Lose Weight and Improve Your Health: The Power of Running for lose weight fast

Running and Health: The Numerous Benefits of Regular Running for Your Well-Being

Running, an aerobic activity, offers a multitude of health benefits for individuals of all ages.

Cardiovascular exercises like running help prevent and treat heart diseases, control weight, and manage diabetes and high cholesterol.

Running improves bone health, muscle efficiency, and immune system function while reducing the risk of certain cancers.

It enhances mood, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes better sleep quality.

Regular running can boost self-esteem, concentration, and memory, while reducing the risk of depression and neurodegenerative diseases.

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1- Running and Health

Running, being an aerobic activity is highly beneficial for maintaining and improving health and vitality over the years.

Among the benefits of running and other cardiovascular activities such as cycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, and aerobic exercises, the following are included:

Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases

Weight control

Prevention and treatment of diabetes and high cholesterol

Improvement of bone tropism, reduced risk of osteoporosis

Enhancement of muscle efficiency

Lower risk of certain types of cancer

Improvement of mood and sense of well-being (thanks to the release of endorphins)

Reduction of stress and anxiety

Improvement of sleep quality

Enhancement of the immune system

Reduction of the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

Increase in self-esteem and self-confidence

Improvement of concentration and memory

Reduction of the risk of depression and other mental disorders

Running is a physical activity that can bring numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. However, it is important to train correctly and gradually to avoid muscle and joint injuries.

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2- How to Train

As seen earlier, running is an activity that, under the right conditions, promotes the maintenance and improvement of health and can help manage certain symptoms.

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However, like any sports activity, it is important to practice it with caution and intelligence, especially for beginners. If you have any significant medical condition, it is also advisable to consult your doctor.

How should the training for running be?

Running is a sport that requires adherence to a training program, which means regularity, to achieve the desired result (weight loss or simply staying in shape for regular individuals; improvement of athletic performance for competitive athletes).

According to experts, in sports, to maintain a training program, it should be:





A training program for running is considered realistic when it aligns with the available time of the person performing it. An individual with children and a job will likely have less time compared to someone without a family. Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect the training program to be the same for everyone.

Anyone who wants to embark on a running training program should assess their availability in terms of time and make sure the program is realistic for them.

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3- Flexibility

A training program is considered flexible when it can be adapted, without significant repercussions, to any sudden commitments that may arise during the week or throughout life. It could be a work setback, the birth of a child, a dispute with a family member, etc.

These unforeseen events not only take away time from training but also impact the individual's energy levels. If the program is flexible, the impact will be minimized, and even with different timing than initially planned, the athlete will still be able to continue with the plan.

Running and Adaptation to Training

If practiced regularly, any sports activity, whether it is running or something else, triggers a series of physiological processes within the human body, such as muscles, joints, tendons, the cardiovascular system, etc., adapting to the exercise.

This process is known as adaptation.

Adaptation is the explanation for why a 20-minute run for a beginner at the start of a training program feels challenging but becomes easier after six weeks of regular training. It is also the reason why someone accustomed to running at a steady pace, even for a longer duration, finds a relatively short interval run very exhausting.

Adaptation is undoubtedly a sign that the training has yielded results. However, it also indicates that the stimulus produced by physical exercise will no longer be as effective as at the beginning of the training program.

Here, once the body has adapted to a certain stimulus, it is necessary to make a variation to the training plan. The change could involve the type of running, the duration of the training, the intensity of the pace, the number of weekly sessions, etc.

The goal is to create a new stimulus to trigger a new adaptation process.

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How often should you run per week?

The answer depends on various factors, primarily experience level, goals, and available time.

In general, for someone who wants to stay fit or lose weight, the recommendation is to run 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes, with a rest day following each training day.

For these types of athletes, the rest day allows muscles, joints, and tendons to recover from the stress of running, so that they can perform well in the next session.

However, experts in the field emphasize that the rest day should not be understood as complete inactivity. It is strongly recommended to use these days (at least a couple of them) to engage in complementary activities for muscle toning in the lower and upper limbs, such as weight training or bodyweight exercises.

20-30 minutes of muscle toning are sufficient to achieve useful results.

How to start running?

This section is aimed at those who want to start running from scratch (individuals with a sedentary lifestyle in the past) or after a medium to long-duration injury.

