges, squats, high-step marching, and other callisthenics that will activate the muscles, bones, and joints you need for running. This will signal your body to increase blood flow to your lower extremities, thereby energizing them and lessening their risks for getting cramps or injuries from sudden bursts of physical exertion.
Secondly, do another 5 minutes of static stretching after the workout to relax your muscles and reduce fatigue and soreness.
Now, here’s a couple of running programs you should try:
Originally called by its Swedish term “fartlek”, speed play was first developed by Sweden’s cross-country team coach in the late 1930’s. Its basic mechanics that involve continuously alternating short distance sprints with longer distance slow runs was found to burn a lot more calories than a steady pace run. In fact, it was proven to have a strong “after-burn” effect that causes your body to continue metabolizing stored fat long after your workout.
Here’s how you do it:
- After the warm-up session, run a slow pace for 45 seconds.
- Run a 15-second sprint for at least 85-90 percent of your best effort.
- Continue alternating 45-second slow runs with 15-second sprints until you completed at least 10 times of each segment.
- Considering that you will take a 5-second breather after each sprint, the whole workout will only take about 20 – 25 minutes including the warm-up and cool-down phases. Do not rest for more than 10 seconds in-between each sequence.
- Do this for 3 to 4 times a week. If the workout starts to get easy for you, you can gradually lengthen the time of each segment or add more repetitions. For example, you can do an alternating 30-second sprint with 1-minute slow jogging for 12 complete sequences, and so on.
This workout is best done in a track field for ease in measuring distances. If you don’t have one accessible to you, a city block will do. Just google the total distance around the block and see if it is close enough to the standard 400-meter size of a track field. The work out is pretty simple:
- After doing the necessary warm-up, you will run 5 to 6 times around the block or track field at a marathoner’s pace. Perhaps you can place it between your normal jogging pace and your all-out sprint.
- Rest for 2 minutes after each complete circle around the block or track field. You can likewise walk in place or do light stretching during this time to keep your heart rate up.
- Do cool down exercises or stretching.
- You can add more rounds as you go along to keep on breaking through your limit.
Agility & Footwork Drills
Every professional, collegiate and high school basketball, football, or almost any other athletic teams do footwork drills of some sort. Besides improving players’ running techniques, agility, and lateral movement skills, these drills increases strength and stamina too. Even if you are not a part of any sporting unit and just training on your own, there are running exercises to lose weight that you can steal or borrow from many teams’ training programs.
Since there are lots of different exercises out there, some more complex than the others, let’s just discuss a few ones. While the following sets are best done in an unoccupied basketball court, you can likewise perform them on a relatively flat and basketball court-sized portion of a park expanse, a beach, a plaza, or a spacious lawn. You just need to be resourceful and use some kind of improvised markers like plastic cones, packaging tapes, etc. But for the sake of uncomplicated discussion, we will assume that you can work out on a basketball court.
Note: Make it a point to do a few minutes of dynamic stretching or light jogging as a warm up before doing any high-intensity running drills.
5-Points Touch Running Drill
- After the warm-up, stand in the middle of the circle of the half-court line facing one of the hoops.
- Run backward until you reach the point under the hoop behind you then touch the ground with one or both hands. And then sprint back to the starting circle and touch the ground there.
- Bend your knees a little and shuffle along sideways until you reach the intersection point of the sideline and the end of the half-court line and touch it. Sprint back to the starting circle and touch it again.
- Do the same side-stepping run and ground-tapping sequence towards the opposite side, then run back to the starting circle and touch the ground again.
- Run forward until you reach the point under the hoop of the basketball goal in front of you, touch the ground then sprint back to the starting circle. You just completed one set.
- Do at least 3 to 5 sets of the entire sequence, with 30-second rest in-between sets.
Skip and Run
- Your starting position will be on one of the basketball court’s corner points and your running path will be along the sideline.
- Do a skipping run towards the half-court line. Actually, there are several skipping techniques you can use such as high-knee skipping, bounding, foreleg extension marching, or even the one most of us did for fun when we were kids. The point is whichever technique you use, it should have moments wherein both your feet are off the ground at the same time, thus incorporating plyometrics into your training.
- Once you reach the half-court mark, run or shuffle briskly in place with slightly bent knees for at least 10 counts, and then sprint the rest of the distance to the other corner point.
