Maybe you’ve just signed up for your first 10km, or you’re trying to qualify for Boston. You’re sure that all this additional cardio will cause you to drop a few pounds and you’ll be running your best in no time. Not so fast. It can be a bit of a rude awakening if you realize that you’re not losing any weight, or even putting on few extra lbs. So why does this happen?
Let me first say that I am far more concerned with what my body can do than how it looks. But, when you want to run well, it does hinder performance when you have to carry excess weight - so there is strategic benefit to being leaner.
If you ask any trainer how to lose weight, nearly every single one of them will say focus on H.I.I.T and lifting heavy weights.
Running certainly burns through a lot of calories while you’re doing it, but it doesn’t keep your metabolic rate up afterwards as much as heavy lifting or H.I.I.T. In addition to that, distance running can leave you feeling starving that night or the next day. Because of this, you’ll probably consume more calories on your actual WO day, and burn less the following day.
It is possible to lose weight when training for a marathon without compromising your recovery and strength, but it’s not easy. This fall, I had to drop 12 lbs for a fight, at the same time that I was training for a 100 mile run. In order to make weight for the fight I had to lose 1 lb a week, and of course I was running long distances to train for the race. I’m not one for unhealthy diet tricks or skimping on recovery, so during this process I dialled in on a few healthy ways to keep both goals on track.
Here are my top 8 tips to help cut the pounds.
1. No booze
Yup, this one sucks, I know. Aside from the excess calories, booze will hinder your weight loss by messing with how you metabolize nutrients. Once you consume even a single drink, your body stops burning any other fuel (carbs, fat, or protein) in your system until it’s finished with the alcohol.
2. Do a few of your workouts fasted
One or two workouts a week fasted will bump fat loss for the day. When you work out fasted, you are using fat stores for energy instead of the immediate supply of glucose from your meal.
3. Get cold
The main point here is that your body burns extra calories while trying to keep warm. On a more detailed level, when your body is cold it activates brown fat, which burns through calories trying to acclimatize to the temperature. Never heard of brown fat? Get a deeper look here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699856/.
4. On race day or long run day you must EAT
Fuel during the race, fuel after, just eat. You know you need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight, but this doesn’t need to be every day. If you’re overall consumption for the week is lower than what you put out, you’re still in a deficit. Fuel during races, demanding long runs, or any excessive training days. Trust me on this one, if you skimp on big days, you’ll end up too far in a hole and it may lead to a binge later in the week. Fuel your body! Remember, performance is your first goal.
5. Track your macros
You need to be 100% aware of what is in your body. Make sure your protein is up, your fats are within reason, and your carbs are timed around your workouts. I can almost eyeball a meal and get within 5 grams of my macros at this point, and I still lack protein when I’m not focused. Track for a few weeks, make sure you’re hitting your protein goals and are dialled in on what you’re consuming. It’s also really easy to overestimate intake of peanut butter and other high density foods. While they are healthy and beneficial, a serving size is actually only 15grams, which is far less than the standard kitchen spoon.
** need help setting up your macro goals? Email me and we will get you sorted
6. Mix in a strength training day
Strength training is key for weight loss. Lifting will ramp up your metabolic rate throughout the day. Multi joint movements and high tempo lifting will double as a cardio workout at the same time as creating more lean muscle mass. They won’t leave you as hungry at the end of the day, plus you’ll burn more calories when sitting later. It’s a double whammy.
7. Yerba Mate tea
All the energy of coffee but rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. According to https://bebrainfit.com it may help burn fat by by ‘reducing appetite, increasing energy expenditure, improving insulin sensitivity, and burning stored fat.’ https://bebrainfit.com/yerba-mate-benefits/. Whenever I’m cutting weight, I consume only one cup of coffee and stick to Yerbe Mate tea for the rest of the day.
8. Consider the smashed phone rule
If you dropped your phone and it got a tiny crack, would you decide, ‘ah well it’s already broken I might as well run it over?’ Probably not. Apply the same principal to your nutrition. If you eat a cookie or have a drink, just return to your plan, you have not completely broken yourself with that one slip!
Just remember that if your goal is performance, you need to fuel your body first and foremost. Try these tips, but be sure to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs!