Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to train numerous runners---From those looking to qualify for Boston to those looking to complete their first 5k. I have to say as much as I like hearing about PR’s (Personal Records) and fast times…the thing that I really love is hearing about their transformations. There is no greater feeling than being able to take part in helping someone lose weight, get healthier overall, be able to keep up with their kids and live a better life simply because they made the decision to train for a race.
Some may call it selfish, but for a personal trainer like myself –I just can’t get enough. About 80% of runners who start training for a race do it primarily for the weight loss. I would say that number is pretty accurate with my athletes as well. I love the fact that they took the initative to lose the weight and I love educating them in the supplemental workouts needed to speed up weight loss without losing lean muscles.
So for those of you outthere looking to drop a few unwanted and unnecessary lb’s, remember these 5 Key Points:
1. CHANGE YOUR PACE
The truth is: Your body works to adapt when there is a change in environment. If its cold, you body shivers in order to produce heat, if its hot you sweat, if you start exercising your body will start looking for ways to adapt. Hence why you see people training for marathons. You can’t possibly run 26.2 miles unless you train your body to adapt for that. Initially when you begin training, going 2-3 miles may be a challenge, but over time your body gets used to the pounding, change of heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc. The problem with that when it comes to weight loss your body also adapts in burning fuel (calories). Think back from the time you restarted training after a long time off. A few minutes of running and you may have found yourself breathless and your body working really hard to get going. That’s because its lost its adaptability to running---but its burning far more calories to get it going again.
Wait, so you’re telling me to stop training, then restart after some time off in order to lose weight?
Not at all! A simple thing you can add to your regimen is training at different paces. Rather than just going out for every run at the same pace, try to change it up a bit. Throw a 1 minute pickup (speed up the pace) at every 5 minute mark.
Here are some other running workouts to help with your weight loss as a runner:
2. LIMIT JUNK NEARBY
Notice I wrote ‘Limit’ and not ‘Remove.’ I think one of the benefits of runners is that we are burning far more calories than the average person and there is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite treat every once in a while. Try to do it on your long run days if possible.
Best way to start eating healthier is to get rid of junk inside your house. You’re not doing your family and yourself any favors by “hiding” them within reach. If you crave something sweet, make yourself get out of the house to fetch some. 8 out of 10 times you’ll chose to stay home…and there you have an automatic 80% improvement in your eating habits.
The human body is amazing and will always strive to be slim, healthy and happy - That is out birthright. So when things are not this way something has come into play deregulate these mechanisms, we cannot know for sure what these are but we have a pretty good idea of some of the potential causes:
• Dieting (Famine Response)
• Fructose Overload
• Toxic Fats
• Over Exercising or Sedentary Behavior
• Excessive Refinement/Processing of Food
• Artificial Sweeteners
• Lack of Nutrients
Be aware of all those things and start with small changes in your habits. For example, if you just LOVE sugar (like me) set up a different reward system for when the cravings come along. Have fruits nearby and reach for that instead. Believe it or not, the sugars from the fruits (far healthier) will alleviate the craving symptoms.
3. BE YOUR OWN EXPERT
Take notice on how YOUR body works. Just because a certain diet or way of eating works for your friend, doesn't mean it will work for you. Take notes on the days you feel more bloated. Could it have been the extra wine and extra refined carbs you had the day before? Also take notes on the days you feel and look great. Always remember, there is a big fluctuation in water weight, especially for women during certain times of the menstrual cycle.
On the physical aspect, take the appropriate days off if something doesn't feel right..and YES..even if the schedule shows it’s a long run day! There are certain aches and pains that you can run through it, but others such as joint pains, sharp foot pain, a twisted ankle should have the appropriate recovery. After all, you don’t want to make those things worse requiring you to take months off causing your to become sedentary (and possibly gain weight!)
4. MOVE IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS
The body has 3 major planar of motion; Sagittal, Frontal and Transverse planes. Running only happens along the Frontal Plane…and remember, the body adapts! You don’t want that if you’re trying to lose weight. Another bonus is that by doing activities in different planars, you’re able to keep joints such as hips, knees and ankles strong, in order to run even more efficiently. Add cross training that requires you to move along different planar: rollerblading, swimming, volleyball, and ofcourse weight training. (Squats, lunges, step ups, pushups, lateral squat)
Speaking of weights…
5. ADD WEIGHTS
Last, but certainly not least—and in my opinion the most important —is strength training for runners. It strengthens major and minor muscles that support the big running joints (hips, knees and ankles). Strength training is the number one way to prevent injuries for runners and guess what? Its also the most effective thing when it comes to losing weight as a runner.
When I train my runners, I prefer to train them in a circuit type setting. I combine a blend of strength, core and plyometric exercises. All 3 help my runners activate different energy systems and the constant movement from station to station prevents the body from hitting a plateau and adapting during the workout. All exercises also include moving in various planes of motion. In addition, every pound of lean muscle you have helps to burn 5x more calories than 1 pound of fat….and that’s simply at rest! If you don't have access to a gym, try some body weight routines-- They work fantastic when done right!
Here’s a sample of a body weight workout:
Try to do 3 sets of the following body weight exercises lowering the amount of reps each round: 12, 10, 8 reps
My goal is for you to get faster, lose weight, avoid injuries and ultimately enjoy your running lifestyle even more. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment below.
If you want to train with me (online) for 6 weeks, don't forget to check out the K-Fit 6 Program. It's a guided 6 week weight loss and tone up program specifically made for runners. We'll have daily and weekly goals, a secret Facebook group page for mega accountability, nutrition guide, daily workouts, video demo of weekly strength workouts and more! Click the link for more info:
Also, there’s lots of running related workouts, tips and motivation that happens everyday on my Facebook page. Be sure to follow it: ‘Kendrick Fitness’
Thank you! We'll be emailing you shortly =)
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