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First Phase

For the initial period, the program consists solely of brisk walking sessions, with the duration increasing over the weeks. Walking serves to provide an initial stimulus, similar to running, to muscles, joints, and tendons, to improve fitness levels and induce an initial adaptation process. Typically, a period of 6-7 weeks is appropriate to prepare the body for the second phase, where actual running will begin. It starts with walks of 15-20 minutes, gradually increasing to 60-minute sessions in the last week. It is recommended to have 4 to 5 training sessions per week. Naturally, the total weekly duration will increase, starting from 100-120 minutes in the first week and reaching 160-180 minutes in the final week.

Second Phase

The second phase of the program includes the first hints of running. However, the initial sessions will still consist exclusively of brisk walking, with durations between 30 and 50 minutes (resulting in a weekly total of 150-160 minutes). Running sessions alternate with walking periods: initially, the ratio between running and walking is 1:1 (e.g., 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking), and later, throughout the program, it becomes 2:1 in favor of running (e.g., 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking). This program should also span 6-7 weeks. If you perform 4 sessions per week (plus a possible fifth session of walking), by the end of this period, you should be able to complete a combined running and walking workout with a total duration of 50 minutes. Unlike the first phase of the program, the total weekly duration remains relatively stable (between 140 and 170 minutes in total, assuming 4 training sessions). It should be noted that running workouts should be preceded and followed by a 5-minute warm-up/cool-down walk.

Third Phase

The third and final phase of the program for beginners aims to prepare the athlete to cover a certain distance of continuous running (usually 5 km). The program relies largely on an alternating approach of running and walking: initially, it starts with a ratio of 3:2 in favor of running; then, as the week progress, the minutes of running increase while those of walking decrease (e.g., 7 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking). If you perform 4 training sessions per week, in 6-7 weeks you should be able to achieve the goal of the program: covering a distance of a certain number of kilometers (usually 5) exclusively through continuous running. The weekly training duration further increases and can range from approximately 150 to 190 minutes. As before, a 5-minute warm-up/cool-down walk is recommended before and after running.

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Running and Recovery Training

A note regarding the concept of recovery is necessary. Recovery generally refers to a week in which the training is lighter. In the specific case of running, it means that the session will be shorter and the intensity (pace) lighter. Recovery is essential to give the body a chance to regenerate, eliminating fatigue, which represents an obstacle to performance improvement.

In any sport, training increases not only fitness level but also fatigue. When fatigue becomes too high, optimal performance in training is no longer possible, and as a result, the fitness level doesn't improve as desired. Strategic implementation of recovery is crucial during the training program to avoid a plateau in fitness level growth.

There are numerous theories regarding when to incorporate recovery; some suggest every 4 weeks, others every 8, etc. In this context, we will avoid giving a precise indication since the inclusion of recovery depends on the training program, the athlete's level of experience, and unforeseen circumstances in daily life.

However, one aspect needs to be analyzed: the indicative signs of the need for recovery. Here are the parameters to consider:

Lack of motivation to train

Poor sleep quality

Difficulty in meeting the training program's timing

Increased levels of stress

Joint and/or muscle pains or discomfort

Completing the Training

Undoubtedly, running is a healthy discipline, but for obvious reasons, it cannot be considered a complete activity. A sport is complete when it is capable of improving all aspects of the body (endurance, strength, speed, coordination, etc.). Therefore, considering what has been said, it is necessary to combine running with another activity that complements its shortcomings to create a comprehensive training program.

The Most Suitable Complementary Activity to Running is Strength Training, a topic that has already been discussed before.

Targeting the muscles of the upper and lower body, as well as the core, strength training allows for improvements in abilities such as strength and endurance.

Furthermore, it promotes weight loss, increases bone density, counteracts muscle mass loss, and, as mentioned in a previous analysis, helps reduce joint stress on the lower limbs and the risk of muscle and tendon injuries.

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The combination of running and strength training constitutes a comprehensive training program as it combines cardiovascular exercise with strength and endurance improvement exercises.

A comprehensive training program contributes to overall body health improvement, reduces the risk of chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes), and promotes a better quality of life, especially when combined with a balanced diet and good sleep hygiene.

Running and weights: Which exercises to do?

To tone the muscles, runners do not require any specific equipment. One or two pairs of medium to light-weight dumbbells and a few resistance bands are sufficient, as the body itself can be an effective tool for meeting the runner's needs.

