Thursday, May 28, 2015
How to Gain Weight While Being a Runner
Truth be told, most people who run, want to shed a few pounds or trim down and shape up.
I hear a lot of people say, I can't wait to train for a marathon, just thinking about how much weight I will lose in the process is exciting... Then months later they discover they may be training, but they are also gaining weight.
Why is this? It's very simple, once you start running and burning all those calories you tend to get hungry, and when we are hungry we tend to eat or in some cases overeat.
If we are already over weight, and not changing our eating habits as we are running. We aren't actually making the healthy changes needed to give us the overall results.
Or another common mistake is thinking we went out and ran 5 miles, and then decide to treat ourselves to a treat for our efforts.
If you step back and look at how many calories you actually burn in a 5 or even 15 mile run. Then look at the amount of calories in the reward meal after, or treat... More than likely you're going to find, you're still eating more than your burning.
Another huge and very common mistake is energy drinks or energy bars. They are thrown in our faces as runners as the go to item we must have. They trick us into believing that we actually need them each run to preform better and to sustain energy.
In fact they have very expensive ad campaigns designed to do just that, trick us into believing because something says it's for runners, or fitness enthusiasts, or that it is a health bar, that it is actually good for us. When in all actuality, they are chalked full of calories and sugars and not really all that healthy.
The fact is, unless you have one of those metabolisms that you can't gain any weight no matter what you do. (If you do, I am jealous!) Those energy drinks and bars, are going to be most runners downfalls.
Sure, it looks like liquid, or is so small that it fits in the palm of our hand to squeeze or bite into. But if you look at the calories, look at the amount of sugar inside. You'd realize most people don't burn enough in one workout to equal that which is in an energy drink.
Truth is, energy drinks/bars/supplements aren't really needed for regular training. Yup, I said it and it's true!
Most of the time they aren't even needed in a race. In my own personal opinion when you think about the calories inside them, nearly any distance short of a marathon and you can easily over eat more calories than you are burning.
Just think in a 5k, if you stop and drink an energy drink mid race, in 1 drink alone you just went over the amount that you burn in the race itself. Then if you have another right after the race, your just adding calories that will turn into pounds on your body over time..
So if you are a runner, and I can write this post based on fact, because I have been there, I have made the mistake of eating too much vs. what I am burning...
Take a look at what you're eating, track the calories, write them down. Then compare them to what you're actually burning during that workout.
If you are gaining weight, or not losing weight while training for a race of any distance. Then there is your answer.
If you want to lose weight, you have to create a daily deficit in calories, it's that simple.
I remember once, I had just ran a marathon. The next day I was on a flight with literally a plane full of runners, including the race winner. Our flight was cancelled and we were all put up in the same hotel and picked up very early the next morning to make our re-scheduled flights.
I was sitting next to this couple who had just ran the same race I did, I had run the full and they had both run the half. They both were lean and looked like they were in great shape.
I looked like I was in shape, but lean is not something one would call me, as I have the girly curves and a few extra pounds.
I didn't have time to get anything for breakfast so I just decided to grab something after I got through security. I didn't have many options, but decided I might as well grab a McMuffin.
I grabbed it and headed back to the terminal.
When I got back, I sat down right across from the lean couple I rode over with to the airport.
Guess what they were eating.... Rice cakes, and a yogurt and they were completely satisfied with it. In fact, the woman didn't even finish hers. I finished my McMuffin and the hashbrown they gave me easily.
Right then I realized, this is the difference between runners like myself and runners who are lean.
Is there a right or wrong? Nope! Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and whatever you're comfortable with, that is what is important. You never have to be anything other than what makes you happy.
For myself, who's always wanted to shed a pound or five... Weight loss is something I would like, but unfortunately I wasn't eating the right way.
Is it hard to eat fewer calories, when you are running high mileage? Definitely, especially at first. You can feel hungry all the time. But like you're training your body to build up mileage for races. You can also train your body to run on what is needed, not more than, in the calorie sense.
It's possible! I have seen thousands of runners at many races I run who can pull it off, so it really comes down to willpower and wanting it.
This post isn't meant to hurt any feelings. It's a fact that a lot of runners don't know why they can't lose weight or why they are gaining weight. Even runners who are running 40-60 miles a week can easily gain weight.
Instead this post is meant to give a little food for thought on the subject. If losing weight is something you're interested in, and your a runner and it's not happening.
Take a little look at the daily and weekly numbers, what are you eating, and how much? I won't say it will be easy, but I will say with some willpower and a little time, you can train yourself to not overeat and not to have those intense hunger cravings after runs. Additionally, you can also un-train yourself to feel you need energy drinks and supplements with all workouts and re think how you use them, or if you need them at all.
Are you a runner like me who has had trouble in the past and actually gained weight while training for marathons or other races?