The Daily Runner Blog: Fighting fat and the power of 4
Does running make you fat? It feels like a ridiculous question: after all, how can something that makes you so hot and sweaty, and burns so many calories possibly cause you to pile on the pounds?
But alas, it seems it might: uber-trainer Anna Reich (www.annareichpt.co.uk) delivers her verdict in her usual no-nonsense manner (her super-sets make grown men weep).
‘I don’t believe running will make a person fat but neither does it always shift those last few pounds,’ she says. ‘Endurance sports such as LSD (long slow duration) and marathon running educates your body to store fat for energy so it can carry you through these long bouts of exercise. It may also lead to weight gain on a daily basis because people do like to reward themselves for all that hard work with delicious calories!’
‘So, although you may not gain any weight, you certainly won’t lose any either if you’re not allowing for a calorie deficit. The best way to shift that fat is to either go hard with weights or go fast with HIIT – your metabolic rate rockets and stays elevated in that calorie burning zone for much longer than following your tortoise-esque training.’
Hmm. Although I’m not overweight, I wouldn’t mind shifting a few pounds pre-run (all the better to float daintily around the course, eh? Yeah, right). With this in mind I have devised my very own diet plan, based on the principle of 4 X 4 – so four meals of around 400 calories each per day, while maintaining a training regime of four 40 minute sessions per week. Calorie can be dull and many health experts consider it redundant when it comes to losing weight, but I know from experience that it works for me.
The key is to keep it simple – if I don’t have time to carefully construct a delicious salad, a tuna sarnie from the supermarket will do the trick (400 cals or under, of course). So look out for daily food diaries – how much can I lose in a month? Let’s see…