- Rest for few seconds, and then repeat the whole sequence back to the direction of your original starting point. That makes one complete set. Do at least 5 to 10 complete sets.
Walking Lunges, Straight Leg Run, and Sprint
- Again, you will be starting from one corner point of the basketball court and will move along one of the sidelines.
- Do a series of forwarding lunges with alternating legs as you gradually move along the line until you reach the point that you are about the same distance as the free-throw marker.
- Shift to straight leg running, a technique wherein you will not bend your knees at all while running until you reach the half-court line.
- Sprint the rest of the way until you reach the opposite lengthwise end corner of your starting point.
- Repeat the whole sequence, but this time you are going back to your original starting point. The entire-back-to-back laps make one complete set. Do at least 6 to 8 sets per workout.
Note: you can combine these three drills to make a complete circuit training. Do one set of each exercise in rapid succession to make one full circuit. Try to do at least 3 full circuits regularly and you will not only lose weight and body fat, you will also gain some lean muscles and significantly increase your stamina in the process.
Remember that the most important factor in running to lose weight is not the length of time you spent or the total distance you covered in each excursion. It is how much effort you exerted to stretch your physical limitation. Just like in resistance training, you need to keep shocking your system by adding weights or repetitions every time you hit a plateau. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the more you felt spent after a workout, the more calories you actually burned.
Running like a Pro: Essential Running Gears For You
We all have been there, vowing to take up some exercise as a new year rolls in, only to give up after trying a couple of times. While it needs unbeatable dedication for regular exercise, the right gear can also be an important factor in sticking to regular exercise.
Benefits of physical activity for your mental well being, health and attractivness are endless and well known. With the right gear in hand, you might even enjoy exercising. Running is a form of exercise that doesn’t need much special gear. However, if you don’t have proper running shoes, you are going to suffer through it rather than enjoy it.
What Counts As Running Gear?
Nowadays, running gear is one of the most profitable fashion niches. It is hard to keep up with trends as brands are releasing newer, more comfortable running gear almost every week. Running shoes, socks, belts, GPS, heart monitor, running apparel — everything falls under the running gear category.
What Do You Need As a Beginner?
You might be a little overwhelmed by the number of items a pro runner needs for running. But don’t worry. As a beginner, you can start running with just the basics like comfortable running shoes and running clothes. You can add more gear to your collection as you grow more comfortable with running.
Nothing trumps the importance of a perfect pair of shoes for running. Running in uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes might get you injured or even hospitalized. Which running shoe you need depends on the shape of your feet, your running style, and other factors. Here are some tips for selecting the right shoe:
1. Try to buy shoes from a store that specializes in running gear. That way, you can get some professional insight from the staff while buying.
2. If possible, opt for a trial run at a treadmill before buying. It will give you an idea about how the shoe will really perform.
3. Don’t go for too cheap or too expensive shoes. The high price of a shoe doesn’t necessarily mean it is suitable for you. Try for a moderate amount between 80-150 USD.
Have you ever been faced with a wall of new sneakers and wondered where to start? When you are already in a running routine, you require to sport the right running shoes. However, this is easier said than done as many people have no idea what to consider as they buy a new pair of running shoes.
6 Things to Consider When Buying a New Pair of Running Shoes
Have you ever been faced with a wall of new sneakers and wondered where to start? When you are already in a running routine, you require to sport the right running shoes. However, this is easier said than done as many people have no idea what to consider as they buy a new pair of running shoes.
Also, having the right footwear is of importance to the casual walker as it is to the marathoner. That’s why you should choose shoes that fit and support your feet properly, no matter the form of exercise that you want to do. Below are 6 things that you need to consider when buying a new pair of running shoes.
1. Your fitness level and future aspirations
When you find yourself staring at a wall of sneakers of different styles and colors in a shoe store. It is important before you start shopping, you consider your current fitness level and future aspirations. Also, if you are training for something and you know the distance you are training for, it will help you understand the best shoe to buy.
Even when you are just adding to your collection, considering how you use your shoes in the past and what you want to use them for in the future to guide you to the shoe you should buy. Since they are people who are low mileage runners that run like 15 miles a week, and the medium mileage runners, and those running up to 35 miles a week known as the high mileage runners. All these people will get a shoe depending on what mileage they cover to know the amount of stability, cushioning, and performance they need.
