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Lose Fat - Gain Strength - A Few Diet and Exercise Tips for Distance Runners

My friend emailed me this week asking me for advice on how to lose weight based on my own experiences and information I've learned over the years. I wouldn't consider him overweight; he's about 6 feet and 185 pounds. And wants to go down to about £ 170. Although I do not claim to be an expert I have succeeded in not only losing a lot of weight but also maintaining weight loss; and, as most of my friends can attest, I've read practically everything I can about nutrition.


To successfully lose fat and gain both Diet AND Exercise is important and go hands-on. If you are overweight or obese, making simple changes to your diet will result in rapid weight loss because you have lost a lot; However, at one point supplement exercise is important to keep making progress. I recommend that you make changes to your diet and start exercising at the same time to reduce your fat loss and to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of active living immediately. You should also see this as a lifestyle change rather than a temporary diet in which you return to your old routine when you lose weight. I'm sure you've heard people say, "I can't wait to lose the last 10 lbs, so I can turn off this diet, I miss the ice cream so much and that would be my gift!" Guess what, this attitude is the main reason 90% of all people who lose weight actually gain more than they lose in the first place.


At 24, I lose weight easily for a number of reasons. I was young, a smoker who had never worked and had one of the worst diets you could imagine. Believe it or not, this is what I would eat on a normal weekday:

Breakfast - 3 Mrs. Fields Cookies and 44 oz. Coke (my office is in a mall)

Lunch - MacDonald's Super Food with Super Size Coke

Mid-Afternoon - 44 oz Coke

Dinner - Whether eating at Chilean, Burger, Fries, Chips and Salsa and Soda restaurants or if eating at home, something else is unhealthy and overwhelming.

Dessert - Around 9:00 pm, I'll have a big bowl of ice cream. I would also drink about one liter of Coke every evening and drink alcohol maybe 3 times a week.

My calorie intake is over 5,000 calories a day while I only burn about 2500 calories; it was amazing that I didn't weigh much and I was lucky because I caught it when I did! The changes I made were dramatic as I cut out all the fast food and soda, started resistance training and cardio programs, restricted my alcohol intake and started planning my weekly meals. I would eat my lunch for work, roast chicken on Sundays and freeze them for dinner all week and carefully monitor my calorie intake so that it matches my output (or in this case I aim for weight loss calorie deficit) . But let's say you're like my friend and you don't need as much distance as I do; you just want to clear things up. Here are some tips:

1. SERVICE SKIP SERVICE - It is the most important meal of the day and jumps starting with your metabolism. Try to find a good combination of high-fiber complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats; I start each day with the Optimum Power Path Cereal, Nature Scheme and some added raisins. If I'm in a pinch and don't have my grain, I usually go for a bagel of wheat with all the peanut butter and latte scheme.

2. Eat food - You really need to eat 5 to 6 foods that make sense throughout the day. Think of your metabolism as a fire, if you burn it and don't tend to burn it slowly but if you start a fire you will come back to life; These small foods serve to stimulate your metabolism. My typical weekdays look like this: I eat my breakfast (described above), eat 2 oatmeal Mom's raisins at 10.00am, Turkish lunch and Spinach on wheat bread along with wheat pretzels and apples, lunch snacks / pre-workout Odwalla or Clif Bar, for chicken breast or salmon dinner with brown rice or potatoes, steamed broccoli and carrots and then for yogurt-free dessert with berries and almonds. In addition, immediately after my training, I took a latte scheme and I usually have 1/2 ounce 60% chocolate Khiri Ghirardelli chocolate placed there somewhere.

3. BE CONSISTENT - "But Carey, I need some variety and I can't eat the same thing every day." It's fine, I really enjoy my routine and do the splits with a comparable substitute but I still make sure I make healthy choices and maintain my calorie intake. When I say consistency does not mean the same thing, at the same time, every day; it simply means not having yo-yo in your diet where one day you make healthy choices and then opt for muffins and fries. Even if you eat the same amount of calories on your healthy day instead of unhealthy there is more to it; keep in mind that quality is just as important as quantity especially when it comes to endurance and endurance training.

4. It's OK FOR "CHEAT" - Occasionally. Allow yourself a week's worth of car breaks; this actually helps your body to get out of the routine and surprisingly return to fat burning mode. Remember that this is a lifestyle choice; if you completely deprive yourself, you will not succeed. As time goes by and you make healthier choices including cereals, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and other body and mind you no longer crave processed, high quality foods that are sweet for you; it's funny how this works, but believe me, it's true.

5. HYDRATION AND ALCOHOL - Cut all soda and sweet drinks; Personally I drink diet soda but some Puritans out there say to cut this too. Water is always the best choice! As far as alcoholic beverages are concerned, you should cut back to the minimum and drink moderately. If you are going to drink have red wine or drinks such as vodka and club soda; stay away from high sugar drinks like margaritas and mix your spirits with soda. I don't drink alcohol at all for a few different reasons but I'm not saying you need to cut it completely, just be smart about it and know that calories in alcohol can increase quickly. Not to mention your disappointment and hit the Taco Bell for the infamous "Fourth Eating"; we all have ...

Above is just the tip of a small mountain; As athletes, nutrition is very important to ensure that we not only do our best but also maintain a strong immune system and that our mind works well. The book I highly recommend collecting is Eat Right to Train Rights by Chris Carmichael; I consider it a "Bible" diet for athletes. is a great website for assessing nutritional value / content and also determining your calorie expenditure; DON'T let this tool create a food obsession where you record and analyze everything. My recommendation is to track your food intake over a 3-day period that will give you a baseline to help determine what changes you need to make and if a hole is in your diet.


Over the past year my perspective and approach to training has changed a bit and has grown from a mere focus on cardio (walking) to a combination of resistance training, yoga and cardio to become stronger and healthier. Also, since studying for my CSCS Exam, I've learned more about the importance of resistance training and the disadvantages of following aerobic air conditioning routines only. Although aerobic cooling is effective for burning calories and fat, it is not the most effective way to build muscle and many studies have suggested that it can be done otherwise. The amount of muscle that directly affects your metabolic rate; more muscle means more calories burned, it's that simple and the most effective way to build muscle is through resistance training. Resistance training does not just mean weight training; Pilates, yoga (especially power yoga) and bootstrap exercises are another great way to build muscle if you're not a big fan of pumping iron in the gym. As a endurance runner, having a strong core is essential to improving performance; When you are deep into the race, the core muscles help you maintain your shape and avoid injury. Since incorporating yoga, pilates, workouts and weight training into my routine while maintaining my cardio component (running 50 miles a week), I have done better and felt stronger than I did while running was my sole focus. My goal as an ultra runner is not to increase bulk but to increase strength; there is a big difference. Yoga, pilates and weight / height training allow you to do this without adding a ton of mass.

As most of you know, muscles are heavier than fat so if you just use the scale to measure your progress, you may find yourself disappointed. Last fall I weighed 165 lbs. and after a relatively short winter and increasing my resistance and yoga training £ 175. My diet was "clean" from before, I was working an average of 10 - 12 hours a week and feeling stronger than ever before so I was happy with I know because I know that weight gain is a result of fat loss and fat loss. It took me a while to stop focusing on the scale and just look in the mirror; once i do i like what i see :-)

As I said at the beginning I don't claim to be an expert here and continue to learn more every day in my experiments. Some of the above may work for you, and some may not; The method of losing weight seems to be quite simple, burning more calories than you eat. But, as I have known over the years and in my studies, there is more to it. On the other hand, many of us have simple improvements that we can make in our daily lives to produce quick results. Of course, the less you have to lose the more complicated it gets.


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