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Regarding exercises, they should focus on strengthening the lower body, upper body, and core (abdominal muscles).

Lower body

In lower body training, exercises that emphasize single-leg movements are particularly important as they also promote core stability.

However, classic bilateral exercises should not be neglected either.

Here is a list of useful lower-body exercises for runners:

Step-ups (with body weight or one or two dumbbells)

Single-leg Romanian deadlifts (with one or two dumbbells)

Walking lunges, reverse lunges, forward lunges, or stationary lunges (with body weight or one or two dumbbells)

Bulgarian split squats (with body weight or one or two dumbbells)

Squats (with body weight or a dumbbell)

Bilateral and unilateral bridges (for glute reinforcement)

Nordic curls

Calf raises (with body weight or dumbbells)

With experience and adaptation, it is possible and advisable to add weight to the dumbbells for a greater stimulus. It should be noted that there is a different activation of the abdominal muscles when using one dumbbell or a pair (using one dumbbell reduces the load but enhances the ability for unilateral core control).

Another interesting suggestion is to use a resistance band just above the knees in exercises like the classic squat to also stimulate the hip external rotator muscles (this can also be done in stationary lunges, provided the band is anchored to fixed support on a wall).

Upper body

Undoubtedly, exercises for the upper body that is useful for runners and not particularly complex include:


Dumbbell rows (unilateral or bilateral)

Wide-grip dumbbell rows (arm abduction at 90°)

Prone reverse flyes

Lateral raises

More experienced individuals may also perform pull-ups to strengthen the back muscles and V push-ups for better shoulder stimulation.

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Strengthening the abdominal muscles means improving core stability, which is the body's ability to stabilize the spine and pelvis, avoiding unwanted movements that could damage the spine.

Useful abdominal exercises for runners include:


Side plank (particularly recommended is the side plank variation with leg lift)

Mountain climbers

Dead bugs

Bird dog

Palloff press

4- Running and Weight Loss

It is commonly believed that running is the best activity for weight loss. However, the reality is a bit different: running can undoubtedly help burn fat, but it must be done correctly while also paying attention to nutrition.

Before delving into some concepts related to running and weight loss, it is necessary to review the key to losing weight: one must burn more calories than one consumes while considering basal metabolism. Basal metabolism refers to the number of calories the body needs at rest to carry out all its fundamental functions.

How to Lose Weight by Running

Imagine a beginner runner who wants to start running to shed a few extra pounds.

Initially, someone like this benefits from steady-paced running, maintained for at least 30 minutes, at a pace that allows for a conversation.

However, the effects of such training are not permanent. Typically, after 6 weeks, the body adapts, and fat is no longer burned as efficiently as before. The runner realizes this when they no longer see progress on the scale.

This plateau is a signal that the type of training needs to be changed.

To resume burning fat and losing weight, the runner must start a program of interval running or tempo runs, which are two different running styles but both include a period of intense running, faster than a steady-paced run, followed by a slower recovery period.

Such training requires the body to consume more oxygen compared to steady-paced running. Paying off this oxygen debt is calorie-intensive and time-consuming (up to 48 hours), meaning the person continues to burn calories until the oxygen debt is repaid. In light of this, it becomes clear why runs that alternate between high-intensity and relaxed running induce greater energy expenditure.

In terms of benefits, calorie consumption, etc., running styles like intervals and tempo runs require less overall running time compared to steady-paced running.

However, be aware that these types of running also lead to adaptation. Therefore, it is necessary to vary the length of the intervals according to a structured plan.

A final, crucial note concerns nutrition and recovery: without adopting a healthy and balanced diet and without respecting moments of rest (including nighttime sleep), no running program, not even the best one, is sufficient to promote weight loss.

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How many calories are burned while running?

The calorie expenditure induced by running can be calculated using the following formula:

Calories burned = 0.9 x Distance in kilometers x Body weight in kilograms

On the other hand, fat consumption can be calculated using the so-called Arcelli formula:

Fat consumption in grams = 0 (Body weight in kilograms x Distance in kilometers) / 20

How many calories should be burned for effective weight loss?

Experts believe that, for appropriate weight loss, the caloric deficit induced by physical activity (whether it is running or other forms) should not exceed 200 kcal.

Going beyond this threshold increases the risk of muscle injuries, post-workout fatigue, and other health problems associated with insufficient energy availability.

