Run Less, Lose More

Posted on: by Thamar Houliston
Run

This simple but strategic running programme will help you shape up and shed kilos with minimal mileage…

If you walk into a gym anywhere in South Africa, you’ll see rows of women sweating it out on treadmills. Stop in again months later, and many of those same women won’t look that much slimmer, despite the countless hours they’ve spent pounding away on that moving belt.

Here’s why: most people operate under the assumption that the more they run, the more weight they’ll lose. That’s true, but only to a point. Running is an incredibly effective and efficient form of exercise for burning kilojoules. (You burn about 35.5 kJ a minute when moving at a comfortable pace.)

The problem is, your body adapts to the training load and becomes more efficient, which translates to fewer kilojoules being burnt, says Dr Paola Wood, biokineticist and lecturer at the University of Pretoria. In other words, you’ll initially drop a few kilos, but your progress will flatline as soon as your body adjusts to your exercise regimen. Plus, running long distances on a regular basis takes a physical toll (in the form of injuries, like runner’s knee) and can seriously dampen your enthusiasm.

Ultimately, all that pain and boredom can cause many people to burn out and give up. Thankfully, there is a better (and easier) way. By learning how to make your runs more efficient at burning fat (by running with more intensity and by making your body stronger), you can get more benefits in less time, says running coach Andrew Kastor.

You’ll still need to run three to five days a week, but rarely for more than 20 minutes a pop. That’s not so bad, right?

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