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Can Running Help You Lose Weight?

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Running workouts are a great way to lose weight, and they're excellent for toning your body. Since running is a full body workout it uses all of your muscles across your body, not just your leg muscles.

This article will explain the benefits of using running to lose weight and provide you with some of the best running workouts to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Heavy set runner

Why is Running Good for Weight Loss?

If you're looking to drop a few pounds, then you'll be happy to know that running is one of the most effective workouts available. And the good news, you don't need to buy expensive equipment or a gym membership!

Besides a good pair of running shoes, there aren't a lot of "must haves" when it comes to your gear. Although, there are things you may want to purchase to make your runs more enjoyable.

Not to mention, you'll be able to lose weight regardless of your pace. Even if you're just starting out and need to walk every few minutes, you'll still see big benefits in terms of weight loss and fitness.

One of the main benefits of running for weight loss is how your body responds after your run. Your body will continue to burn calories after your run, which will help you lose body fat. This is called afterburn.

The Afterburn Effect

Afterburn, technically known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is the energy your body burns after your exercise is finished.

Once you've finished your workout, your body is busy with recovery. It uses calories and oxygen to remove lactic acid, replenish your levels of creatine, ATP (adenosine triphosphate, and oxygen), as well as repair your muscles.

The afterburn effect takes place during the recovery period.

Studies have shown that the afterburn effect can last for up to 72 hours, which means that after a running workout your body could be burning additional calories for up to 3 days!

More Calories Burned

Running is considered a full body workout because you have a lot of different muscles working hard to move your body forward. And different types of workouts will burn more calories.

For example, a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout will give you the most calories burned per minute. This is because your muscles will be working at their maximum level.

Research shows that running on the treadmill for 1 mile will burn 33 more calories than walking.

Thirty-three calories more per mile may not sound like much, but it adds up quickly. If you're logging 30-miles a week, you've burned nearly 1,000 more calories than walking!

Reduced Appetite 

Trying to lose weight by reducing calories can often leave you feeling hungrier then when you started, but research is beginning to show that running may reduce your appetite.

One theory is that the hunger hormone ghrelin is suppressed, and the satiety hormone peptide YY (PYY) is increased after running. The result is you are left less interested in eating. 

Targets Belly Fat

Belly fat is arguably the most harmful fat on your body, it's also very stubborn and difficult to remove.

Study's have shown that an aerobic workout at a moderate-to-high intensity will reduce belly fat even if no changes are made to the diet. 

Running is a great way to get a moderate-to-high aerobic workout.


Many people think of running as boring and repetitive, but there are many different types of running workouts that you can use to focus your training goals and keep your workouts from becoming boring.

Types of Running Workouts

Whether you're training for a race or simply want to mix up your workouts, there are no shortage of running workouts available.

Each type of workout has its benefits and purpose. Mixing them up will help keep you from getting bored, and gain the benefits from each.

Here are a few of the most popular running workouts:

Base Runs - These runs are typically around 6 miles and done at your normal pace. 

Long Runs - The goal of the long run is to help improve your endurance and fitness. Long runs are done at your normal pace, but are longer in distance than a base run, typically in the 10 to 12 mile range.

Interval Runs - The goal of interval runs is to improve your speed and power. These are short and intense runs which are repeated multiple times. After each run, you'll take a short jogging break before completing the next interval run. 

Hill Repeats - The goal with hill repeats is to improve your stamina as well as your speed and power. They are basically doing interval runs uphill.

Recovery Runs - Recovery runs are meant to help your body recover. Whether you've had a hard workout the day before, or you've finished interval runs and want to add some distance by doing a slow run, a recovery run is at a slow and steady pace.

Progressive Runs - The goal of progressive run is to build speed and endurance, while reducing fatigue. You'll start off at a slower pace and finish the last part of the workout at a fast pace. 

What You Eat

Your diet is a really important factor in your weight loss journey because there needs to be a balance between what you're eating and the exercise you do.

Learning about nutrition will help you understand how much you should be eating in order to have enough fuel in your body to fuel your run.

But it can be a balancing act, because you need to be careful that you're not over fueling yourself either. Eating too much could lead to weight gain.


It's all about balancing your calories between how much you're working out and consuming. 

Eating more calories than you're burning causes you to gain weight. 

Regardless of how much exercise you do, a poor diet will take its toll. 

Good dietary habits will not only help you lose weight, they'll also impact your longevity and long-term health.

Focus first on replacing low quality foods with high quality foods. In most cases, you'll be able to eat more while providing quality fuel to your body.

Tips for Weight Loss When Running

  • Improve the quality of your food. High quality foods typically have less calories and more nutrition. Plus, they'll leave you feeling fuller.
  • Try to avoid fried, processed and sugary foods.
  • Eat fiber rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, poultry and fish.
  • Stay Hydrated. Drink lot's of water.

Watch the Video

Weight Loss Workout Tips

Whether you're a beginner or you've been running for awhile, consistency is an important part of your routine.

A good place to start is 3-workouts a week, with a recovery day in between. You can always add a weight training workout or do something different on your recovery day, but spacing your running days out throughout the week is always preferred.

The other thing to consider is the length of time you'll be running. When you're carrying a few extra pounds, you'll be placing additional stress on your joints, muscles and ligaments.

Don't start with a crazy workout. Start with something that will challenge you, but is doable.

Also, doing a run/walk is a great way to help your body build up strength and endurance.

You'll be able to increase the amount of time you run as you get stronger, and eventually you won't need to take walk breaks at all.

Advancing Your Workout

As you progress you'll not only get more comfortable with running, but you'll also have dropped a few pounds. At this point you'll need to decide how you want to move forward.

There are two options: You can either increase the length of your run or increase the intensity.

Increase Length - If you're running 30 minutes, then you may want to increase your runs to 40 minute sessions. Then after you're comfortable running for 40 minutes, add one long run (60 minutes) a week, while keeping your other runs at the 40 minute mark.

Increase Intensity - An effective method of increasing your intensity is to pick one run a week where you build in intervals. The interval training will increase your heart rate. Be sure to take a recovery day after an intense work out in order to allow your body to repair, as well as take advantage of the afterburn effect.

Women runners doing hill training

Best Running Workouts for Weight Loss

Here are a few effective running workouts to lose weight:

Interval Training

When it comes to burning calories quickly, interval training is a great choice. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) consists of 10 to 60 seconds of intense running, followed by an active recovery session of the same length. Repeat the intense run and recovery 3 to 10 times.

For example, take a high intensity run for 30 seconds, then walk or jog for 30 seconds, then a high intensity run for 30 seconds. Continue until you complete the number of intervals you set out to do. 

Interval training is a good way to get results in a short period of time. Most HIIT workouts will range between 10 to 30 minutes.

Here are a few of the main benefits of HIIT workouts:

  1. You can burn as many as 30% more calories than other exercises in the same amount of time.
  2. Oxygen consumption is improved (your muscles' ability to use oxygen).
  3. You'll burn more calories after your workout.
  4. Some people gain muscle doing HIIT workouts (but that doesn't mean you should skip your weight training).
  5. Can reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
  6. Very effective for fat loss.
  7. Can reduce blood sugar.
  8. Improves both aerobic and anaerobic performance.

Weighted Vests

As you lose weight, you'll burn fewer calories. Not only because you'll be carrying less weight on your body, but also because your body is more efficient at running.

Many people enjoy using a weight vest to help them bump up their calorie burn.

Weighted vests will not only help you lose calories because you'll need to work harder with the extra weight, but they'll also help you improve your performance.

Your body will get used to training with the heavier weight, and when you workout or compete without the weight, you'll feel stronger.

However, make sure you're adding the correct amount of weight for your body. Adding too much weight can overload your body and put a strain on your knees and back.

RUNmax 12lb-140lb Weighted Vest (Without Shoulder Pads, 40lb), Black
  • WEIGHTS COME INCLUDED - Weights can be added or removed at any time for any workouts
  • Vest FEATURES - Phone Pocket and Water Bottle Holder included for your convenience. s can be removed in all models
  • DURABILITY- LIFETIME INCLUDED. We stand behind our products so you can workout worry free.
  • SHOULDER PADS OPTION: The option to add extra shoulder comfort if needed.
  • EQUAL WEIGHT DISTRUBUTION- With pockets located front and back of the vest, this vest will give you maximum comfort during all workouts without straining your back or shoulders.

Hill Work

Hill work is one of the most intense running workouts you can do.

Doing hill runs is really pushing your body to the limit. You'll be using all of your muscles to get up the hill, which increases the intensity and difficult of your run.

A good starting place is to do a fast paced run for 20 seconds up the hill, then jog back down and repeat.

It's important to warm up before your workout, and properly cool down and stretch after your hill intervals.


A Tabata workout helps build muscle and decrease body fat. It can also be extremely challenging since you'll be mixing in exercises between high intensity runs.

A good example of a Tabata workout is to do a 20 second high intensity run, a 10 second walk, and then 20 seconds of burpees or squats, followed by a 10 second walk. And repeat.

Although Tabata is very effective when it comes to weight loss, you do want to be careful that your stamina and endurance levels are ready.

Stair Work

Stair work is a great way to burn calories and reduce fat. 

An example of a stair workout would be to do a fast paced 20 second run up the stairs, then do a fast walk or slow jog to recover. Your workout should be 10 to 15 minutes.

Slow Run

HIIT workouts and fast paced runs are effective at burning fat and calories, but don't forget to add a slow run to your weekly training schedule.

Slow runs increase endurance and help improve your high intensity workouts. They also help strengthen ligaments as well as heart rate capacity.

Doing a 50 minute long run once a week will not only allow you to take advantage of the physical benefits, but will also be a mental relaxation you'll find yourself looking forward to all week.


  • Running is definitely a great way to lose weight and burn calories. 
  • The most effective way to lose weight is by regularly doing high intensity running which can include extra weights, higher inclines, intervals, or added exercises.
  • You don't need to run for long periods of time to achieve progress.
  • Make sure you're prepared and have trained your muscles.
  • Always keep well hydrated with a good diet when training.
  • Be careful not to push yourself too fast too early, especially if you're a beginner. Give yourself a chance to get used to running before your start high intensity workouts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Running the Best Way to Lose Weight?

Running is an excellent exercise to lose weight. It burns more calories than the majority of exercises and there's a wide range of effective training sessions you can do to maximize your calorie burn.

Can I Lose Weight By Running 30 Minutes a Day?

Yes! Weight loss requires you burn more calories than you consume. Running 30 minutes a day will increase your calorie burn, and maintaining a healthy diet with reasonable proportions should set you on the road to weight loss.

Can I Lose Belly Fat by Running?

Running is one of the best exercises to lose belly fat. Study's have shown that running at a moderate-to-high intensity level will actually target belly fat.

In fact, you could see results without even making any changes to your diet!

What Type of Running Burns the Most Fat?

Interval training (HIIT) is the most effective way to burn fat quickly. Not only will your workouts be shorter, but you'll also burn more calories after your workout.

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