Looking for the best way to start running when you’re overweight? Then you come to the right place.
Getting into running when you’re really out of shape can be overwhelming. The fear of judgment from others can be paralyzing, and the fear of failure can be even worse.
But I’m here to tell you that those fears are just illusions. With a little bit of guidance and a whole lot of determination, anyone can become a runner, no matter their size or fitness level.
In this guide, I’ll share with you the tools and techniques that helped me go from couch potato to marathon runner.
We’ll explore the benefits of running for weight loss, dispel the myths about running when fat, and even dive into the nitty-gritty of proper running technique.
But most importantly, I’ll show you how to find the motivation and inspiration you need to keep going, even when the going gets tough.
So, are you ready to take that first step towards a healthier, happier you? Together, we’ll break free from the chains of self-doubt and unlock the full potential of our bodies. Let’s lace up those running shoes and hit the pavement!
Fat People Running? FAQ
People often ask me if running is good for fat people.
And the answer is, of course, yes!
Running regularly can help you shed pounds and keep them off, even though it may be tough to get started, especially if you’ve been inactive for a while.
While it’s true that running is high-impact and can take a toll on your joints, the dangers of being overweight far outweigh the risks of running. In fact, the extra weight can wreak havoc on your body, far more than running ever could.
Here are some research papers that looked into the impact of running on overweight people:
- A 2018 study published in the Journal of Obesity found that a 16-week running program resulted in significant weight loss and improved cardiorespiratory fitness in overweight and obese adults. Participants who ran for at least 150 minutes per week lost an average of 5.5 pounds and improved their VO2 max by 5.6 mL/kg/min. The study suggests that running can be an effective way to improve weight and fitness levels in overweight individuals.
- A 2017 study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that running may be more effective than walking for weight loss in overweight and obese adults. The study compared the effects of running and walking on body composition and metabolic health markers in a group of sedentary, overweight adults. After 12 weeks, the runners lost more weight and body fat than the walkers, and also experienced greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels.
- A 2014 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that running can be an effective way to reduce abdominal fat in overweight and obese individuals. The study followed a group of sedentary, overweight adults who engaged in a 12-week running program. At the end of the study, the participants had reduced their waist circumference and abdominal fat mass, suggesting that running can target and reduce visceral fat in overweight individuals.
Am I Too Fat to Run?
If you’re wondering if you’re too fat to run, let me stop you right there.
There’s no such thing. With the right program and mindset, anyone can become a runner, regardless of their size. I won’t pretend that it will be easy, but trust me, the feeling of crossing that finish line after months of hard work is priceless.
So don’t let self-doubt hold you back. As long as you can walk, breathe, and sweat, you can become a runner. You may start out slow, but with dedication and consistency, you’ll soon be lapping past your old self. And as a bonus, running burns calories like nobody’s business, so you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you.
See Your Doctor
First things first, let’s talk about seeing your doctor.
Think of it like getting a tune-up before a big road trip. You wouldn’t want to hit the highway without checking your brakes and getting an oil change, would you? The same goes for starting a new exercise plan.
Plus, you don’t want to be that guy hobbling around with a sore ankle or knee after your first run. Trust me; I’ve been there.
During your visit, expect to undergo an extensive physical assessment.
Be honest to get the most accurate feedback and advice.
You’re only cheating yourself by not telling the truth.
Some of the issues to address include:
- Any history of a heart condition, including blood pressure,
- Kidney health,
- Any respiratory diseases (including asthma or lung diseases),
- Joint issues (such as arthritis and trauma history),
- Current medication, and
- Pertinent issues in your medical history.
Once you get the green light from your physician, it’s time to get going.
Speaking of running pains, let’s chat about shoes. Your sneakers are like the tires on your car – they can make all the difference in how smooth your ride is.
And trust me, running in ill-fitting shoes is like trying to drive a car with a flat tire. It’s just not going to go well. So, invest in a good pair of running shoes that fit properly.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help! Think of it like getting a GPS for your car. You don’t want to get lost on your journey, right?
The same goes for finding the right shoes. Head to a specialty running store and let the experts guide you.
