Running is one of the best options when considering how to lose weight quickly. It’s also a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and reduce stress. But not all running workouts are created equal. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right one for your current goal.
If you want to burn a lot of calories, try interval training or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
This type of workout will help boost your metabolism. This means you will actually burn fat even after the exercise itself. Also, it will significantly lower your post-exercise appetite.
The exercise is quite hard though. Actually, interval training is one of the hardest training out there, but its advantages are definitely worth trying it.
Interval runs alternate between periods of high-intensity and low-intensity activity. The training itself consists of a series of fast runs followed by short breaks. The whole workout usually lasts about 30 minutes. You can do it outdoors or indoors on the treadmill or elliptical machine.
Interval training should consist of at least 10 series of running intervals.
Running intervals are fast pace runs close to a sprint. They last somewhere between 30 seconds and 5 minutes depending on your fitness and training goals. I advise something between 30 seconds and 1 minute for beginner runners and aspiring marathoners.
Every high-intensity run is followed by a recovery period or break – low-intensity activity such as walking or slow jogging. The recovery break should not last more than the time of your previous interval run.
Best running exercise to lose weight
According to a study from the University of New South Wales in Australia, going for interval runs can burn up to three times as many calories as running at a comfortable easy pace.
And that is some difference!
But how is this possible?
It is because interval training causes higher production of catecholamines, cortisol, and growth hormones. These are all hormones responsible for fat release from your fat stores.
The intensive run also results in a number of muscle adaptations that lead to improved muscle fat oxidation and enhanced glucose tolerance. All these actually help you to lose weight.
Another study shows that interval training is very effective in losing subcutaneous and abdominal fat.
This particular study made on young mostly slim women proved that 15 week HIIT program led to a 0,15 kg decrease in abdominal fat. Comparing to women tested during low-intensity aerobic workout programs who did not lose any! Not bad huh?
Looking for a flat belly? Go for intervals! But don’t forget to measure every single calorie you burn.
Other advantages of interval training
Interval training is very effective in improving running performance as well. It was designed to stress maximum levels of oxygen consumption (Vo2max).
Maximum oxygen consumption is particularly important for distance runners. The higher is your oxygen consumption, the higher amount of energy you can produce.
Based on the study already mentioned above, 2 weeks of the HIIT program led to a 7% increase in Vo2max. Longer programs lasting from 12-24 weeks led to a 41 – 46% increase!
What an improvement!
In the picture below, you can see why are intervals so effective in stressing maximum oxygen levels. In the beginning, it takes about 2 minutes of fast pace running to get to the Vo2max.
Thanks to the short recovery breaks, it always takes less and less time to get back to that maximum level. More time spent at maximum levels means more stress for your body to improve. That is also the reason why interval run is considered one of the toughest.