I’m Not Losing Weight, Why?

Q: Six months ago I started doing cardio to lose weight. I began walking 30 minutes three times a week, now I’m running 60 minutes five days a week. I feel like I’ve been putting in a lot of time, but I haven’t lost any weight in the last two months, why?

A: To continue to lose weight you may need to adjust your training regime. The problem is the fact that your body adapts to the stimulus you give it. If you lift weights, for example your body responds by getting stronger allowing you to lift heavier weights; if you eat only two meals per day your body adapts by slowing your metabolism (not a good thing if you want to lose weight) so you don’t starve. When you do aerobic training as in your case, your body becomes more efficient at running, so your body requires less energy to complete the task, resulting in less caloric burn.

When you started running 60 minutes it used to be very hard, on an intensity scale of 1 to 10 it might have been an 8 or 9 (meaning it’s harder), now that you’ve conditioned yourself it may only be a 5 or 6 (meaning it’s easier). So to continue to improve you have to workout harder and harder to achieve weight loss. To do this you can run longer, add hills or go faster which will bring your intensity back up to an 8 or 9. If weight loss is you goal, there’s no fun in running 70 minutes up hill to burn the same amount of calories you used to burn in 60 minutes on flat land.

While you can increase the time of your run to burn more calories, to make your workout more time efficient my recommendation is to add hills or speed increases. The best way to do this is with interval training, which will be a little harder, but saves you a lot of time and gets a much better result. If you can currently run 30 minutes you’ll add work intervals such as small hills or all out sprints (level 9 or 10) for 60 seconds every four minutes.

As you improve from month to month gradually decrease your rest interval time from 3 minutes to 2 minutes and finally to 1 minute. The shorter rest intervals will keep your work intervals feeling hard; a level 8 or 9. As you get better conditioned you can also add steeper hills and faster sprints keeping it at a level 9 or 10 and you’ll never stop burning fat.

Minutes 1-3 normal pace
Minute 4 sprint or hill (level 9)
Minutes 5-7 normal pace
Minutes 8 sprint or hill (level 9)
Minute 9-11 normal pace
Minutes 12 sprint or hill (level 9)
Minutes 13-15 normal pace
Minute 16 sprint or hill (level 9)
Minutes 17-19 normal pace
Minutes 20 sprint or hill (level 9)
Minute 21-23 normal pace
Minutes 24 sprint or hill (level 9)
Minutes 25-27 normal pace
Minute 28 sprint or hill (level 9)
Minutes 29-30 normal pace

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