Therefore, pushing oneself too hard in running with the hope of losing more weight and losing it faster is incorrect. There is a risk of getting injured or being unable to maintain consistency in training.

Does running on an empty stomach help with weight loss?

Contrary to popular belief, running on an empty stomach in the morning does not have such a significant impact on weight loss.

Experts emphasize that the most important factor is always the balance between calories consumed and calories burned throughout the day.

In addition, running on an empty stomach can have both positive and negative effects. During exercise, the body may have to rely on protein as an energy source, which means tapping into muscle mass. To prevent muscle loss resulting from this biological mechanism, it is recommended to consume a protein-rich meal within 30 minutes after physical activity.

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Running and weight training for weight loss

The importance of weight training for runners has already been extensively discussed.

This section will briefly analyze why strength training also promotes weight loss.

Using weights, as well as bodyweight exercises, stimulates muscle growth. Unlike adipose tissue, muscles are a "living" tissue that requires much more energy in terms of calories (increasing basal metabolism). Therefore, runners who incorporate gym workouts into their training tend to lose weight more easily and maintain a healthy weight.

5- When it's better to do something else

When is running not recommended?

Running is not a suitable sport for everyone. It is contraindicated for individuals suffering from:

Chronic cardiovascular diseases (arrhythmias, valvulopathies, etc.)

Excessive overweight or obesity

Advanced knee osteoarthritis (gonarthrosis)

Advanced hip osteoarthritis (coxarthrosis)

Ankle osteoarthritis

Other forms of arthritis in the lower limb joints

Severe spinal column diseases

Some of these conditions are not absolute contraindications to running. For example, overweight individuals can approach running only after normalizing their weight through a hypocaloric diet and weight training.

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Running and Joint Pain: Precautions to Take

Running is a high-impact sport, particularly on the knees. That's why it is not recommended for individuals with severe forms of arthritis.

However, if you have minor joint issues, running is still possible by adopting certain strategies.

For example, it would be best to avoid running on rough terrains or particularly hard surfaces like asphalt.

Furthermore, it may be helpful to invest in footwear that is suitable for your foot strike. To determine the appropriate footwear, it is advisable to seek assistance from a specialized store and a professional who deals with this type of issue.

What to Do Instead of Running?

According to some experts, occasionally finding an alternative to running, even for short periods, is beneficial to vary motor movement and reduce the risk of functional overload injuries.

Ideal alternative sports are cycling and swimming since they involve aerobic effort (similar to running) but with low joint impact.

6- Essential Equipment

Running is a straightforward sport. All you need is suitable shoes, shorts, and a shirt, and you can start. However, there are dedicated equipment and materials on the market that are particularly suitable for this type of exercise. There are also tools to monitor the most important aspects of your workouts.

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Running Shoes

We mentioned shoes. Running shoes are the most crucial part of the equipment for runners. There are numerous models available on the market, making it challenging to choose. The best shoes for your needs are those that fit your foot shape, running style, and the terrain you will be running on.

Technical Clothing

Technical clothing refers to garments specifically designed for running. These garments are designed to absorb moisture and keep the body dry during workouts and races. They should be comfortable and suitable for running motion. Running apparel for winter conditions is particularly important.

Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers

To monitor your workouts, track detailed information, and keep track of your progress, there are special watches with additional functions designed for sports and running. These are smartwatches and fitness trackers. They collect various data, from time and distance covered to calories burned and heart rate. They are usually connected to a tablet or smartphone app, providing access to a wealth of recorded information.

Running Water Bottles

Hydration is crucial, especially in hot seasons. Therefore, it is essential to have a water bottle, and in this case, those designed specifically for running are the most suitable. It is important to choose a quality bottle, preferably thermal, that is durable, lightweight, and easy to carry.

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Sports Waist Pack

A sports waist pack is an extremely useful accessory, especially for outdoor sports such as running, where you may need to carry house keys, car keys, or even your smartphone. It is no surprise that it has become one of the favorite accessories for runners, as it is essential to have a small, convenient, and non-bulky bag that does not interfere with regular movement during running.

Running Sunglasses

Running sunglasses are also an important accessory for regular runners. They have a functional design to protect the runner's eyes not only from ultraviolet rays but also from environmental factors such as wind, rain, or road dust that can compromise visibility.

Running Earphones

If you enjoy listening to music, podcasts, or radio programs during your workouts, you will need a good pair of running earphones—ones that won't fall out while you are running.

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