3 Reasons Why You Are Struggling To Lose Weight With Running

Although running is a fantastic activity for losing weight, many people still struggle to get the weight loss results they expect.

Quite often I receive comments and emails from frustrated people which go along the lines of…

"I started running and have been doing it for several months. I enjoy running and my health and fitness is improving, but I just haven’t lost much weight which is really disappointing."

So let’s take a look at some reasons why your weight loss may be slower than what you hoped, and just as importantly, what you can do about it.

To do this I’ve explained 3 important factors to help you understand more about the process of losing weight with running…

  1. Muscle v’s fat

During your early running progress it’s likely that you’ll gain some slight muscle due to challenging your body more, while at the same time losing weight from fat.

The weight gain from muscle can often slow down your weight loss results at the start even though you’re losing weight from fat. However, remember that this is temporary.

Your muscles may grow slightly but they won’t keep growing. On the other hand, you can keep losing weight from fat which results in faster weight loss.

Also remember that even if your weight isn’t shifting much you can still be making great progress. You can still be making great improvements to your health and fitness, and body shape.

One thing you can do to see these improvements is to measure your body fat percentage so that you can identify the exact transformation that’s going on inside your body.

You can also take some body measurements and you may find that you’re getting smaller and more toned. This is because muscle is denser than fat and therefore takes up less space for the same amount of weight.

To explain this, imagine that fat is like a ball of feathers and muscle is like a ball of steel. If you had 1kg of feathers it would take up much more space than 1kg of steel.

Now imagine that you took 1kg of fat (feathers) from your body and replaced it with 1kg of muscle (steel). You would weigh exactly the same but your body would be smaller.

  1. Low calorie burning ability

When most people start running they struggle to run for any great length of time or distance. That’s why the number of calories they are able to burn is limited.

However, the fitter you become the longer distance you can run, the longer time you can run, and the quicker you can run.

So as a beginner runner you may burn 150 calories with 15 minutes running mixed with walking, but then you progress to burning 400 calories with 30 minutes running.

Remember that the better you become at running, and the fitter you become, the more calories you can burn which makes it easier to lose weight.

  1. No longer improving

A major problem that many people have when trying to lose weight with running is that they stop improving their running ability.

The main reasons behind this are that they’re either using the wrong type of running methods in relation to their fitness and running ability, or they get stuck in a rut because they feel comfortable doing the same old runs every week.

When your fitness and running ability stops improving, then the number of calories that you burn from running also stays the same.

So you may lose weight for a while, but as your body gets smaller you’ll eventually reach a stage where the number of calories that you burn equals the number of calories that you consume. Therefore, you stop losing weight.

By always improving your fitness and running ability, you can keep increasing the number of calories you burn which gives you the best chance of keeping your weight loss going.

Here are the key points to remember…

  • Muscle gain and fat loss can offset each other, especially at the start of your running journey. However, even if your weight isn’t shifting much you can still be making great improvements to your health and fitness, and body shape
  • Be persistent with running and stick at it. The better you become at running, and the fitter you become, the more calories you can burn which makes it easier to lose weight
  • Always aim to improve your fitness and running ability. By doing this you increase the amount of calories you burn which makes it easier to keep your weight loss going

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight with running then I hope this blog post has given you hope and encouragement to keep going and keep improving.

You are on a journey, and each step you take moves you one step closer to the weight, health, fitness, and body that you want. Keep going!


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4 Responses to 3 Reasons Why You Are Struggling To Lose Weight With Running

  1. Peter Smith says:

    Hi james just started to run or should i say pushed into running a half marathon for cancer research on the 18th of march, i know its very short notice and ive had 5 days training up to now and finding it very hard at the moment, stiff legs and cant control my breathing, i know this is due to being unfit and will get better ( i hope ) reasons for doing this is my mum has just been told she has cancer and all the family and some friends are doing the run for her. i read your email the other night 7 steps which was spot on am running to markers and better them each night i am finding it easier each nite running but still cant control it i have to walk until i get my breath back and start again. James thanks for your help – peter.

    • James says:

      I’m glad that you’re finding my help useful Peter. It sounds like you’re off to a good start with your running.

      As you’re finding out, starting running can be one of the hardest parts. It can take time for your body to adapt to running and you’re also not used to the heavy breathing. Keep going though and there’s no reason why you can’t do very well.

      I’m sorry to hear about your Mum getting cancer. You’ll not be alone during your race because many people do events like half marathons for charity and for their family. I’m sure she’ll be very proud of you all.

      Anyway, keep up the good running and keep improving. I also hope you do well with your half marathon and raise plenty of money for cancer research.

  2. sakoon says:

    Hi James,

    I am doing well in my running now, done two 5ks run. But i am struggling on the hills. Can you help me with some training to improve on the hill. Thanks

    • James says:

      I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well with your running Sakoon.

      I may do a blog post about hill running in the future. There’s also a “Hill running” section in my eBooks that you bought over a year ago which has some tips.