Why running is the best way to lose weight fast

The best way to lose weight fast? Running!

In a world of instant gratification we all want results fast. As the famous prayer goes ‘Lord give me patience, but I want it NOW!’. Some things, however, are going to take more than a minute or two. After all, how long did it take to put on all those extra pounds anyway? The best way to lose weight fast may not be instant, but it’s faster and more long lasting than dieting, and the answer is running.

The human body is a wonderful thing – it can adapt to almost any environment with a bit of effort. Food shortages? Humans can last for months on what most westerners would consider to be a fraction of their normal intake. Conversely, it’s possible to consume a vast amount more food than you need without putting on very much extra weight. The problem comes if you do that for too long. Then you tend to overwhelm the body’s defences, teach it to ignore the basic ‘I am full’ signals and start heaping on the pounds.

The good news is that, whatever you have done to yourself to get where you are, you still have a highly adaptable body. You may have trained it to eat too much and do too little exercise, but you can just as easily train it to get back to a normal way of living. The only thing that is required is action. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing in the past, you’ll certainly get the same results. If you want different results, you are going to have to do something new. It will take an effort to get out of the habits which have landed you where you are now, but once you’ve retrained yourself it will be easy.

Why is running the best exercise for weight loss?

So why is running so good for you? Firstly it is a weight bearing exercise. This means that you are using your leg muscles to support your body and do work even when you are running down hill.

Next, the key to weight loss is to burn calories. The more the better. Don’t be seduced by the nonsense about burning fat calories by doing low intensity exercise. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from during the exercise. The more you burn the better. And if they come from your short term stores (i.e. not fat), guess what? Your highly adaptable body will, over the next day or two, make the required changes, and use some fat to replenish the short term storage.

The more intense the exercise, the more calories you burn. Not just because of the amount of work you do at the time. But also because of the afterburn of calories which takes place in the hours after exercise. It has been found that this afterburn can be 30% or more of the number burned during the exercise itself, depending on the intensity of the exercise. The more intense, the more the afterburn, and the more total calories used up from one exercise session.

Obviously it is not sensible to start out going hell for leather the first time you put on your running shoes. That way you’ll either pull an underdeveloped muscle or have a heart attack. Start with what you can do (walking, gentle jogging, whatever) and build up. The main thing is to build up with the aspiration to being able to do a really intense workout. Depending on where you start from, it may take some months to get there. But steady improvement works. Don’t start with the aspiration of just being able to jog slowly. If you do, you’ll probably get bored and you certainly won’t achieve the weight loss that you were aiming for. Set your targets high, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. Just start gently, build up steadily and you will burn that extra fat and get a few muscles as an added bonus.

The three keys to sustainable, long term weight loss

This is not just a theory. Surveys of the most successful weight losers – those who lost a lot of weight, and then kept it off for at least 5 years – show that nearly all of them combine three important behaviours:

  • They all took up vigorous exercise on a regular basis i.e. more than 3 times per week.
  • They all started paying attention to their calorie intake. Not dieting. Just being sensible. Really we all know that a cream cake in the afternoon to keep our energy up is not a good idea. Just be a bit sensible and it can make a great difference.
  • Finally, and this one may surprise you, they all checked their weight almost every day. If you really focus on something, keep it in your mind, and monitor it every single day, it teaches your subconscious that this is something that is important. As a result you start making better choices about exercise and diet without even realising why.

The best way to lose weight fast will soon become a complete life change. Believe me, when you start to feel the changes in you body – bits less wobbly than they were, muscles appearing where you didn’t think they existed, your endurance increasing from week to week – you WILL get hooked.

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