They’ll examine your feet and running style to help you find the perfect pair of kicks. It might cost a bit more, but it’s worth it. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save on Advil in the long run.
Running Clothing For The Obese Runner
Choose technical gear (clothing specifically designed for runners) that’s comfortable, fits well, and is within your budget.
I highly recommend compression gear for fat runners.
These are typically made of lightweight fabric that pulls moisture away from the skin while providing extra support.
It also helps prevent swelling in the legs and arms and may reduce muscle soreness afterward.
Additional resource – How to find affordable running clothes
A Running Plan For obese Beginners
Gotten the green light as well as basic running gear?
Great! It’s time to get started!
Let’s look at the actual steps you need to take in order to become a runner when you’re overweight.
You might think that walking is for leisurely strolls in the park or for senior citizens, but it’s actually the perfect stepping stone to becoming a runner.
Walking is a low-impact exercise that allows you to build the endurance and strength needed for more intense physical activity. Think of it as the warm-up before the main event, like stretching before attempting to lift a car.
Not only that but walking is an excellent way to identify any underlying issues before you start running.
Trust me, there’s nothing worse than discovering you have knee pain halfway through a a short jog. If you experience any discomfort or pain while walking, talk to your doctor, or at the very least, acknowledge that your body might need some extra TLC.
Let’s start by taking it one step at a time – literally. In the first week, aim to walk three to four times for about 30 minutes each session. By week four, you should be walking five to six times a week for 50 to 60 minutes each session.
But hold on, don’t just start walking like you’re on autopilot. Here’s how to make the most out of each session:
Here’s the ideal walking session.
- Begin your session with a 5-minute slow walk as a warm-up.
- Increase your intensity to a brisk walk pace and stick with it for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- When you’re near the end of your walk, slow down, then stretch your body to bring your heart rate down.
Important Note: Remember, the most important thing is to progress at your own pace. You’re not competing with anyone except yourself, and as long as you’re moving forward, you’re making progress. Just don’t give up! The road to becoming a runner may be long, but it’s definitely worth it.
Additional resource – Here’s your guide to running three miles a day.
Now that you’re able to briskly walk for an hour without any pain, it’s time to introduce the run/walk method to your routine. It’s like a dance, but with your feet pounding the pavement instead of your partner’s.
Start by getting that blood flowing with a 10-minute brisk walk warm-up.
Next, feel the wind through your hair (or sweat through your cap, if you prefer) with a 20-30 second jog, followed by a 30-second to one-minute walk. Repeat this groove for 15-20 minutes, and then cool down with a 5-minute walk.
Once you can jog for a minute without feeling like you’re going to keel over, bump that up to 90 seconds.
Feeling like a superstar already? Increase your jogging time to two minutes. Keep on grooving, baby! If you’re worried this plan might be too much for you, no sweat! I’ve got you covered with a plan tailored specifically for overweight runners.
Feel like too much to handle?
I’ve already provided you below with the exact overweight runner plan you need to get started.
And remember, the name of the game is gradual progress. Your goal is to be grooving for at least 20 minutes without too much huffing and puffing. Keep on moving and keep on grooving.
Additional Resource – Here’s how to much to run to lose weight
Listen to your Body
By far, this is the most important rule to abide by when you start running or any other form of exercise – listen to your body.
It’s okay—and expected—to experience a little muscle soreness the day after a run, especially during the first few weeks. It’s a sign that you’re making progress.
You’ll be sweating, your heart rate will increase, and you’ll find it hard at times to keep at it. But, if you’re doubling over in pain, you’re doing it wrong. Trust me, you don’t want to end up like a cartoon character clutching their chest while gasping for breath.
Slow down if you notice any of the following red flags:
- Nausea: Feeling queasy is a clear sign that something is off.
- Intense chest pain: This is not the time to play tough guy. Chest pain could be a symptom of a serious medical condition, so stop immediately and seek medical attention.
- Vomiting: Throwing up is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve pushed it too far. Don’t ignore this signal.
- Severe muscle or joint pain: Pain is not a gain in this situation. You might need to take a step back and re-evaluate your approach.
- Confusion: If you’re feeling disoriented or confused, stop what you’re doing and get some rest.