2. Your gait as you run
As you figure out the type of shoe you want to buy. You must consider your gait and running style before choosing the shoe. Most people are not aware of their gait and end up buying shoes that do not fit their running style.
What’s more, it increases the risk of injuries, since the shoes that do not suit your gait running style keep you off position in your lower body. Also, as running starts from your feet, it is important to have the right kind of shoes, that aligns your foot properly, to set you in the right direction for a healthy training.
You can request a complimentary gait analysis in the store you go to by observing you walk and run with neutral sneakers or bare feet. Either your gait is neutral where everything is in alignment, over pronated that needs you to have a stabilizing shoe, to the under pronated that needs more cushioning. It will help you know the best running shoe for you.
3. The feeling of your new shoes
Once the Nike SB Dunk releases are out, it is time to find the best for you. One that has the right support and cushioning and was made to fit your foot. So, how your new shoe should feel should be something that you consider. For this reason, although you may prefer product-focused guidance with the specialties in the running shoes. Enquire more about how a specific shoe feels while you run to know if that is the feeling that you are aiming for.
Especially when you are new to running, and you want to achieve that perfect stride with your new running shoes. If you want shoes that feel like you are floating above the ground or those that you feel the ground beneath all this are available in many stores you just need to enquire about them.
4. Previous injuries and their effect on your running
Have you had injuries before? And do they affect your day to day running experience? If yes, you need to consider this as you invest in your new pair of running shoes. Through considering this, you will be guided on the best new shoes that can fix the type of injury you have or had. Since most injuries runners get are related to the running shoes that they are currently wearing.
Plus, if you are still in recovery you can get advice from the experts that can tell you a more supportive shoe that will suit you with your running needs and the injuries you have. So, to avoid any repeat of previous injuries, choose a shoe that has a bit more structure and cushion to it. After some time, you can work your way into lighter and more flexible styles of shoes.
5. The amount of space that you need
To buy the proper footwear that will help with the repeated exposure to the amount of force you get when running. It is vital that you consider, the amount of space you need in front of the shoes when you first try it. Although many people do not understand why they need the space, it is very important to help with stability, prevent injury, among other things.
Thus, you need a full thumbnail’s space to avoid getting a shoe that is too small. The idea here is to allow the shoe to accommodate your feet when they swell and expand as you run. Plus, it will help you not to have your foot and toes impeded by the shoes as you run.
6. Consider the midsole of the shoe
Finally, it is important to consider what’s the condition of the midsole under that snazzy design of your running shoes. Many people buy the running shoes blindly by just checking the flashiest part of the upper portion of the fabric and color. Yet, this part just helps to keep your foot in the shoe, as much as it is a colorful and fun part.
While the midsole you ignore is the one that has the cushioning and support. On the other hand, the condition of the midsole of your current running shoes will help you know if you need a new pair of kicks. Thus, as you shop, consider the midsole as much as you do the outer part.
Running shorts should be comfortable and lightweight. The material should be breathable and should not restrict your movement. You can select technical fabric as material as it is designed to regulate your body heat depending on the season. Technical fabric is also better at moisture-wicking and keeping you comfortable.
Running in your loose cotton top that flaps around when you run and gets soaked with sweat and rain might not be a good idea. If you are serious about running, then buy a special running top for it.
Your running top should not be too baggy or too figure hugging. Whether you want a half sleeve or a full sleeve, you can find a good running top for between 20-50 USD.
Running belt is convenient for packing some small items that you need for running. Keys, identity cards, and cell phones are some basic items that you can’t leave at home while running.
You can easily store them in a running belt or pouch and keep your hands totally free for comfortable running. If you are thinking about squeezing in a water bottle then you should opt for a hydration belt that can be tied at the waist.
Running Hat and Visor
A running hat or a visor can serve several purposes at once. For example, it will act as a sweatband by preventing sweat from dripping down your face. It will also protect your face and eye from the harsh sun. If you have long hair, then a running hat will be convenient in preventing your hair from falling in your face or flapping all around.
A water bottle can be a lifesaver by providing some much-needed hydration. Water bottles should be lightweight and easily washable. Many water bottles come with a handheld pouch that also has room for smaller items like keys or IDs. You can even use a collapsible flask that can save you some space.
