Tackling fat loss can seem like a big challenge, but it can be as simple as heading out for a simple run. We’ve put together an easy-to-follow four-week running challenge that is customizable to any runner at any level.
So what makes running such a good fat burner? Well, fat burning is defined as our body’s way of oxidizing fat and using it as fuel. When you start running, adrenaline is released into the bloodstream. This stimulates the release of fat from the cells, which is then broken down to be used as fuel. There is a long list of fat burning exercises that you can do, such as running, swimming, rowing, cycling, and jogging. What makes running the best workout for fat loss is the convenience and accessibility that come with it. Unlike swimming and cycling, running does not require any particular facility or equipment. All you need is a good pair of running shoes!
How Many Calories Do We Burn When We Run?
Three significant factors influence the number of calories your body will burn: your body weight, the distance covered during your run, and your running speed. These factors don’t necessarily mean that you have to run a five-minute mile in order to burn fat, however. Running at a slower pace for a long time can burn just as many calories as running fast for a shorter period.
The more you weigh, however, the more effort required by your body to move, and therefore the more calories your body will burn. Below are a few estimates of how many calories are burned during a 30-minute run based on three different body weights.
Calories Burned Per 30 Minutes of Running
- A person who weighs 160 pounds running for 30 minutes at 5 mph will burn 291 calories.
- A person who weighs 200 pounds running for 30 minutes at 5 mph will burn 364 calories.
- A person who weighs 240 pounds running for 30 minutes at 5 mph will burn 436 calories.
How Much Running Will Expedite Weight loss?
Since you know the caloric amount that your body will burn while running, the next thing to know is how long you should run to meet your weight loss goals.
Let’s start with the basics. One pound of body fat holds around 3,500 calories. So losing a pound of fat requires burning off 3,500 calories above your caloric intake. But before you hop on that treadmill and hope to burn off five pounds before that wedding next weekend, you might want to adjust your goals. A safe and practical weight loss goal is usually around losing 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week. Losing a pound each week may seem slow, but you will appreciate it in the long-run. It would mean that you lose about 52 pounds each year!
So let’s say you weigh 160 pounds and want to lose about 1 pound per week, how much would you need to run? Well, if 30-Minute increments of running burn 291 calories, then you would need to run for six hours per week in order to burn 1 pound. This means that for one hour, 6 out of seven days per week with one rest should get your well on your way to waving goodbye to one pound of fat. You can also lose weight at a faster rate if your run is faster than the 11-minute mile pace the above equation is based on. Long story short: no pain, no gain!
Fat Burning 4 Week Running Challenge
Below is a 4-week program that challenges your body encourages fat loss. Even better, each workout is less than one hour long. While doing the challenge, make sure to listen to your body and take a rest if you need it.
How To Boost Fat Burning While Running
Like any workout, your body can hit a plateau after doing it for a while. So as you become fitter and leaner, you have to find ways to mix things up and stay motivated in order to continue the fat-burning process. To keep the pace going (pun intended), here are some tips to follow so you can keep using running to burn fat.
Try Running On Empty
It’s surprising to know that you burn more fat when you run on an empty stomach. So ditch that toast or morning smoothie until you’re done with your morning run. However, keep in mind that this does not work with long-distance runs. You will need to replenish midway, so be sure to bring your water bottle if you plan to do a 90-minute run. Also, check with your doctor and make sure there isn’t any reason you shouldn’t skip breakfast before running.
Catch Up On Some Sleep
Sleeping is very underrated but also essential. Studies have shown that people who get 8 hours of sleep a day and reduce their stress levels are more likely to lose weight. This is because when you have a lack of sleep, your decision making can be affected. As a result of a lack of sleep, your brain’s reward centers can be heightened. This can lead to you wanting to indulge in something rich in calories to satisfy the signals received from your brain’s reward centers. It acts in a similar way to being drunk in the sense that your inhibitions have been lowered.
A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who have less sleep show an increase in late-night snacking. Lastly, another study showed that more muscle mass is lost on sleep-deprived people compared to the participants who had a sufficient sleep.