- Loss of balance: Losing your balance is a recipe for disaster when running. Slow down and regain your composure.
- Heart palpitations: Feeling your heart racing can be unsettling. Listen to your body and take a break until you feel better.
- Dizziness or vertigo: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is not a good sign. Stop immediately and take a break.
Remember, it’s important to push yourself, but not to the point of causing harm. Your body will thank you for it!
If you think that pushing yourself to the limit every day is the key to becoming a great runner, think again. In reality, rest and recovery are just as important as hard training when it comes to making progress and avoiding injury.
To get started, make sure to alternate your hard training days with rest days. This will give your muscles a chance to repair and rebuild, so you can come back stronger and more energized for your next workout.
If you’re not keen on taking a full day off, that’s okay! You can still cross train with other activities that complement your running routine. Some great options for beginners include swimming, strength training, spinning, and yoga.
Additional resource – How to combine keto and running
The 8-Week Running Plan for Obese Beginners
Ready to put together a running plan, even if you’re carrying a little extra weight? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.
This 8-week plan will guide you through a jog/walk training method that gradually shifts the balance until you’re running more than you’re walking.
By the end of the plan, you should be able to run for 20-30 minutes at an easy and slow pace. But don’t rush it! Take your time and listen to your body.
Fat People Running Plan – Week One
- Monday – Run two minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 6 times.
- Tuesday—Run two minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 8 times.
- Friday—Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 6 times.
Fat People Running Plan – Week Two
- Monday —Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 8 times.
- Tuesday —Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 10 times.
- Friday—Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 8 times.
Fat People Running Plan – Week Three
- Monday—Run three minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 6 times.
- Tuesday—Run three minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 8 times.
- Friday—Run three minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 6 times.
Fat People Running Plan – Week Four
- Monday—Run five minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat 3 times.
- Tuesday—Run five minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat 4 times.
- Friday—Run five minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat 5 times.
Fat People Running Plan- Week Five
- Monday—Run five minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 5 times.
- Tuesday—Run five minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 5 times.
- Friday—Run five minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 4 times.
Fat People Running Plan – Week Six
- Monday—Run five minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 4 times.
- Tuesday—Run five minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 5 times.
- Friday—Run seven minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 3 times.
Fat People Running Plan- Week Seven
- Monday —Run seven minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 3 times.
- Tuesday—Run seven minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 3 times.
- Friday—Run 10 minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat two times.
Fat People Running Plan- Week Eight
- Monday—Run 10 minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat two times.
- Tuesday—Run 12 minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat two times.
- Friday—Run 20 minutes at an easy and slow pace.
For more structure, give this 30-day running challenge a try.
Running Technique For the Obese Runners
Let me level with you: if you’re not careful about your running technique, you’re playing with fire. As a beginner, especially if you’re carrying some extra weight, your risk of injury skyrockets if you don’t get your form right from the start.
Yes, we’re designed to run, but that doesn’t mean running form comes naturally to most of us. It’s like trying to learn a new dance routine – at first, you’ll feel clumsy and uncoordinated, but with practice, you’ll start moving with grace and ease.
The problem is a lot of beginners make the mistake of running with bad form, and they end up hobbling to the sidelines with an injury. But fear not my friend – I’ve got some tips to help you run with proper form and reduce your risk of injury.
- Run tall. Imagine a string pulling you up from the crown of your head, keeping your back flat and your spine straight. Roll your shoulders back and keep your eyes focused on the road ahead. You’ll feel like a superhero, powering through your run with strength and confidence.
- Engage your core. Think of your abs like a suit of armor, protecting your back and keeping your posture strong.
- Hips matter. Don’t forget to keep your hips straight – no sticking your butt out or arching your back like a cat stretching.
- Go flow. As you run, try to create flow by swinging your arms back and forth in time with your strides. It’ll feel like you’re conducting an orchestra, the rhythm of your feet and hands working together in harmony.
- Stay relaxed. Running with tension in your body is like driving with the emergency brake on – it wastes energy and increases your risk of injury. Keep your face, neck, shoulders, and hands loose and easy, and let yourself sink into the rhythm of your run.
- Hire someone. Consider booking a session with a coach or taking a class to work on your technique. Trust me; it’s worth the investment in your health and well-being.
