Congratulations on making the decision to become part of a wonderful community who all share the same goal to improve their fitness by embracing the challenge of running. No matter what your running background, this activity is an excellent addition to implement in your weight loss plan. Running is a great way to lose weight, but there are many other components that are essential to reach your goal weight, and the ability to maintain it. Eating greens, fruits, lean protein, and avoiding processed or sugar-packed foods contributes to dropping some weight. But most importantly, eating fewer calories than your body burns during a day will keep you on track for your ideal weight loss.
A good place to begin is to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, BMR, which determines the amount of calories the body naturally burns when an individual does not exert any energy. For example, the BMR for a 25 year old female, height 5’6”, and weight 140, is about 1,450 calories. Therefore, getting dressed in the morning, taking the stairs instead of using the elevator, and engaging in your daily cardiovascular workout are all activities that contribute to increasing the body’s ability to burn more calories. The 25-year-old female’s weight is within the healthy range for her height and age; therefore, she most likely consumes more than 1,450 calories and probably the number is closer to 1,800 calories in a day to maintain her weight. And now the big question, how many more calories can you add onto your BMR caloric amount and still lose weight? The simple answer, as previously stated, is to eat less calories than your body burns, so your body can begin eliminating unneeded fat that the body is currently storing.
There are many great online sources to determine how many calories a person eats and burns in a day, but a easy way to avoid eating excessively is to only eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full. However, those two methods can be very difficult to embrace when you are encouraged to eat energy gels or protein bars during or after you exercise. If you are exercising less than 2 hours, then your body probably only needs water and some sort of low sugar sports drink to replace some electrolytes. Anything more will just add on the calories, which unfortunately counteracts the whole purpose of exercising. So the next time you are about to buy “energy” products save your self some money, and unwanted calories, by filling up a bottle of water instead.
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist in Houston, TX. He is dedicated to educating runners and triathletes about the health and safety of their feet. For more information about foot health in sports, including informative videos, visit his website.