Running is an excellent activity for weight loss, but it’s not just about running miles – diet plays a crucial role in weight management and performance, too.
Proper nutrition can help runners achieve their weight loss goals and provide the necessary nutrients to fuel their workouts. Without the right diet, it can be easy to lose motivation. This article explores some of the best diet plans for runners looking to lose weight whilst fuelling well for running, too.
1. Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is often considered the gold standard of diets for promoting heart health and weight loss. This diet plan encourages the consumption of healthy fats such as olive oil, seeds, and nuts, as well as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins such as fish. The key features of this diet are consuming in moderation, portion-controlled meals and mostly plant-based foods. The best diet plans for runners are best, in my opinion, if you can stick to them easily, and this is by far the tastiest!
2. High-Protein Diet
A high-protein diet can aid in weight loss by helping preserve lean muscle mass whilst reducing body fat. All runners require a high amount of protein to help recovery after workouts – in other words, this could help reduce the painfulness of DOMS! Good protein sources include lean meats, such as chicken and turkey, fish, and plant-based proteins such as tofu, tempeh and legumes.
3. Vegan Diet
A vegan diet can lead to healthy weight loss due to the relatively low calorie-density of plant-based foods, as well as the reduced consumption of processed and animal-derived products. A Vegan diet sees people consume plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and non-dairy based alternatives. Just be sure to avoid too much processed food and ‘cheat meats’ (things that try too hard to replicate actual meat). Vegans can still get plenty of protein from plant-based sources such as tofu, quinoa, lentils and legumes.
4. Whole Foods Diet
A whole-food diet involves consuming foods in their natural form and avoiding processed foods. This type of diet is beneficial for weight loss due to the high volume of fibre packed in whole plant-based foods, which helps reduce hunger and promote satiety. The focus of this diet plan is primarily on consuming whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds while excluding processed foods.
5. Low-Carb Diet
A low-carb diet focuses on reducing carbohydrates such as bread, rice and pasta, which are typically high in calories, to support weight loss. A low-carb diet can be effective for runners since it can help minimise bloating caused by carbohydrate consumption, thus reducing the amount of water retention around muscles. Low-carb diets can still enable runners to obtain the necessary carbohydrates from low-starch, high-fibre fruits and vegetables, such as peppers, asparagus and leafy greens.
Many people believe that you cannot run well whilst dieting. This is untrue, though reducing calories too drastically can obviously have a negative impact on your stamina. Losing weight as a runner involves a combination of regular exercise and the right diet plan. Nutrient-dense, protein-rich diets will aid in muscle recovery and support sustainable weight loss while ensuring an adequate fuel supply for workouts.