Running Makeover: "Help, I Need to Lose 10 Pounds!"

The Afterburn Principles of Exercise

No matter if you're a runner or a swimmer, there are three principles of exercise afterburn that can help you lose those last 10 pounds that sometimes seem impossible to shed. They are duration, frequency and intensity. Let's explore each one.

Duration is the length of your individual workouts. The caloric afterburn (how many calories you burn after your workout) partly depends on doing a long workout. If all of your runs are only 20 to 30 minutes, you're not getting the full afterburn effect.

Fix this by extending the duration of your longest run of the week by 1 to 2 miles.

More: How Often Should Beginners Run?

Frequency is the number of times you run per week. Only doing two to three runs per week is great for overall health, but you'll notice significantly better weight control benefits if you increase the number of runs you do to five or six per week. Start gradually and only increase the number of runs when you're comfortable at your current mileage.

More: Should You Run More Miles?

Intensity is the difficulty or speed of your runs. While you certainly shouldn't do all of your runs fast (recovery is critical!), you should be completing one challenging workout every week that makes you go faster than your easy pace. Start with a relatively simple fartlek workout, alternating one minute fast with two minutes easy for a total of 10 minutes fast. You can progress to more challenging tempo runs or interval workouts once you're ready for them.

More: 6 Fartlek Workouts for 3 Training Phases

These exercise principles all increase your metabolic rate—or the rate at which your body burns calories. When you combine all three of them with a less carb-dependent diet, you'll see dramatic weight-loss results.

Less is not always better, so make sure you reach an ideal weight that promotes your overall health. Running should be a fun part of your lifestyle that makes you feel good about yourself, so enjoy the process.

More: Will I Run Faster If I Lose Weight?

Active logo Sign up for your next race.

About the Author

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM