During your run you can be assured that you are doing the absolute best for your body that you can to lose weight but what about afterwards? Many people think that going for a run earns them the reward of a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps but eating this type of food will not help with weight loss despite the running. Working with your body not against it my top 5 tips will help you lose weight whilst you get fitter.
Do you find that you get really hungry and because you have been for a run, reward yourself with something naughty? You know the scene, you come back all hot and sweaty, jump in the shower and 30 minutes later are all buff and relaxed. Then the hunger kicks in but you don’t fancy an apple, you fancy a biscuit or a cake or a bag of crisps.
Don’t worry, this is totally natural and is your body’s way of telling you that it has burnt more calories than normal and needs refueling. The longer/harder the run the more hungry you will become. The trick is not to try to cheat nature by ignoring the hunger and then end up overeating 2 hours later because you are ravenous. Work with your body not against it – here’s my top 5 tips for running for weight loss…
- Make sure you start your run fully fueled and hydrated. The best pre-run food for me is porridge or muesli but everyone is different and people run at different times of the day and night – so experiment with what works for you. Most people find that a good sized meal will take 2 – 3 hours to digest before you can run. You should be drinking enough fluid so that your urine runs clear before you head out of the door. Stay off the caffeinated drinks before a run such as coffee, tea and cola. Drink water, fruit juices or herbal/fruit teas.
- If you will be running for more than an hour take some carbohydrate out with you. This can be a banana, some fruit chews or a sports carbohydrate drink. Again, experiment with what works for you. If you choose anything other than the sports drink, you will need to also take out some water to stay hydrated.
- When you get back from your run have something to eat within 15 minutes. I prefer a banana when I’ve finished running but any wholegrain carbohydrate will do the trick – perhaps you prefer an oatcake, a bowl of cereal or a slice of wholegrain toast with jam on. Eating within 15 minutes of your run takes advantage of the increased enzyme sensitivity in your body to absorb carbohydrates and refuel your muscles ready for next time.
- Within 2 hours of finishing your run eat a normal meal containing a variety of complex carbohydrates and protein. So a turkey sandwich, chicken curry or salmon and vegetables would do the trick.
- Stay off the chocolate, crisps etc. It is really easy to reward yourself with these foods but you could (and often will) eat more calories than you burnt during the run itself.
Finally, people run for different reasons but running should not be just for weight loss. You may find that you do not lose weight but that your clothes fit better – this will be because you are toning up and losing fat but gaining muscle. Muscle uses much more calories at rest that fat does and therefore increases the amount of calories burnt during the day and night. Don’t get too caught up on the scales, go by how you feel – you should start to feel more relaxed, have more energy and have a runner’s ‘high’ after your runs.