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Does Running Burn Fat? Your Questions, Answered

14th February 2022

14th February 2022

By Shivraj Bassi

If you’re looking to start exercising with the goal of losing weight, running is one of the most accessible ways possible to work out. It’s free (assuming you have some decent running shoes), you can make a stab at it no matter your fitness level, and it can slot easily into your life, no matter if you’re an early riser or a night owl

As well as being accessible, running is a genuinely great way to start shedding the pounds - if you go about it in the right way. While you might think that it’s the running itself which is the most important thing about running for weight loss, this isn’t always true.

Often, what you do before and after your run, and how you nourish yourself at those times, can have more of an effect than the run itself. The Energy Booster is a great example of a pre-workout that is the perfect way to boost your energy levels for a run. 

With this article, you’ll be able to plan the best way to start running to lose weight, no matter the length or speed of your runs. 

Does running help you lose weight?

Ah, the eternal question.

The answer is yes, if by running you’re boosting your activity level to above what it was before. If you’re new to exercise and you start running, even just for short periods of time, the fact that you’re burning additional calories and exercising is probably going to mean that you drop a few kilos if you do it regularly enough. 

However, it’s likely that you will hit a running and weight loss plateau. Think about it - if you’re running for 30 minutes a day three times a week for weeks and months on end, the progress you’re making both in terms of your running ability and your weight loss will stall, because nothing is progressing or changing. You’re still burning calories by running, but the amount of calories you’re burning is not increasing. 

To change this once you’ve been in the same routine for a while, and to continue running to lose weight, you need to alter your pattern. This could include going for longer runs, trying to increase your running speed, or running up hills rather than on a flat surface. The goal is to do more than you did before - this is how you’ll see tangible bodily results. 

Cardio for weight loss

While it’s the physical act of running that will burn off those calories, considering your diet is a huge part of running for weight loss. The last thing you want to do is overcompensate with calories after your runs, thinking that you’ve earned it. You have earned it - but you want to be aiming for a protein shake and a banana as post-run fuel, not a stack of pancakes with syrup.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who started exercising recently have a tendency to overcompensate with calories after a workout, meaning that they lose less weight than they expected. Don’t fall into that trap. 

It’s a better tactic to think in terms of how many miles you ran, as opposed to how many minutes you ran for. Your body burns around 100 calories a mile, so if you’ve run three miles fast or you’ve run three miles slowly, that’s still only 300 calories burned. 

What to eat before and after a run

For a short run, you don’t need to eat anything as a pre-workout snack. Save your calories for something to eat post-workout. If you’re running for hours at a time, however, or training for a marathon or other kind of long run, it’s essential to get some fuel in your tank before you leave the house. 

After your run, drink a large glass of water before consuming anything else, which has the dual benefits of ensuring that you’re properly hydrated and filling your stomach so you don’t feel as immediately starving hungry as you might otherwise. 

Next, it's time for a protein shake 

Then, we recommend knocking up an Innermost protein shake. Targeted to your nutrition and exercise goals, they’re formulated to help you get where you want to go. Try The Strong Protein to enable you to push yourself harder, reduce inflammation and speed up recovery to help you get stronger, quicker. Or if you’re looking to work yourself as hard as you can in your workout regime, give The Fit Protein a go. It’s formulated to rehydrate and restore energy, and support muscle growth and repair. 

It’s very much worth considering your diet as a whole as well, rather than just what you’re consuming before and after runs. Eating healthily should be holistic and should extend to every area of your life - you’re not going to lose weight by running if you’re eating an ice cream sundae for dessert every single night.


So, can you lose weight by running? Absolutely. Get those running shoes on!

The Insight section of our website has tons of great food ideas for staying nutritionally optimised, as well as recipes for things such as protein bars and smoothies for when you really want to treat your body well. By eating in the way that’s best for you and your body, you’ll keep food cravings at bay and continue fruitfully on your running and weight loss journey. 

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more