Dos and Don’ts when Running to Burn Fat

running

If you want to burn fat, it doesn’t really matter how far you run but how you run. Learn some basic dos and don’ts…

DOS

high-intensity runs_burn fat
Intensity is more important than distance when running to burn fats.
#1 Do high-intensity runs

Intensity is more important than distance when running to burn fats. Research proves that high-intensity intervals help to burn fat up to 24 hours after you complete your exercise and that high-intensity intervals burn more fat than low-intensity intervals. Just think about it. If moderate runs burn 100 calories including 85 from fat stores, high-intensity runs will burn 500 calories, including 150 from fat stores.

#2 Vary your exercise

When your body adapts to your workout, less fat is burned. You have to keep the body guessing and hinder its ability to adapt to your present fitness level. This may be achieved by alternating high- and low-intensity intervals when running, as well as alternating between running and other exercises such as circuits. A medical study carried out in Canada discovered that people doing cardiovascular exercise for 45 minutes burnt less fat than those who did interval training for 25 minutes.

Run up the hills_burn fat
Running up a hill will burn more fat than running on a flat ground.
#3 Run up the hills

Running up a hill will burn more fat than running on a flat ground. A one degree incline will lead to a 10% increase in calorie burning. When you run uphill, your work harder because you are moving forward and up at the same time. Include hill runs into your training, either on the road or by increasing the incline on the treadmill.

#4 Lift your knees

The more energy you put into your running and the more muscles you use, the more fat you’ll burn. Try running on the spot, lifting your knees to waist level or higher. This won’t only work more leg muscle groups, but your core muscles will also become engaged.

#5 Stay hydrated

Your ability to run can be significantly impacted if you are not properly hydrated. Sweating causes body water and electrolyte loss, so it’s very important to remain hydrated while running long distances or in hot weather. Usually, the objective is to minimize your fluid loss rate to below 2% of your body weight. This can be achieved by drinking water before, during and especially after your workout. Water also helps regulate your metabolism and subsequently optimizes your body’s fat-burning ability.

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DON’TS

Don't drink sugary drinks_burn fat
Don’t drink sugary drinks.
#1 Don’t drink sugary drinks

When your body runs out of carbohydrates as an energy source, it turns to stored fat to fulfill its demands, especially during an intensive exercise. If you are running to burn fat, a low-carb diet will do its job. High carbohydrate meals result in more insulin production, which in turn results in the accumulation of fat. Try to consume only drinks with natural carbohydrate content such as fruit juice and keep away from sugary carbonated drinks.

#2 Don’t push yourself too hard

The maxim of ‘no pain, no gain’ doesn’t apply here. Research has proven that people who do 60 minutes of cardio exercise and take a 20-minute break half way through will burn more fat than those who exercise for an hour without stopping. The theory is that the first 30 minutes mobilize the fat into your blood stream while the second 30 minutes is used to burn it off.

#3 Don’t run only at high intensity

Running at high-intensity does burn more fat, but only in the short-term. The flipside is that it also uses a great amount of energy energy and can prevent consistent running. Consistent runs are best if you want to burn fat, however, running at high intensity only will put you at risk of injury and over-exhaustion.

cereal with skimmed milk_burn fat
For one-hour runs, try eating low-fiber cereal with skimmed milk,
#4 Don’t run on an empty stomach

Our bodies need glucose to burn as fuel to be able to achieve a high-intensity workout that will burn fat. While low-carb advocates may advise ‘fasting runs,’ why decrease your performance when there are pre-run snacks that can increase your fat burning capabilities? For one-hour runs, eat low-fiber cereal with skimmed milk, three crackers with a teaspoon of honey, or six ounces of low-fat yogurt with a peach. For longer workouts, eat one banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a bagel with a tablespoon of jam, or two ounces of pretzels with two tablespoons of hummus.

#5 Don’t rely on running only

The benefits of strength training, when combined with a running routine, can’t be under-estimated. Resistance training for 20 minutes before a cardio exercise will boost your metabolism. Doing it for two to three days a week, along with your running, also increases your chances of avoiding injury.

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Written by Kyra Williams

Kyra Williams likes to say in a joke that she preferred running to walking already as a child. Regular running has always been part of her life and she has joined several running events. She loves long runs with her loyal playful companion Vicky, Brittany Spaniel, in the early morning or in the evening.

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