Last Updated: January 3rd, 2021
You are training and running hard, but still not losing weight…Frustrating isn’t it? Do you know what is more frustrating? If you start gaining weight after you have started running…And this…obviously makes you think…
Is running making me fat?
If you would like to know in a bit more detail…read on.
Why is running making me fat?
As I told you above, running is not making you fat.
However, when you start running you may also start putting on weight.
This problem is not only limited to beginner runners. The veterans suffer from this problem as well.
There may be a lot of reasons for this weight gain but it boils down mainly to two.
First of all, when you start running, many of us get into the mindset that we deserve to eat that extra cookie or that extra tall latte.
The common mindset is “We have earned it and my body will burn it”.
However, this is not the case.
Let me give you an example,
If you jog for 1 hour, you will burn off 400 calories.
However, intaking that 400 calories are really easy.
You just need to eat an additional sandwich.
Also, many endurance athletes are very scared that if they don’t carb-load, they will not be able to perform.
However, on doing say, without realizing they over-do it.
Hence, the weight gain.
The second main reason for putting on weight is not related to fat.
It may be because you are building up lean muscles.
If you are regular with your strength training, you may have started to develop muscles.
Muscles weigh more than fat and this may be the reason for your weight gain.
This is perfectly normal and if you are regular with your strength training, then you will look really fit.
Why am I gaining weight after I’ve started running?
If you have a sedentary lifestyle and have started running to lose weight, then seeing the scale swinging to the overweight area is very discouraging.
I get that…
But there may be some valid reasons for this.
When you start running, you will be ravenous and maybe eating more than your normal diet.
However, if you go overboard and think that you cannot gain weight because you are running, then you’re wrong.
As mentioned above, it will take a small indiscretion from your side, and boom!
Congratulations! You are now 1 lb more overweight.
Also, not always the food is the culprit and muscle development also makes you gain weight.
So, chill…and observe your food habits. Make small adjustments and you can keep this phenomenon in check.
Is it normal to gain weight when you start running?
It is not normal to gain weight after you start running.
However, it is not uncommon due to the reasons described above.
And this is a problem that pro athletes also deal with on a day to day basis.
However, you can do the following things to help your this weight gain in check:
- Remove anything which has refined sugar in it from your pantry.
- Replace them with fruits.
- No matter how hungry you are, chew your food rather than shoving them down your throat.
- Warm your food before you eat. It is scientifically proven that you will feel more full if you eat warm food. This automatically will reduce your food intake.
- Increase your veggies intake. They are loaded with fibers but are low in calories.
- Indulge, but in moderation. For example, rather than ordering a tall latte, order a short or small one. Also, in restaurants, you order first. This way you will remain in control of your intake.
If you follow these simple tips, you will be able to see faster results from your running efforts.
Mistakes that will lead to weight gain even if you are running…
Although you are training hard, you are not losing weight…frustrating, isn’t it?
Well, most of the time, you will be doing some simple mistakes that may be holding you back.
Here are the common ones:
You are not getting enough sleep
You may be skimping on your sleep. Any person needs at least 6 hours of sleep. If you are getting any less, then you will have a hard time losing weight.
Not having enough sleep may be due to a lot of reasons like:
- Stress and anxiety – Try 15 min of meditation before your sleep.
- You might feel sleep is a waste of time – Well, change that mindset. You need to sleep. Period.
- Your body may be on high alert from the evening workout – This is due to the adrenaline rush. Change your workout timings or take a long shower after your workout. This will relax your body and will take you out of that fight and flight mode. Result? You will sleep better.
- The weather – If it is hot, open the windows or turn on the AC. If too cold maybe an extra blanket is what you need.
- The food you are eating/drinking – Coffee before bed anyone? Or extra fat food? Well, they interfere with your sleep. Try to have a bit of carb. They will help you to sleep better.
You are mercilessly cutting down on your calories
We all want to lose weight, and the quickest way is through the reduction of calories.
However, if you overdo it, your body will store anything that you eat.
And by storing I mean, storing as fat.
So, if you are mercilessly cutting down your calories, then stop.
You are setting yourself up for failure.
Have food properly, however, be mindful about what you eat.
You are weighing yourself before a race
As runners, we tend to load up our glycogen store before a race.
So, your muscles will store carb and water and make you weigh heavily.
With this, if you are weighing yourself before a race, the scale will obviously not tilt in your favor.
So, chill! You will lose this extra weight after the race. Don’t worry.
Why I’m not losing weight even after running?
Well, we have covered the answer to this question in detail above.
However, there is one more reason that may be inhibiting you from losing weight.
If you have any kind of underlying health condition, then you may find it difficult to lose weight.
Conditions that make it difficult to lose weight are:
- PCOS or Poly Cystic Overy
- Insulin insensitivity
- Slow metabolism
Visit your physician and find out if you are suffering from any of these problems.
A slow metabolism can make it really really hard for you to lose weight.
My elder sister suffers from this and despite being a regular gym-goer for two years now, she has hardly lost any weight.
This is a persistent condition…however through Yoga, you may be able to improve it.
So, consult your physician and get training from a proper yoga instructor.
Will running make me skinny?
To be honest, yes.
If you are a runner for a long time, at one point in time muscle mass reduction will start to take place.
This means, your muscles will start to get converted into energy as not much fat is left in your body.
This will definitely make you skinny.
Will marathon training make you fat?
Well, if you think you are complacent and overindulge, then marathon training will make you fat.
However, there is another condition that some of the marathoners suffer from.
It is called skinny fat.
It is a condition in which a healthy person has an underlying condition of an obese person.
It generally happens with persons who have normal BMI but the fat percentage in their body is much more.
If you want to beat that, you will have to improve your overall body composition, which means you need to improve your muscle mass.
One way can be to include more protein in your diet. Also, if you have this condition, then consult your physician and RD to get through understanding of the changes that you need to bring to your training and lifestyle.
Otherwise, you will be prone to diseases like:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- High Cholesterol
- Insulin resistance
- Lower bone mineral density
- Loss of cognitive function
Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.
Morris, D. Why lack of sleep is making you fat.
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Hazell, T. J., Hamilton, C. D., Olver, T. D., & Lemon, P. W. (2014). Running sprint interval training induces fat loss in women. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 39(8), 944-950.
Thomas, T.R., Adeniran, S.B. and Etheridge, G.L., 1984. Effects of different running programs on VO2 max, percent fat, and plasma lipids. Canadian journal of applied sport sciences. Journal canadien des sciences appliquees au sport, 9(2), p.55.
Lima-Silva, Adriano E., et al. “Relationship between training status and maximal fat oxidation rate.” Journal of sports science & medicine 9.1 (2010): 31.
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