If one of your reasons to start running is to lose weight, then this is the post you have been waiting for! In fact, I intend on writing several posts on the subject. Today, I wanted to discuss an overview of your running to lose weight strategy.
How Many Calories are in a Pound?
Did you know that every 3500 calories you consume equals a pound? That is right, this is one basic key to weight loss. For every 3500 calories you burn in excess of what you eat, you lose a pound of fat. And, for every 3500 calories you consume in excess of what you burn, you gain a pound of fat. So, in order to lose one pound of fat in a week, you need to burn 500 more calories than you consume each day.
How Many Calories Does My Body Consume?
Your body naturally burns calories during your normal course of events. The total amount of calories you burn each day is a little difficult to calculate, though most people burn around 2000 to 2500 calories a day depending on their weight, gender, age, etc. A handy calculator was created by the United States Department of Agriculture at the link provided to help you figure the exact number of calories you burn. If found out, for example, as a 160 lbs male that I burn about 2400 calories each day, with minimal exercise.
How Many Calories Does Running Burn?
Running calories a little over 100 calories per mile. A more exact calculation is to multiply your body weight by .75 to get the number of calories you burn in one mile of running. This is according to “Energy Expenditure of Walking and Running,” Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, Cameron et al, Dec. 2004. If you run a 10 minute mile (which is a good number to use for beginners), then take the number of minutes and divide by 10, and then multiply by .75. For my example, I am 160 lbs, so I burn about 120 calories per mile run.
Run More or Eat Less?
Now that we know how many calories we burn each day, and how many calories we burn through running, we can come up with a plan of how to lose one pound per week. In the end, the total difference of calories burned and calories consumed must be 500 per day. If we divided this up, then I would need to eat 250 less calories each day, and try to run off 250 calories per day.
Since I burn 120 calories per mile, I need to try to run an average of about two miles per day in order to meet my goal. This is a total of about 14 miles for the week, which is doable for me. In order to burn the 250 calories less each day, I need to limit my consumption to around 2100 calories per day. (I realize 2400 minus 250 is 2150, but I like clean numbers, sorry!)
Now that you have a basic strategy for losing some weight, I hope you will come up with a plan to follow through. I am going to try to shed a couple pounds myself, and finally fit back into those 32 waist pants comfortably again!
What do You Think?
Do you think it is easier to run more or eat less calories to lose weight?
Go to the USDA website, and find out how many calories you burn each day based on minimal exercise. Then, decide how many extra calories you will burn and how many calories less you will consume each day.