Health & MedicineLifestyle

From Couch to Confidence: Running Strategies for Weight Loss

Going for a run is an attractive option to start a healthy life, because all you have to do is put on your shoes and go out. Or so it seems. We already told you that it is not for everyone, but, if you want to try it, it is better that you start the race well informed. Losing weight by running is possible, but with your head.

Running training to lose weight

Running to lose fat is recurring because of how economical and apparently simple the activity is. To lose weight running, the first thing is to know that each runner has a profile.

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  • Long training. The idea is to run at a controlled pace for 30 to 45 minutes, which makes this workout useful for half marathon runners. If you are a beginner, you should gradually increase from 20 minutes.
  • Mixing of rhythms. It is about combining races with a certain speed, or in sprints, with sections of controlled pace. An example? Jog for 15 minutes, go up to moderate intensity for 5, jog again for another 10 minutes and go at fast speed for 2.
  • Time control. There are two objectives. On the one hand, it is about adjusting the speed to do 5 km, for example, in 25 minutes. On the other hand, you have to increase it until it lasts 45 minutes.
  • Series. It involves setting a time goal, running at a high intensity during it, and ending with a walk or a light jog.

How long should you run to lose weight?

It is estimated that, in one hour, between 500 and 600 calories are lost. But that only serves as a general reference, because there are many parameters involved. For example, your weight. The bigger you are, the more energy expenditure you will generate when moving.

You would have to apply formulas and tables to know how to promote that caloric deficit that helps you lose weight, relating physical exercise to the food you eat. We explain more about calorie deficit in articles like this one. The point is not only that you ask yourself how much you lose weight by running 30 minutes every day, but that you see it as a part of a larger whole in which other factors intervene.

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It is also quite common for exercise to awaken your appetite.  It doesn’t happen to everyone – there are those who experience the opposite and are less hungry – but it is common that when you go from being sedentary to being more active you have a greater appetite and tend to eat more.

Another common situation, and totally counterproductive, is that the practice of exercise is taken as an  excuse or a mitigating factor to eat larger quantities  or indulge in eating or drinking some other temptation “ because I have already burned calories .”

Nutritionist Encarnación Pérez, based on information from the American College of Sports Medicine, assures that you have to do between 5 and 7 kilometers a day to lose weight. An average amateur runner will take between 40 and 45 minutes to complete that distance. Something more if you include hills and flights of stairs, which is recommended to gain cardiovascular capacity and promote weight loss.

According to Pérez, among the factors of time or distance there does not have to be one that is more relevant. If you run three or four times a week for 30 or 40 minutes it will be enough. Even more important is to design dynamic sessions with varying intensities or terrain irregularities.

Diet to lose weight running

You can apply your own formulas to answer questions like how much do you lose by running 30 minutes every day, which will help you plan. But, if you don’t know what to eat to lose weight, they will be of little use to you. Take note: it is proven that running significantly increases the effectiveness of dietary measures to lose weight.

Therefore, if you want to lose weight effectively, it is a good measure to go for a run, in fact one of the best, but to achieve faster results it is essential that you take care of your diet at the same time.

Nutritionist Sara Jiménez explains that the basis of the diet should be vegetables, and then complemented with foods of animal origin. That is, pieces of fruit, cereals, dairy products, fish and meat. These are better than foods rich in fat, quickly absorbed carbohydrates (like white bread), ultra-processed foods or alcohol.

His diet proposal is more focused on runners with some experience who are preparing for a marathon or half marathon, but it can serve as a reference. An example of a day:

  • Breakfast: oat porridge with milk, pear, hazelnuts and cinnamon.
  • Mid-morning: toasted whole wheat bread with avocado, tomato and soft cheese.
  • Food: vegetable lasagna and a banana.
  • Snack: whole wheat bread with serrano ham, fresh cheese, tomato and arugula, and natural yogurt.
  • Dinner: couscous with spinach, chicken and pumpkin, plus an apple.

Basically, it is about reducing routine calorie intake by eliminating fatty foods, frozen foods, ready-made foods, batters, bread and pastries. And what are we missing? Exactly, reduce the consumption of salt and sugar.

In any case, a weight loss diet can vary greatly depending on objectives, nutritional needs and specific medical circumstances. That’s why you should ask a professional.

Other tips to lose weight running

First thing: don’t be in a hurry. Maybe you have considered running to lose weight, but 1) it is not easy to lose localized fat, because the body works as a whole; and 2) it’s not going to be fast.

Other tips to apply to ensure the achievement of objectives are:

  • Plan your weight loss. Depending on your physical level, your weight and your age. Add difficulty progressively.
  • Vary the training. Even more so if you feel that you have stalled on your goal. Modify your routines, for example by introducing intervals. You will be able to continue losing weight and, at the same time, improve your running performance.
  • Opt for cross training. Not that you vary your running, but that you combine it with other disciplines. You will benefit from the changes because the body will work to readapt, you will eliminate boredom and, if you are a beginner, you will rest muscles and joints.
  • Add bodybuilding sessions. Complement race days with weight work and toning by muscle groups.
  • Take care of yourself. Beyond eating well and exercising, protect yourself from stress, which causes you to gain weight. Consider doing relaxation exercises, such as meditation.

Ultimately, losing weight by running is a matter of planning, both the optimal level of exercise for you and a running diet to lose weight that adapts to your nutritional needs and circumstances. Think carefully about everything you are going to implement so as not to put your health at risk and, if in doubt, consult a professional.

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