Top 5 fat burning foods for runners

When training for a half marathon, the very act of putting one foot in front of the other can be a struggle. If you’re training for a race in the spring, you’re dealing with winter running, which is not the best thing in the world. Training plans and weather constraints can seem very overwhelming if you’re training for your first race. Should you also be concerned with dieting? Just the fact that your running burns calories. So, weight loss will most likely be the result as you start ramping up the mileage and eat moderately healthy. The calories that you do consume matter if your goal is weight loss, especially fat-burning foods. The right calories paired with increased weekly mileage can result in shedding pounds.

You may have heard the phrase, garbage in garbage out. That is true when it comes to your body’s efficiency in burning calories. It really depends where you get those calories. What you eat determines the amount of fat you burn during every run, how quickly your muscles recover, and ultimately, what you get out of your entire training program.

So, if you want to lose weight while training, adding the following top 5 fat burning foods can help with that goal:

Eggs are a power food

Eggs are one of the greatest power foods for runners. They are rich in the type of protein your body can easily absorb and use for fuel. For weight loss, you will need to add more protein at breakfast, and eggs are the perfect breakfast food. To maximize your weight-loss potential, eat more protein but be sure to space it out throughout the day. Starting the day with eggs as a protein source, low in fat and high in B vitamins and free radical-fighting antioxidants, is a powerful way to jump-start your weight loss.

Greek yogurt is a fat burning food

If you haven’t jumped on the Greek yogurt bandwagon yet, now’s your chance. There’s so many reasons that it’s just an awesome food for weight loss. It’s rich in fats, carbohydrates and protein, all of which are great for recovery. It is the protein that helps them build up muscle fibers and increase your metabolism. It’s great for breakfast or for a snack throughout the day. Greek yogurt is rich in casein, which is a slow-digesting milk protein that can keep your muscles fed and metabolism burning as you sleep. One of the best fat-burning foods.

Avocado, one of the best fat burning foods

Potassium is an important electrolyte lost through sweat while running long training miles. Because it’s depleted during your runs it is important to refuel after your runs. I bet you thought that bananas were the best source of potassium for recovery and fuel. Well, you’d be wrong. One cup of sliced avocado has almost twice as much potassium as a whole banana. Plus, they are chock full of mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, which are vital components to weight loss. Put it on some whole wheat toast for breakfast or on a salad for lunch. For weight loss, make avocados your friend.

Whole grains

There are definitely carbs that are not great for your body and your weight loss goals, i.e. white sugars and white flours. But while training, it’s important that you don’t completely cut carbs from your diet. Here’s why. Your body stores carbohydrates in your muscles and liver as glycogen, which is your body’s primary source of fuel for long-distance training runs. 

Choose whole grains carefully

To get the carbs you need without extra weight gain, eat whole grains like:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Steel-cut oats
  • whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta

These will help to fuel your runs and aid in recovery while still providing the fiber that you need for healthy digestion which will help you lose weight more easily.

Lean beef is one of the greatest fat burning foods

Lean proteins are very important for your muscles, but also aid in fat loss. When it comes to meat, beef is especially great for its rich iron content. Iron is a vital nutrient that your body needs to get proper amounts of oxygen to your muscles to properly power your long training runs. Beef sirloin is a great lean option to get the iron you need and as well as help you lose weight. When shopping for ground beef, read the labels. Look for 90 percent lean or leaner.

Honorable mention: Water

So, this isn’t actually a fat-burning food, but water is one of the most important sources of nutrition if you’re seeking weight loss through running. How do you know if you’re getting enough water? An easy way is to know is to weigh yourself before and after training runs, preferably on an empty bladder. If your pre-run weight is 180 pounds, your goal is for your post-run weight to not have dropped by more than 2 pounds. If you lose more than 1% of your weight by sweating during your runs, you need to drink more water. Another way to tell is the coloration of your urine, the closer it resembles water, you’re on the right track. If it looks more like apple juice, drinks more water.

The bottom line on fat burning foods

These fat-burning foods will help get you the calories you need while training. It’s a long grueling process training for a long-distance race and if you make the right choices, food-wise, you’ll also have the added bonus of some additional weight loss. Remember to fuel your machine, not deprive it of the calories it needs. If done correctly, the right calories at the right times paired with increased weekly mileage will not only result in greater running performance but a few fewer pounds when you cross the finish line.