Posted by: Joe English | February 11, 2009

Nutrition– Accelerating the Weight Loss Results of Running

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

In previous articles, I’ve talked about two related issues: first that running does not always lead directly to weight loss and second the role of diet in that equation. The bottom line is that running, even burning lots of calories, can only result in weight loss if the runner is not over-eating calories that keep them storing extra calories an everyday basis.

But there is another side of this discussion that I haven’t treated here: how can a runner make their running workouts burn more calories, helping contribute more to their weight loss goals? This is a great question that Coach Dean and me talked about with some runners over the weekend, so let me share the answer with you.

The Role of Calories in Fueling Workouts
Food calories are required to fuel workouts. In fact, particular foods are required to power your body through workouts. The most important foods are those that fuel your muscles and your brain, which come from the simple and complex carbohydrates. Because these foods act as fuel for working muscles, it is important for a dieting runner to eat enough carbohydrate to provide them fuel for their workouts.

This is the first area where most dieting runners (or just dieters) run into trouble. It might feel logical to cut as many calories as possible from their diets to lose weight, but in doing so they then cut out the fuels needed to do their workouts. It is important to keep in mind that exercise is a means to an end for dieters: fuel is required for exercise and although it feels sensible not to eat, this just reduces the impact of the exercise itself.

To continue reading this article, click here.



  1. Weight loss is a marathon not a sprint.

  2. This is true Curtis.

    But to properly put this article in context, many people start running in order to lose weight and don’t see results. The reason is that they are either 1) not eating for weight loss or 2) not optimizing their workouts for weight loss.

    Too many runners — especially beginners and those seeking weight loss — run too many slow miles that don’t contribute what higher intensity runs would.

    As you say, weight loss takes time and should be viewed as a life-style choice and a “project” on its own apart from a person’s running goals.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Coach Joe

  3. […] Fourth, new runners often run too many slow miles that are not maximized to burning calories and losing weight. Higher intensity runs burn more calories than lower intensity runs, by boosting the amount of calories burned for a longer period of time after the workout. You can read more about this topic in a related post, by clicking here. […]

  4. I just read an article about someone tryign to lose weight by running and its not heppening. maybe the whole calories/diet thing is a factor with her who knows.

    Food is a big factor in weight loss. Honestly i have seen a lot of people i l know lose weight simply by changing their diet but get this – in all the cases – it happened unintentionally.

    I accidentally got into the whole weight loss thing ironically becasue im someone who tries to put weight on. I figure the opposite of what I am doing helps people to lose weight. Ive seen a few female friends lose substantial weight just by changing their diets unintentionally and the weight has stayed off too. They just happened to eat less due to work worries or just not having time to eat as per normal.

    One girl at work has lost an impressive amount and is still losing it. I noticed this and started to ask questions. I now monitor progress of people who i know are trying to lose wight, offer encouragement and advice. Its all very well going on a diet but without the right encouragement it will be harder to succeed. Ive learnt a lot about weight loss and how to achieve it and its great to be able to help others and see long term results.

    Ive seen real life examples of food as a major factor in weight loss so nice to see a site about it. You can eat meat and still lose weight – the women i know who have lost weight all eat meat. You know one of them even pigs out on chocolate and stuff and still keeps the weight off by walking a lot and stuff and she was pretty big.
    None of the peope i know run..its more gyming or no exercise at all.

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