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There is a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not running actually helps you lose weight and burn fat. Some people say that running is the best way to achieve your fitness goals, while others claim that it’s not as effective as other forms of exercise. So, Does running burn fat? Keep reading to answer this question.
Running and Burning Fat
In 2015, a prospective study was published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. It examined the effects of running with and without diet changes on the fat mass of 538 new runners. Participants were asked to alter their diets and run more often, while others ran the same distance with no diet changes. Researchers compared fat loss between people who ran more than 3.1 miles per week (5 km) and those who ran shorter distances.
Researchers found that people who ran more than 3 miles per week and followed a targeted diet reduced their fat mass by 12.30 lb (5.58 kg) over the course of a year. The mean difference in weight between those who ran the same distance with and without diet modifications was 8.40 pounds (3.81 kilograms). Novice runners who ran less than 3.11 miles per week and changed their diet saw an average fat loss (7.3 lbs) of 7.55 kg.
This finding concluded that “an average running distance of over 5 km [3.11 mi] per week for runners who started running to lose weight, combined with a targeted diet change, seems to be effective in reducing fat mass in novice runners over a 1-year period.” Fat loss is not limited to distance and diet.
High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, promotes cardiovascular exercise. It uses timed alternating periods of intense and relaxing exercise to increase your heart rate and help you burn more fat. Your goal is to increase your heart rate to over 90% and then to have a longer recovery period. This exercise is excellent for anyone looking to expand their exercise time and challenge themselves.
In 2017, a paper in Sports Medicine examined the effects of high-intensity interval exercise on total, abdominal, and visceral fat. It included 39 studies that involved 617 adults. The study showed that HIIT effectively reduced each type of fat mass, while running was more efficient than cycling in reducing total fat mass.
Training at a high intensity (above 90 phr) was more effective in reducing body fat [amount of fat] than training at lower intensities. However, it had a greater impact on abdominal fat mass and visceral fat mass changes.
Researchers concluded that HIIT was a time-efficient strategy for decreasing fat-mass deposits. This includes visceral and abdominal fat mass. For those who want to run to lose fat, long-distance running, HIIT, and targeted diet changes might be the best options.
If you want to learn more about how to breathe when running properly, read our post: How To Breathe While Running? Top Full Guide 2023
Calories Consumed Versus Expended
It is a good idea to be aware of how many calories you require in the first place since, in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories (units of energy) than you consume.
Calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body would require to function if you were to spend the entire day in bed, will help you achieve this.
After you’ve calculated how many calories you may reasonably ingest each day to produce a calorie imbalance, you should think about the type of jogging you’re doing.
The amount of energy that comes from your fat reserves and the rate at which you burn calories will vary between sessions.
Does Running Burn Fat? How Does It?
To Begin With
All you need to do for the first six weeks is run, advises sports scientist and coach Ian Mellis. When you first start running, exercise floods your body with adrenaline, causing your cells to release fat that is then broken down by running.
This implies that throughout the first 1.5 months, you will burn fat quickly. But this era of prosperity won’t last forever. According to Mellis, “Your body quickly adjusts to this degree of stimuli.”
“Therefore, to continue the fat-burning process after this stage, it’s useful to start doing intervals and tempo runs.”
Slowly and Thoroughly
To start, leisurely, low-intensity runs that last longer than 30 minutes are likely to cause your body to start burning fat reserves for energy instead of carbohydrates.
According to Polar ambassador and personal trainer Nathalie Lennon, it will also depend on how many carbohydrates you consumed in the preceding 12 to 14 hours.
“You should be able to carry on a full conversation during this run.” While in the “fat-burning zone,” jogging at such a low intensity for a prolonged amount of time may result in a lower calorie burn than a shorter, higher-intensity run.
Your body will need fresh stimuli as you get more fit for it to keep evolving into a fat-burning machine. According to Mellis, “intervals push your body to the top of its capabilities and increase the amount of oxygen you require to work out and recover, leading to more calories expended.”
When you’re done with an interval, that’s when they really shine because of how intense they are and how much more oxygen your body requires to recover to its pre-exercise state.
This post-exercise oxygen consumption can increase your calorie burning for up to 48 hours because you burn five calories for every liter of oxygen that you take in.
According to Mellis, beginners should run for one minute at 80% of their maximum effort, followed by 30 seconds of jogging. You’ll breathe in eight liters more oxygen if you do this 20 times than if you ran for the same amount of time at a steady pace.
Lennon believes that combining short, high-intensity runs with longer, more leisurely runs is the greatest approach to burning fat when running.
The secret will be making sure you have adequate downtime in between workouts to recover, as well as paying attention to your diet. No matter how much you run, you won’t lose any weight if you consume more calories than you burn. A terrible diet is something you can’t outrun, as the adage goes. ‘
Use Caution When Running Quickly
When running while fasting, Lennon advocates care. I would only advise performing fasting if it works better for your schedule. Although your body will use fat reserves as fuel more quickly when you run when fasted, you will still burn the same number of calories as you would if you completed the same run later in the day.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how many calories you consumed vs. burned. When exercising while fasting, “remember that your body may also use protein, or your muscle mass, as a fuel source,” advises Lennon.
As well as eating a high-protein breakfast within 30 minutes of finishing a fasting run, it is crucial to have a high-protein supper to conclude the day.
Don’t Worry about The Scales.
Running causes you to burn more calories while simultaneously gaining muscle, which weighs more than the fat you are losing. According to personal trainer Kim Ingleby, it’s surprisingly normal to gain weight when you start running.
This is due in part to the fact that muscle is denser than the fat it replaces as well as the fact that exercise increases your desire for a higher proportion of carbohydrates to protein in your diet.
Keep an eye on how many carbohydrates you consume after a run since, according to Louisiana State University researchers, aerobic exercisers sometimes consume more calories than recommended because they mistakenly think they need to “refuel” after training.
Perform Weight Training
The two main risks of jogging to burn fat are injury risk and muscle mass loss. Strength training should be done in addition to running to minimize muscle loss and lower the chance of injury, advises Lennon.
Strengthening your body will improve your running while lowering your risk of injury.
Simply keep in mind that you want your body to burn off extra fat, not just the sports drink you just downed. Save some sports drinks for longer runs, as they can contain a surprising amount of calories.
According to Drew Price, a sports nutritionist at Harley Street, beginners should train for at least 30 minutes before considering sports drinks and gels.
The Time When You Refuel
The duration of your run will determine how crucial it is to time your post-run meal. For instance, it’s more crucial to eat a recovery snack or meal shortly after a long-distance run if you run for 20 minutes as opposed to two hours (ideally within 30 minutes).
Lennon asserts that a balance of protein and carbohydrates is the ideal fuel source. Both are essential for healing. Try to wait to eat high-fat foods until after your first post-run snack or meal because our body takes longer to digest protein and carbohydrates when it is breaking down fat. So that they can start working to speed up our recovery, we want them to be digested as soon as possible.
Most Popular Workouts To Reduce Fat
Aerobic interval training can be a great way to increase your caloric burn and target stubborn fat.
Aerobic intervals follow the 1-to 2-method. Your recovery cycle lasts twice as long as your work cycle, and the intense phase lasts no longer than 30 seconds.
Here’s a quick example of how aerobic intervals can be used to burn fat quickly:
For 20 seconds, you run at your submaximal sprint speed. Your submaximal Sprint is close to your maximum sprint speed but not quite. This is 85-90%.
For 40 seconds, follow this work cycle with a recovery phase that involves slow walking.
This cycle should be repeated for 20 minutes for 20 total intervals.
Tempo running can help you lose fat. Tempo runs offer many benefits that go beyond burning fat. Tempo runs are designed to increase endurance and provide a standard workout for runners who want to run for more extended periods.
Tempo runs can improve your lactate threshold. This means that you will run faster and expend less energy. It is ideal for runners who want to train for a marathon.
Here’s a simple example of how to do a 30-minute tempo running:
Begin by warming up by running for 10 minutes at a leisurely pace. You can choose to run at a leisurely pace if it feels natural and easy or if you feel like your heartbeat is slightly faster.
Continue your effort with 10 minutes. If you are racing a 5k, this is considered a hard effort. To calculate your pace for running a 5k, multiply the distance you’ve run, and the time it took you to complete it.
Your 30-minute session will be over with 10 minutes of cooling down.
Hill Intervals (Treadmill)
Hill intervals are great for building your glutes or hamstrings. They also help to lose fat. You can do all of this in the comfort of your home with the treadmill.
Surprisingly hill intervals on the treadmill are more beneficial than that outside. Hill intervals will require a recovery time, but outside you can jog back down the hill. This isn’t much of a recovery. Jogging on a flat surface is better than jogging on a treadmill.
Here’s an easy way to do hill intervals at home on your treadmill
- Start your warm-up with 10 minutes of jogging.
- For 90 seconds, set your treadmill at a 4% gradient/incline and run quickly.
- For recovery, return to 0% or a flat surface. Jog for 120 seconds.
- Continue repeating five to ten times.
- Cool down for 10 minutes after your workout.