If you are thinking about taking up running seriously, then you should definitely get a GPS watch. It will help you track your running time, speed, and distance. A GPS watch can help you pace your running if you are training for a marathon. A GPS watch can also help you navigate if you are running a new route.
Many of us have gone through the phase of enduring a painful blister because of uncomfortable socks or shoes. Running socks are different than regular socks. While regular socks are cotton made, running socks are made of polyester or nylon that wick away sweat. If you wear ill-fitting regular cotton socks to run, you might develop blisters from all the chaffing.
Sunscreen for Running
Running requires specific sweat-resistant sunscreen that doesn’t wear away by sweat. If your skin is sun-sensitive, then you must remember to apply a generous portion of sunscreen to your skin before running. Otherwise, you might just have to deal with some potential blisters. There are some roll-on sticks for sunscreen that you can easily carry with you while running.
If You Are a Night Runner
While running in the dark has some perks, you also have to be cautious. If you like to run at night, then remember to choose some light reflective gear. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be visible from a passing vehicle. You can also put on a fluorescent bib, like crossing guards wear, instead of a high visibility gear.
To sum it up, with the proper and comfortable gear, you can have the best of your running. The trick is to find the right gear and motivation. As we have tried to provide some information for choosing your running gear, the motivation part falls solely to you. If you don’t enjoy running alone, invite some friends to run along and to get a motivational boost.
Running with Weights: Watch Your Fat Burn
For those who are running for weight loss, this one is a real burner.
It is perfectly understandable if your athletic results from running become fickle. It is a peculiar activity in that regard. On the one hand, it is one of many excellent entry-exercises for beginners that have never participated in serious workouts. On the other hand, the more you practice regular jogging, the more you’ll have to make peace with the effect of diminishing returns.
We all know why this occurs: even if you steadily increase the length, speed, and intensity of your regular jogs, you are simply not introducing enough of a ‘shock’ to the system. This results in an athletic plateau, which entails stagnant muscle mass and weight gain.
This is why, as a runner, you constantly have to mix it up, and running with weights around your legs might be just what the doctor ordered.
There are several things you need to know first
Since you are reading these lines, you have probably heard that doing strength exercises as a secondary workout for your runs may be a good way to bolster your muscle development. As a matter of fact, if you lifted weights – or more specifically did squats with weights in your hands and on your shoulders – it is almost a guarantee that you’ll develop your legs drastically.
This further feeds into longer, more intense runs that boost your endurance. It is a wonderful and rewarding feedback loop that many people practice. Now, if you combine this with relaxing, stretching exercises that engage your whole body – for example, Pilates or yoga – then you’re practically hitting the jackpot.
However, humans are nothing if not inventive beings, and we have devised innumerable kinds of weights, some of which are easily attached to your body if that is something that rocks your boat. As it has been mentioned in the introduction, it’s all about shocking your system into strengthening itself.
Most runners practice this by diversifying their runs: running uphill, downhill, over obstacles and unevenly distributing sudden sprints during their run. As an accessory, weights added to the jogger’s outfit are what, for lack of a better phrase, spices things up a bit. Beyond that, running with weights is a well-worn, reliable method to lose more weight by jogging.
Now, how does that work?
As an accessory for jogging, weight can take several forms. Naturally, you will not bring dumbbells on the run even though, theoretically and logically – you could. The point is to free yourself up as seamlessly as possible, while still settling yourself with proper resistance during the run. In that regard, your best bets are ankle weights, hand or wrist weights, and weighted vests.
Wrist weights usually sound like the most non-committal variant of this. As such, it is a good way to ‘test the waters’ of using weights during your runs. 1 lb to 3 lb should be a nice ballpark.
The last thing you need is to add too much weight since it can easily lead to unnecessary inflammation and injury. Heavier hand weights also put needless stress on your shoulders, which can end up with fairly serious sprains.
Clasping hand or wrist weights on your hands will speed up your heart rate by up to 10 beats per minute, and boost your calorie burning by 5% to 15%, depending on the effort.
The rest is mostly up to the form. The more you raise your hands while running the more engaged your hand muscles become. You will not only lose weight but further sculpt your arms. Also, raising your arms higher in front of you, with hand/wrist weights on, contributes to your overall running speed.
Ankle weights are typically designed to be fixed above your ankle or around your Achilles’ tendon. When it comes to running, it is a no-brainer that adding these weights makes your leg muscles work harder.
