We all understand that burning calories is key to any successful weight loss program. In order to decrease your stored body fat, you must burn more calories than you take in from food. Therefore, the greater number of calories you burn everyday, the more you support your weight loss efforts. Ideally, you incorporate consistent exercise into your regimen and burn about 500 calories per day. You will knock out a single pound of body fat for every 3,500 caloric deficit you create, so if you average 500 per day, you'll end up losing about a pound per week.

According to Mayo Clinic, running is the most efficient physical activity for calorie burning. A 160-lb. person will burn 606 calories every 60 minutes they run at a pace of 5 miles per hour, or 861 calories if they run at a pace of 8 miles per hour. Running for an hour is likely to sound a bit crazy, and you don't have to run for that duration to burn enough calories for weight loss.

If you're new to running or if you haven't run in a while, here is a step-by-step 8-week game plan on how to safely and effectively hit the pavement and start losing weight.


Before you start running, it's essential that you make your way through a couple of preparatory steps. If you have any cause to think it's unsafe for you to start running, take the time to visit your medical professional and get cleared. If you're obese, have high blood pressure or suffer from any joint pain, you may exacerbate your situation by all of a sudden participating in a regular workout program. Also, to avoid discomfort and prevent injuries that could debilitate you, visit a running store and purchase a quality pair of running shoes. The staff members at most running stores are trained to analyze your running gait and suggest the type of running shoe you need. You're also going to need to gather up a stop watch to keep track of your workout time.

Weeks 1-2

During the first two weeks, you're going to simply focus on getting comfortable. If you haven't run before or if it's been a while, you may feel awkward and uncoordinated as you first start out. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (or Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, if you prefer), you're going to work out for a total of 20 minutes, alternating between jogging for 5 minutes and walking 5 minutes. During the walking segments, be sure that you're still walking at a quick pace so that you keep your heart rate up.

Weeks 3-4

Instead of exercising for a longer duration, we're going to focus on increasing the amount of time that you run during the workout. Once again, three days a week, on alternating days, you're going to work out for a total of 20 minutes. However, during week three, you're going to alternate between jogging for 7 minutes and walking for 3 minutes. On week four, you're going to start off by jogging for 10 minutes, then walk for 5 minutes, and then finish off by jogging for another 5 minutes.

Weeks 5-6

Alright, it's time to kick up the total workout time a bit! The workout frequency is going to stay at three days per week. Now that you've got a month of running under you're belt, hopefully you're feeling more comfortable. During week five, you're going to work out for a total of 25 minutes. Run for 10 minutes, walk for 5 minutes and then run for another 10 minutes. During week six, for a total of 25 minutes, run for 12 minutes, walk for 3 minutes and finish off with another 10 minute running segment.

Weeks 7-8

For our final two weeks of the 8-week program, we're still going to focus on increasing your total workout time. These two weeks, you're going to work out for 30 minutes each of the three days per week. On week 7, jog for 15 minutes, walk for 5 minutes and then jog for another 10 minutes. During week 8, jog for 20 minutes, walk for 5 minutes and then jog for another 5 minutes.