Is running well for burning fat? As we have already mentioned, running in a steady state can be very beneficial to access those fat stores. You can consider a steady-state 75% of your best running time and should be an integral part of your training, in addition to interval training.
Here are some tips to help you achieve a steady-state run.
No matter if you are doing interval training or a steady-state race, it is vital to have a warm-up period. Before starting your steady-state runs, a warm-up for 10 minutes at a slow pace.
Gradually increase the pace until you reach your steady running pace. A steady-state run should be completed for between 25 and an hour.
End your workout with a 10-minute cooling-off period.
Variable Treadmill Intervals
There are many treadmill intervals, and this routine is great for fat loss. This home workout will help you lose stubborn fat while giving your heart, muscles, and lungs a workout.
Here are some ways to do a variety of intervals on a treadmill.
Warming up before any exercise is essential. The first section of this run is a warm-up. You can start on your own or with others before moving on.
- Keep your treadmill at 0%. Walk for three minutes at 3.5 mph. Pay attention to your posture as you walk.
- Keep the incline at zero, and increase your speed to 4 mph. Jog for 2 minutes.
- Increase your incline by 4%, reduce your speed to 3.0 mph, and slow down to a steady walk for 3 minutes.
- Keep your speed at 3.5 miles per hour, and increase your incline to 6.6%. Continue this process for 3 minutes.
- Jog for 2 minutes at a speed of 4.5 mph.
- To cool down, bring your treadmill to a level of 0%.
- You can also opt for a 10-minute cool-down.
Fresh Diet For Reducing Fat
It is essential to eat a healthy diet to keep your fat under control and reduce what you have.
These healthy, nutritious foods will give you many health benefits and help to reduce your fat. Medical News Today has a list of foods to avoid when losing weight.
Monounsaturated fats found in almonds help reduce fat. They are also rich in vegetable protein and fiber, which helps to keep you fuller for more extended periods and curb unhealthy cravings.
Monounsaturated fats found in avocados can help reduce the fat around your midsection. Monounsaturated fats help regulate blood sugar and decrease the need for fat storage.
Oatmeal is high in fiber which keeps your body’s insulin levels down. Oatmeal helps you feel fuller for longer and decreases unhealthy cravings.
Bananas contain potassium. Each serving provides your body with 422 mg. Potassium can reduce your belly bloat by fighting sodium.
Green tea can increase metabolism and help reduce belly fat.
Yogurt is a popular choice for losing belly fat. Yogurt’s probiotics balance your gut bacteria. What is the result? A healthier digestive system, less gas, bloating, and constipation.
The phytonutrients found in Cruciferous Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower have been shown to reduce belly fat.
Benefits of Running & Losing Fat
There are many positive aspects to running. Running can completely change your life. Although, no one is going to say “no” to that.
Like any other exercise, running boosts your body’s natural supply of serotonin, which immediately improves your mood. Setting goals you can achieve (and proving to yourself how amazing you are) is a great way to improve your mental health.
If you have asked yourself, “does running lose fat (especially belly fat)?” then you should ask what else it is doing to your body.
- Running has many incredible benefits for your health.
- Improve your immune system
- Strengthening your lungs
- High blood pressure can be reduced.
- An increase in bone density
- Stability and joint strength are increased.
Your self-confidence will be boosted. A big confidence booster is losing belly fat, primarily if you’ve worked hard to achieve it. A healthy body equals a healthy mind. Feeling confident enough to sport your new swimsuit is a great way to boost both.
Do 30 minutes of daily running count toward weight loss?
Does running help lose belly fat? Without a doubt. Individuals lost significantly more weight than those who only lifted weights and equal to those who only engaged in aerobic exercise for a combined total of 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
How long does it take to burn off abdominal fat through exercise?
The same runner will burn more than 500 calories if the run is extended to 30 minutes. However, doing long runs by themselves won’t help you lose belly fat. To address those issues, you must also alter your food and lifestyle.
Will you lose weight with three weekly runs?
Last but not least, a study of 45 healthy but inactive women discovered that high-intensity interval training performed three times per week dramatically reduced body fat and belly fat compared to exercising at a constant pace or doing nothing at all.
Can running burn belly fat?
Running does burn belly fat— if that’s where your body chooses. Everyone is genetically predisposed to keep fat in certain areas, even if they exercise and eat well. You may never lose fat in one area of your body.
Running is a great way to lose weight and reduce belly fat. However, it is important to pair running with a healthy diet and strength training program to see the best results. If you are new to running, be sure to start slowly and gradually increase your speed and distance. Our blog post has provided some useful information to help you estimate about the question does running really burn fat? If you have any questions or ideas about this post, feel free to leave a comment or visit BSXInsight for more information.