Additional resource – How to start running with your dog
How to Start Running When Overweight – Motivation
Ready to take on the challenge of becoming a runner? Great! But taking the first step is just the beginning. As you start to hit the pavement, it’s important to have some tricks up your sleeve to keep your running motivation high.
Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you stay motivated, feel great, and crush your running goals!
Do it For Yourself
As a golden rule, keep in mind that you’re getting into running for yourself. Of course, you’ll be on the receiving end of some negative attention, but don’t let that throw you off your game.
As Taylor Swift says, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.” Let them hate while you focus on yourself and your goals.
Keep a positive attitude, even on the days when your workout feels like a struggle (which, let’s face it, is most days!).
And, just a heads up, your workouts are supposed to suck.
It’s important to avoid comparing yourself to others, especially other runners. I know it can be tempting to look around and feel inferior if someone is faster than you, but trust me, that’s not the way to go.
Here’s the truth.
If you want someone to compare yourself to, think of the kind of a runner (and person) you were a year ago versus who you are today.
Sounds too cliché? Yes, but it does work.
Additional resource – Here’s how to reduce body fat.
Set the Right Goals
When setting your running goals, it’s important to be realistic. Don’t aim for the stars, only to be left feeling discouraged when you fall short. Set achievable goals and break them down into smaller steps that you can work towards.
One step at a time, you’ll get there. Just remember that you’re carrying more weight than others, so it’s important to do things at your own pace.
Visualize Your Goal
Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your running goals. Close your eyes and see yourself achieving your running goals. Replay this movie in your mind, and you’ll start to believe it’s possible. Replay this picture over and over in your mind. Before you know it, you’ll be acting more confidently and crushing your goals.
Additional resource – How to measure body fat percentage
Build the Habit
Want to make running a part of your daily life?
Then turn it into a habit.
Schedule your runs just like you would schedule an important meeting or doctor’s appointment. Use a daily calendar or your smartphone’s reminder app to block out time for your runs.
Use multiple alarms if you need to, and stick to the “three workouts per week” rule for at least 12 weeks.
Once you’ve hit the 16-week mark, you’ll have created a healthy habit that will be ingrained into your daily routine.
Achieving Your Weight Loss Goals
Are you tired of running your heart out only to see the scale not budge? Running can be an excellent way to burn calories, but it’s not a magic pill for weight loss. As I like to say, “Running without a good diet is like trying to fill a leaky bucket with water – it just doesn’t work!” So, let’s plug those leaks and get your weight loss journey on track.
One of the biggest mistakes new runners make is thinking they can eat whatever they want as long as they run it off later. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. As the saying goes, “You can’t outrun a fork!”
So, start by keeping track of your calorie intake and making sure you’re not overeating. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not implying that you should be depriving yourself, but, at the very least, be mindful of what you’re putting in your body. As my grandma used to say, “Everything in moderation, including moderation!”
Additional resource – How to start running at 50
Eating healthily is not only about how much you eat but also about what you eat. Not all calories are created equal! Eating clean, whole foods is the key to success.
I like to think of it as putting high-quality fuel in your car – you wouldn’t put cheap, low-quality gas in your car and expect it to run well, would you?
Choose complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy sources of fat to keep your
Here’s a list of super foods for runners.
Sugar founds in processed foods is the ultimate diet saboteur.
In fact, research has linked the increased intake of sugar in the American diet to the soaring obesity levels we’re dealing with today.
High intake also contributes to Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay—the list is long and terrifying.
Additional resource – 30 Keto recipes for low-carb eating
Eat Plenty of Lean Protein
Research says that a higher protein intake helps maintain consistent blood sugar, which is essential for avoiding cravings.
One study revealed that subjects who had protein at breakfast reported fewer cravings for junk food later in the day.
Good sources of lean protein include chicken, beef, eggs, raw cheese, and nuts.
Additional link – Slow running vs. fast running for weight loss
Running Plan for obese beginners – The Conclusion
There you have it.
If you’re looking on advice on how to start running when overweight, then my running plan is perfect for you. The rest is just details.
Thank you for stopping by.
Keep training strong.