Weight Training and Running - Good or Bad Idea?
I have recently started running. I want to get fitter and, mostly, I want to lose weight. Is it helpful for runners to do weight training?
Or will this impact my attempts to lose weight and should I stick to running first?
Answer by Dom:
Thanks for your question about weight lifting for runners.
There are a lot of myths around weight lifting and running. So, let's make no mistake about it: Weight lifting is fantastic for runners!.
I'll break my answer down in three components:
1. Why weight lifting is good for runners
2. Why consistent running is helpful when you are trying to lose weight
3. Achieving a sustainable lifestyle
Why Weight Lifting is Good for Runners
So, why is weight lifting so good for runners? Well, you get stronger first and foremost. This helps prevent injuries, which keeps you running. It also makes you faster. From a weight loss perspective, gaining some additional muscle can help improve your metabolism. Then lastly, additional exercise means extra calories burned, which helps your weight loss as well.
Do not worry about bulking up and gaining weight. It is pretty much impossible for runners to become bulky. We do too much cardiovascular exercise for that. Bodybuilders do a minimum amount of cardio and they support their muscle growth with eating loads. You need to be very deliberate about growing a lot of extra muscle.
Runners who lift weights get more lean. Over time, their legs and arms get defined and strong without carrying a lot of extra weight with them.
Why consistent running is helpful when you are trying to lose weight
Now clearly, I am a big fan of running for weight loss. It is a great way to burn calories. In order to achieve weight loss, consistent running is important though. You will want to aim for running 3-4 times per week and you will want to build up to 30 minutes of running or so.
You are very welcome to run way more than that! But it will take time to work up to that. You might need to do run/walks at the start. That's ok, everybody has got to start somewhere.
Achieving a sustainable lifestyle
Now, although weight training and running are a fantastic combo, achieving weight loss starts with your diet.
Rather than calorie counting I'd like to encourage you to focus on healthy foods. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, etc.
You do not want to completely starve yourself either. It's unsustainable, you will feel miserable and you can create a very unhealthy relationship with food.
The beauty of plenty of exercise and healthy eating together is that you can achieve a sustainable lifestyle in which you are fit, healthy and at the right weight for you.
Follow these links for some further info that may help you:
Running and Weight Loss
Hope this helps. All the best in incorporating weight lifting and running into your life!
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