You want to lose weight. But you’re a busy mom, so you turned to running—it’s quick, intense and burns a lot of calories. The pounds will just fall off, right?
Well, not exactly. Let me let you in on a little secret: running alone isn’t the silver bullet to losing weight. Running needs to be combined with cross training and proper nutrition to be an effective weight loss tool.
Jogging is a good for your heart and increasing endurance. Interval running—think picking up your pace for a specific amount of time—will increase your maximum oxygen intake. And toning will, as the name implies, tone your muscles and allow you to burn calories long after your workout is over. Put them together, and you’ll reach your weight loss goal.
But I’m busy—how do I fit interval running into my schedule?
No one said losing weight was easy. If you’re like me, you have a brief window in which you can work out. There’s about 30 minutes of sunlight between when I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and when my kids wake up. Once the littles are up, I have to get them ready for school, make breakfast, you know the drill!
I don’t have time to dawdle—I need to do the workout that will have the greatest impact in the least amount of time. Plain old running is only in one plane of motion. Intervals of increased pace, tuck jumps and other HIIT exercises expand the magnitude of your workout to challenge your whole body. That’s why interval running is perfect for my busy schedule. I burn maximum calories and get maximum value out of a short, 30-minute workout.
Now, I don’t do the same workout every morning. I shake it up. Some mornings, I’ll go for a jog. Other mornings, I’ll mix it up by throwing some toning exercises into my run. Sometimes, I’ll do interval training. Together, running, intervals and toning make for the perfect weight loss cardio sesh.
Okay, I’m sold on interval running. But how do I do it?
If you want to lose weight, jogging alone isn’t enough. Here is how to lose weight while running: combine jogging with interval training and HIIT exercises. Then, just eat healthily, sleep well and watch the scale drop.
Here are the five keys to any successful running weight loss program:
#1 – Slow and steady…
When you think about running, you’re probably thinking about steady state running—or running at a fixed pace for a specified period of time. Steady state running is good for your heart and increasing your endurance.Steady state running ideas:
- Run 5 minutes away from your house. Walk the way back.
- Run for a specified period of time or Maybe 15 minutes out and 15 back, or 3 miles.
- For tips on running while pregnant, click here.
#2 – Pick up the pace!
Interval running burns more running than steady state running. And, over time, it increases your VO2 max, or your body’s ability to distribute much-needed oxygen to your body during a workout.Interval running ideas:
Jog for four minutes, and then sprint for one. Repeat until you’ve reached your time goal: either 10, 20 or 30 minutes.
#3 – Feel the burn
Alternate running with HIIT training. Run for 5 minutes. Then do some high-intensity toning exercises—tuck jumps, jumping jacks, high knees—or turn on your favorite MIF cardio video (the Ignite Your Inner Athlete is a fan favorite!) for a couple minutes. Toning exercises allow you to strengthen muscles like the gluteus medius, core and hips, providing all-around more targeted weight loss.
In addition to burning more calories than traditional running, HIIT intervals allow you to increase your metabolism and burn calories long after your workout is over—perfect for busy moms!
#4 – Cool down
When you’re finished with your workout, allow yourself about five minutes to cool down, stretch and roll out your muscles using a foam roller. Stretching, of course, keeps your muscles flexible and strong. Massaging your muscles with a foam roller will increase blood flow to your muscles, ensuring they recover fully before your next workout.
#5 – And last, but not least: Nutrition
Eating healthy foods and practicing portion control is critical to the success of any weight loss plan. You can work out all day, but if you aren’t eating well, you won’t see results. It’s that simple. And, as a runner, you need to fuel your body with the right amount of carbs, protein and healthy sugars to allow your body to heal and perform. I have created a guide to proper nutrition for runners, so you can easily be healthy and shed pounds.