Overall, they contribute up to a 10% increase in calorie burning when compared to running without weights. Just think about it: you are not only losing weight but also gaining a pair of knock-off legs, and yes this concerns both men and women and everyone else. We all love to see a pair of nice meaty calves and strong thighs, let’s not mince words about it.
Beyond toning and shaping your legs, ankle weights also benefit your abdominal muscles. If you have a type of build that accrues all the unnecessary weight around the waist, this is a godsend for you.
By engaging your abdominal muscles, ankle weights will contribute to faster fat-burning around the waist and sculpting your stomach as well. If this sounds like a win-win scenario, you are absolutely right!
Even if you are not particularly proficient at running, ankle weights might feel like a bit too much, but they are an invaluable asset that will force you to spend more energy, burn more calories and develop strength.
After you’ve completely gotten used to running with ankle weights, just test your newly acquired strength and endurance in the field without donning them. You will literally feel as if you are able to fly.
Weighted vests pretty much work under the same principle as the type mentioned above, with few caveats. At the end of the day, they put direct pressure on your legs, which forces them to develop further and burn calories faster in order to keep you running.
Athletes that are interested in bodyweight exercises, as well as explosive power exercises, will benefit greatly for weighted vests. However, if you personally have never used them before, you should definitely measure your weight before proceeding to purchase one. Don’t commit to vest weights that are greater than 5% of your overall contemporary body weight.
That being said, you should also keep in mind that there are modular variants of weighted vests that allow you a framework for weight expansion, which means that you’ll get more mileage out of them. This, in turn, ensures that your weight will be easily regulated as you grow stronger.
Now, it is true that there are some risks involved in this particular type of weight. Simply speaking, if your posture is not on point, if your back arches too much and you haven’t developed abdominal (but predominantly back) muscles, there is a chance you will hurt yourself.
Weighted vests can lead to chronic pain in the region of your lower back, and it can complicate your postural disorders such as scoliosis and kyphosis.
Additionally, your cardio health also has to be top-notch before you take on the added weight on your back.
In other words, unless you have built your entire body pretty solidly over several years of consistent workout, be careful with weighted vests!
What are the benefits of running with weights?
Naturally, the leading two benefits of running with weights, two perks that go hand in hand almost inseparable, are fat burning and strength building.
Adding these accessories to your jogging attire can lead your body to burn circa 10% more, which is actually a significant percentage when you think about it. If you really put any effort into it, you can ramp up that number to about 15% stronger calorie burn up per session. Over time – let’s say a quarter of a year – this will lead to drastic weight loss.
You should also take into account that you are losing a lot of weight through profuse sweating, and forcing yourself to face difficulties and challenges – i.e. running uphill with weights – is bound to make you sweat buckets!
Finally, we need to discuss the element of endurance, which has been mentioned, but not delved into. Body weights as accessories will practically force your body to ‘get used to them’ over time, and if you start forgetting that they’re even on you during the more intense runs – especially during explosive sprints – it means that your strength and endurance have reached new heights.
The level of your endurance dictates how long you can keep up the pace, which directly ties into your abilities to face new challenges regularly and regulate your weight. The stronger the endurance, the better your prospect becomes to maintain reasonable weight in the foreseeable future.
The thing about muscles is that they will require more energy as your ‘bombard’ them with a steep curve of difficulty. Our bodies generally tend to follow the path of least resistance, so your muscles will leech of ingested carbs instead of using up all the supple, juicy fat that presses against them.
With a few dietary modifications (fewer carbohydrates, more fruits, veggies, and lean protein), you can practically force your muscles to start burning the surrounding fat for energy as you punch through your jog limit with weights around your ankles, your wrists and/or on your back.
In conclusion, your honor!
Sacrifice and consistency are integral to your athletic goals, for sure. However, now you know that they only work to a point. When faced with challenges, perseverance to overcome obstacles won’t be enough, especially as you get further down the line. The longer you run, the harder you’ll progress, and at a certain point, plateaus become inevitable – that is, unless you start thinking outside the box.
At the end of the day, it is all about ‘shocking’ your body into further development. You need to devise inventive methods to challenge your musculature. Muscles have a tendency to ‘get used to’ certain type of exercise and certain progress of sets, which is why mix-ups bode so well for your muscle mass. Adding weights to the equation of running counts as a sure-fire way of jolting your body into further development.