Gaining weight from running seems a bolt in the blue because it is a form of cardio exercise that burns calories. But runners can gain weight from running if they’re not tracking their diet and consuming more calories.
Adding on weight for the time being is not actually a bad thing. You only need to rule out the factors leading to weight gain and monitor your workout.
For example, workouts like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) increase your muscle alongside cardio which causes weight gain.
Therefore, if you want to channel the factors of weight gain, you need to monitor your activities with an owl’s eye.
Firstly, take a piece of paper and jot down your workout routine, including running distance, pre- and post-workout weight, and eating routine.
Next, check out these five reasons for weight gain that match your daily running drill, and take these steps to eliminate your weight gain insecurity.
1. You’re Not Eating A Balanced Diet or Overcompensating
You were fit as a fiddle a week back, but all the calorie loss after running makes you feel hungry constantly, and you end up saying,’ I’ve burnt 500 calories today; let’s order a double deck burger with some fizzy drinks. Voila! You overeat, exercise, and then overeat the next day.
The cycle continues for the subsequent week and your scale is going in the opposite direction. Regret overloaded!
Well, no need to panic as runners can get into this phase of overcompensating the burnt calories by eating heavy meals.
All you need to do is to track your eating routine for a week and add nutrition-dense foods (pulses, lean proteins, and fruits) that have the most nutrients per calorie.
For example, the whole grain contains antioxidants, vitamins, zinc, magnesium, iron, and copper. Consume such nutrient-dense food when you feel hungry instead of unhealthy meals to prevent weight gain.
The second solution is to eat a healthy snack or a light meal every few hours so you won’t binge on all the food at once when you’re hungry.
Also, instead of eating a heavy meal after your run, try some chocolate milk or a fresh smoothie to prevent the whacky feel in your stomach.
2. Taking Too Much Liquid Calories After Running
Another reason for weight gain in runners can be due to high liquid calorie intake before and after runs to compensate for the calorie burnt during running.
If you’re a marathon or short-distance runner, you need to pay more attention to your liquid calorie intake.
The market is inundated with several beverages containing proteins, caffeine, vitamins, and minerals. Most runners habitually drink sports beverages like sugary fruit and carbonated drinks during long-distance running to overcome fluid and electrolyte loss.
Some healthy and low-calorie drinks that prevent weight gain are homemade iced tea, vegetable and fruit smoothie, and homemade mint lemonade and melon smoothies.
3. Your Muscle Mass Is Increasing Causing Weight Gain
A gradual weight gain after a heavy workout or long-distance running is not troublesome.
If you’ve been doing HIIT running or high-intensity training in the gym, you’re building muscle alongside cardio.
A comparative study revealed in 2016 that high-frequency strength training showed an increase in lean mass and muscle mass causing weight gain.
As a runner, you must not forget that muscle tissue is denser than fat tissue. Therefore, you’ll naturally gain weight if you’re doing high-intensity training. It’s because you’re building your muscle strength.
If your outfits are tighter than before and your body mass feels firmer, you can scrutinize that the weight gain is due to muscle improvement.
Keep the balls rolling! Your muscles are gaining strength and your body is getting healthier than before.
4. Your Body Is Reacting To Inflammation
Once you’re on the running track, your body is bound to go through some changes. So, it is normal for your body to react to heavy workouts.
After 4 to 5 days of running continuously, your muscles undergo loads of stress that causes microtears in your muscle fibers.
To overcome the damage, the blood vessels dilate and leak out fluid in the damaged area to promote healing. A temporary fluid build-up causes swelling that can confer to weight gain.
Temporary inflammation can hamper your running performance as your output decreases. But after you take some rest from running, the swelling wears off.
So no need to get shocked when you see your scales going in the opposite direction.
However, suppose severe inflammation is getting in your way. In that case, you can follow quick tips to speed up the healing process, which include getting better sleep, avoiding alcohol, and doing recovery running.
5. Running At the Same Pace Daily
You might get into a 3-mile loop daily if you’re a regular runner. But if you practice the same running drill daily, your body gets a little too used to it.
Your muscles quickly adapt to the daily running workouts; thus, you burn fewer calories and might not see any improvement on the scales, or worse, it might move in the wrong direction.
Therefore, if you want to prevent weight gain, the key is to mix up your running drill with different pavements to increase or decrease the running pace and the time of your running too. Your muscles will become more efficient and stronger, and you will not gain weight.
Another solution to get creative with your running drill is to try incorporating speed intervals at least one run per week. Start by warming up and running at your usual pace, then gradually increase your speed for 5-10 minutes, and then move on to the recovery run.
You can continue this pattern after you take a rest in between and also increase the time of your speed intervals.
3 Quick Tips to Lose Weight Healthily
Some runners go for unhealthy ways to lose weight, such as skipping meals, completely cutting out certain nutrients, or even working out on an empty stomach.
Here are three easy-peasy steps to follow if you want to lose weight the healthier way.
1. Plan Your Calorie intake
Most athletes follow a low-calorie eating routine to adapt to eating less. But they often forget that being too restrictive on yourself is like leaving the door unlocked for diseases to enter your body. You can lose way too many pounds at a time which is unhealthy, especially for runners.
If you wish to avoid this pattern, simply plan your weekly calorie intake and add balanced meals to your diet.
Some foods that are popular among runners to ensure healthy weight loss is:
Salmon: is a highly-protein-rich food that can help control hunger and boost metabolism. Additionally, the omega-3 fatty acids increase fat burning and improve insulin sensitivity, leading to improved weight management.
Lean Proteins: beans, lentils, and pulses can help lose weight by reducing the overall calorie intake, increasing metabolic rate, and promoting fat burning.
Sweet Potatoes: provide complex carbohydrates and vitamins that help preserve muscle strength, provide sustained energy, and improve insulin sensitivity, promoting fat loss and weight management.
However, do not restrict yourself solely to these foods but incorporate them into a balanced diet.
2. Create a Running Schedule That Works for You
As a regular runner, you can easily shift to autopilot mode, where you run the same sessions daily but do not track your running routine. You fall into the blind pattern of running on the track.
Getting yourself out of the unhealthy running pattern is essential to build muscle strength and losing weight to keep fit and healthy. To ensure this, most coaches suggest beginner runners start by making a weekly running schedule,
Having a training plan in hand will help you monitor the changes in your body, increase accountability and give direction to your training.
Whether you’re gaining muscle mass or losing pounds, you can easily acknowledge the good and bad results and change your running pattern.
Sit down and write your daily running session, running distance, running form, and what changes you want to make to help you lose weight.
Set your four to six-week running goals, considering your weight gain, conditioning, nutrition, and recovery.
Monitor these changes weekly and stay flexible and adaptable to your running routine.
3. Incorporate a combination of cardio and strength training
While making your running training plan, incorporate strength training exercises and cardio training to ensure healthy changes in your body.
You might gain weight due to increased muscle mass by doing strength training, but cardio training will help your weight stay balanced.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular training per week for adults. Simultaneously, you can build your core, and upper and lower body muscles twice weekly.
One research published in Nature also suggests that a cardio workout before strength training enhances your overall performance.
During strength training, you build muscle by burning fat, which tones your body and makes you look healthy and fit.
If you’re looking for several strength training exercises, you can start with press-ups, step-ups, and squats before your running session.
Nevertheless, by incorporating strength-building exercises with running, you can easily burn excess calories, promoting weight loss and improving overall fitness.
All in all, you can totally expect to gain weight by running. A reasonable step is to rule out the reasons causing your scales to move opposite to your desired direction, and then, you can revamp your running schedules and build your routine accordingly.