When you want to lose some weight, you’d probably hear the suggestion “Go for a run.” This is not an uncommon advice since running has been proven to be an age-old exercise that delivers numerous health benefits. So in order to achieve that lean runner’s physique, you lace up your running shoes and decide to swap your 6 am snooze time for a morning run around the block instead.
However, you might not be the first to notice that even after running religiously every day, the scales just wouldn’t budge. While the daily runs help you to feel much better, have more energy and improve your mood, you’re still not losing the pounds. What are you doing wrong?
The Calorie Conundrum
There are many factors that contribute to weight loss but the most basic concept is to track your daily calories. In theory, in order to shed one pound, you have to burn 3,500 calories. But an extra 3,500 calories will also mean gaining one pound. How does that work for weight loss?
Even if you are doing nothing, your body still burns calories. This is called BMR or basal metabolic rate. This number ranges depending on your weight, age and body composition. The average BMR for males is around 1662 calories and 1493 calories for females. So just by breathing and living, you are already burning these calories.
However, that number is usually offset by the calories we get from food every day. Let’s say you take in 2,000 calories today, that means you still have an extra 300-500 calories you need to burn so you will not gain weight. To lose a pound, you need to burn another 3,000 calories.
How do you burn these calories? Physical activity like exercise is a great way to burn calories. This is the reason why people go to the gym and sweat it out in order to shed the pounds. But the problem usually happens when you overestimate how much calories you are burning.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, a 30-minute run at 5mph will only burn 240-355 calories. Many people do not realize that it will take at least ten more runs before they can shed one single pound just by running. When people overestimate their efforts, this can lead to compensating with food. Are you aware that giving in to that one single cupcake can actually erase the calories you have burned from a 30-minute run?
It is undeniable that running is a great cardiovascular exercise and the go-to workout if you want to burn the calories, but combining it with calisthenics for weight loss might just be the perfect combination that you’re looking for.
Combining running with calisthenics for weight loss
The many feel-good and beneficial effects of running are enough reasons for you to fall in love with the sport so there’s really no reason why you should stop your early morning runs. But if you are wanting to get those pesky pounds off and tone your body, combining your run with a calisthenics routine is a convenient and practical way to do so.
Using calisthenics for weight loss may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when looking for a new exercise routine. Aside from running, you may opt for a gym membership using exercise machines or sign up for some group exercise classes. However, practicing a calisthenics exercises is actually a great complement to your existing running habit.
Just like running, you don’t really need any equipment to start calisthenics. Calisthenics is a form of exercise that uses only your bodyweight as resistance. You can perform your calisthenics workout at home before your run, at the park, or anywhere you want to. You don’t need to be stuck with a set time or schedule because you can practice calisthenics any time at your own pace.
Some of the most popular calisthenics exercises that will be a great supplement to your running are squats, lunges, push-ups, bench dips and planks. These exercises are compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. If these are too easy for you, you can try pull-ups and chin-ups as well. You can also level up your calisthenics routine by performing jump squats, walking lunges, burpees and mountain climbers for an added cardiovascular element in your routine.
If you look at the same Harvard study, you will find that a 30-minute session of vigorous calisthenics burns the same rate of calories as running, which is 240-355 calories. However, what is interesting to note is that calisthenics exercises not only burns calories but also strengthens your muscles and helps you build muscle mass with continuous practice. Why is this important?
Remember BMR or the calories you burn at rest that was discussed earlier? Well, one key to increase your calorie burn is to also boost your BMR and this can be done by increasing your muscle mass. The more muscles you have in your body, the higher the calories you can burn at rest.
Beyond the weighing scale
Another benefit of adding calisthenics for weight loss is the muscle toning benefits it delivers. Many people who try to lose weight by just following a strict diet plan or aerobic exercises also tend to lose muscle mass. When this happens, unattractive sagging skin may occur. This is the reason why many people may weigh less but they actually look bigger than people who have more muscle tone.
When you practice calisthenics exercises that help build muscle mass, you can prevent the appearance of saggy skin. Your body will look tighter and toned. Keep in mind that when you build muscle, this may not immediately relate to lost pounds. Gaining more muscle may mean the scales may also go up. When this happens, don’t be discouraged. The best way is to look at the inches lost and the appearance of your body. Muscle is denser than fat so while you may actually weigh more, your body can look slimmer and more toned.
If your goal is to get the best body you can have and gain numerous health benefits at the same time, combining running with calisthenics is a great start.
Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body. After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a full-time calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition.