• Helen Phillips

3 Shocking Truths to Why Runners Gain Weight


You've been running for a while, and maybe started running to lose a bit of weight, but instead of losing you're gaining a few pounds.

Whilst that might be the additional muscle you're carrying from increasing your fitness, all too often running leads to unwanted weight gain.

3 Shocking Truths to Why Runners Gain Weight

Here are the top three reasons why runners gain weight. Are you guilty? Read on to find out why and how to avoid unnecessary weight gain.

You've been for a run ... so you can eat what you like! Right?

Let's look at the stats. A 30 minute run will burn around 300 - 400 calories. Hey not bad! But if you go and reward yourself with a chocolate chip muffin (380 calories) or pint of beer (350 calories) each time you run, you can see how the running vs beer or cake maths doesn't quite add up!

Be mindful of how many calories you burn on your runs and make sure that you eat a balanced healthy diet with only the occasional treat, rather than rewarding yourself for a good run with nutrition poor, highly calorific cakes, chocolate and booze.

Carbs are your best friend

It's true that your body burns carbohydrate and fat to fuel your runs. But unless you're planning on a long run epic or in serious marathon training, where you'll mostly likely be running up to 60 miles per week, you don't need to load up your plate with pasta, cake and bread.

When you're choosing which carbohydrate to eat it's always best to go for wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholegrain pasta and wholemeal bread and choose starchy veg such as sweet potato and butternut squash as these carbs have the added benefit of being lower GI (so you won't get so much of a sugar spike than eating white bread or sugar) and providing you with loads of essential vitamins and minerals.

You need to fuel up before your run

Unless you're planning a hard speed session or long run, where you're going to need a little extra carbohydrate to power your workout, it's not necessary to fuel up before your run. Your body stores carbohydrate, as glycogen, in your muscles ready to be used to power your exercise. Unless you've been working out hard earlier in the day you should have enough glycogen in your body to fuel 60 - 90 minutes of running. Definitely enough for most of your workouts, especially if you're planning a short or easy run.

Also running some workouts with lower levels of glycogen in your body will encourage it to burn fat as fuel. It's worth trying out an easy run on an empty stomach if you're training for a half or marathon, as it might help you run for longer before you deplete your glycogen levels in these longer distance races. However, when I've done this I've always been super hungry after, so if you're looking to lose weight watch the amount you eat after your workout!

So are you guilty of a few of these? If you'd like to tune up your diet for running take a look at Eat Right for Running a programme that''ll help you sort your nutrition and make sure you're fuelled and powered up correctly and ready to run!

Click here to take a look at Eat Right for Running.