Running is a great way to lose weight, but there are many other components that are essential to reaching your ideal weight—not to mention your ability to maintain that goal. Eating greens, fruits, lean protein, and avoiding processed or sugar-packed foods may help you drop a few pounds. But most importantly, consuming fewer calories than your body burns during a day will keep you on track for your ideal weight loss.
Tracking Your Daily Calorie Requirements
A good place to start is by calculating 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 the elevator, and engaging in your daily cardiovascular exercise 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 is: 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 fewer calories than your body burns, so your body can begin eliminating that unwanted fat that it is currently storing.
How Can I Fuel My Runs Without Tanking A Diet?
There are many great online sources to calculate how many calories an individual consumes and burns in a day, but a simple way to avoid over-eating is to only eat when you are hungry and to stop eating when you are full. However, those two methods can be very difficult to embrace when you are encouraged to consume energy gels or protein bars during or after your workouts. If you are exercising less than 2 hours, than your body probably only needs water and some sort of low sugar sports drink to replace some of the lost 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 purchase “energy” products save yourself some money, and unwanted calories, by filling up a bottle of water instead.
Adding Music: The Extra Boost You’ll Need
Anyone who favors the use of a playlist will tell you that music makes their run easier. There is a great deal of psychological benefits to listening to music while running. When you hear a song you like, it boosts your mood, leading you to become excited and happy. When such a positive mental state is reached, your mind is in a place where it can best reach its optimal level of performance Being in a positive mental state is a major key to success for runners of all skill levels. Let’s be honest, running is not an easy sport and anything that keeps you positive and upbeat, especially when you are just beginning your training, is going to give you the extra dose of motivation you need to continue to push yourself.
In addition to affecting your mood, listening to music distracts you from how hard you are breathing or how fatigued your muscles are feeling. By immersing yourself into your playlist, you can attune your body to the rhythm of the music. Mentally engrossing yourself in the songs, you to forget how hard you are really working. Moreover, music cadence can be used as a means to pace your run. Each song has a constant, unchanging rhythm. While running, we unknowingly begin to adjust our own body rhythm and tempo to match it with the beat of the music we’re listening to. If you are looking to improve your time, or simply to stay out there for longer runs, playing songs with a greater cadence can help. Ultimately, music will allow your entire run to flow better, improving your overall experience by keeping you focused and at pace.
Of course, running longer or faster will up your calorie burn which will, in turn, help you reach your goal weight that much sooner. So queue up that playlist, skip the protein bar and start running your way to a healthier you! Of course in your quest for health you encounter foot pain or injury, don't let that stop your progress! Contact Houston running podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment.