If You Hate Running but Still Want to Lose Weight, We Have Some Good News


If you've read anything about losing weight over the past few decades (and odds are, if you're reading this article, you have), then you've probably come across the conventional wisdom that cardio is necessary for burning calories and revving up your weight loss. One of the most popular forms of cardio is running; the treadmills at the gym are always packed, boutique fitness classes such as Orangetheory Fitness and Barry's Bootcamp have popularized running intervals, and half-marathons are more popular than ever.

But as much as running has been hyped for weight loss, it's certainly not the only activity you need to do to shed fat and get in shape. "Effective weight loss involves both cardio and resistance training," registered dietitian and ACSM-certified personal trainer Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, told POPSUGAR.

How to Exercise For Weight Loss

So while running is a great form of cardio, it's not the only type of cardio activity that will help you meet your goals. "Cardio would be the activities that get your heart rate up, such as walking, swimming, biking, elliptical, and jumping rope," Jim said. So as long as an activity gets your heart rate up, ideally 50 to 85 percent of your max heart rate, which is 220 bpm, it counts as a good cardio workout.

But it's not just cardio that will help you lose weight; strength training is important, too. Jim explained that resistance training is bodyweight training, lifting weights, using weight machines, or moves you would do in a fitness class, like squats. "Resistance training builds endurance and muscle," he explained. "Since muscle is the engine that burns calories when you are resting, your body can still continue to burn calories for hours after strength training."

Cardio helps you burn calories and create a calorie deficit, but it's more of a short-term activity. Strength training is more like an investment: as you burn calories during exercise, you also continue to burn more calories at rest. Armen T. Ghazarians, ACSM-certified personal trainer and CEO of Finish Fit, recommends strength training three to five times a week for weight loss, ideally at a high intensity. He added that building muscle will help you burn body fat.

How to Eat For Weight Loss

So great, you don't need to run to lose weight. But exercise is just part of the equation; weight loss requires that you eat in a calorie deficit. To find out how many calories you should eat a day to lose weight, use this formula. Jim said that while cardio may put you in a calorie deficit, it's more of a short-term solution, since strength training will help you build muscle and burn more calories at rest.

In general, your diet should also be dialed in. Scarlet Full, RDN, Director of Nutrition and Research at Axiom Foods, said that you should eat mostly whole foods and limit processed packaged foods. And while you should limit junk food, you don't need to cut it out entirely (everything in moderation!) - just make sure your diet is mostly a lot of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. She also added that protein is important for weight loss because it will keeping you feeling full and satisfied. Plus, with strength training and working out, eating protein will help you build the lean muscle to burn more calories at rest. To find out exactly how much protein you should be eating to meet your goals, use this equation.

After Reading Through These Memes, You’ll Run to Your Bathroom and Throw Your Scale Out

There are tons of weight-loss victories that have nothing to do with the scale. The scale can actually weigh you down mentally if you get caught up in trying to achieve a certain number. It can also play tricks on you because sometimes you look like you lost weight, but the scale numbers went up. So #screwthescale! Reading through these memes will make you want to never step on one again.

What to Know About the Beachbody Meal Plan Your Friends Are Obsessed With: the 21-Day Fix

Whether you spotted the brightly hued boxes while scrolling through Instagram or first noticed them stacked in the office fridge, you probably know someone who's on the 21-Day Fix Eating Plan, just one of the many popular programs from fitness giant Beachbody. But what is it, exactly?

As the name suggests, the 21-Day Fix Eating Plan is a three-week nutritional plan that coincides with Beachbody's 21-Day Fix fitness regimen. Convenience is key here - those on the program purchase a set of seven color-coded containers ($10) that help ensure you eat the proper portions of each food group (green for vegetables, red for proteins, and so on), without ever counting calories. You simply add basics like your weight and height to the 21-Day Fix app, then eat the prescribed amounts.

The plan simplifies meal prep with a ton of Fix-approved recipes and food items available through Beachbody. Combined with a daily 30-minute workout from Beachbody trainer Autumn Calabrese, it's a simple and effective program for those who want to lose weight but aren't sure where to start.

If that's you, it's worth asking your friend with the rainbow assortment of containers how she's feeling so far.

On Keto and Need Dinner Fast? These Picks From KFC Can Feed Your Entire Family

If KFC holds a special place in your heart, it's probably all thanks to the fast-food joint's world-famous fried chicken and buttery, flaky biscuits. If you're on the keto diet, you already know that flour-battered, fried foods are out - but that doesn't mean you have to pass up KFC entirely, if what you're really craving is some Southern comfort food. Just skip the breading (or if your family really insists, pick it off your own pieces) and try this perfectly keto combo, plucked straight from the menu:

  1. Order grilled chicken. Order a bucket of Kentucky Grilled Chicken and you'll walk out with a selection of thighs, breasts, drumsticks, and wings that are perfectly seasoned. Reach for the thighs first if you need a cut higher in fat.
  2. Have some greens. You'll have to skip the mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, but you can still fill up with a generous side of green beans or a house salad or Caesar salad (hold the croutons). Choose from any of the salad dressings on the menu, but go easy when pouring them - store-bought dressings can contain hidden sugars.
  3. Add some extra flavor. Ask for some butter to pour over your green beans or order a dipping sauce for your chicken. The Creamy Buffalo Dipping Sauce and Hot Sauce are relatively virtuous.

These Women Each Lost 75+ Pounds by Counting Calories – Here’s How

It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're trying to lose weight. With so many popular diets that people talk about or share on social media - keto, intermittent fasting, Whole30, Atkins, vegan, Paleo - it's hard to decide exactly what to do to lose the weight.

In reality, weight loss can be as simple as calories in, calories out, or CICO. We spoke to several woman who lost 75 pounds or more using this simple principle. Through tracking apps, making room for their favorite treats, and cutting out liquid calories, they were able to zero in on how many calories they should eat a day to be successful in losing weight.

Scroll through to find out some of their best calorie-counting tips. It may inspire you to start a food journal and keep track of every bite.

These 2 Foods Curb Hunger the Best, According to This Beachbody Dietitian

Do you ever notice that after eating a big meal, you feel starving soon after? It can actually have a lot to do with what foods you eat. We asked registered dietitian and co-creator of Beachbody's 2B Mindset nutrition program, Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN, to share the best foods to eat that will make you feel less hungry.

Turns out, Mom was right: vegetables are key. "They are high in volume and weight, and fill up our stomachs, which helps us register the feeling of fullness," Ilana said. When you're hungry and sit down to eat a meal, get at least five to six bites of veggies in first. Some great choices are minestrone soup, cauliflower fried rice, baby carrots and guacamole, or roasted broccoli. It doesn't matter how it was prepared, but Ilana said that vegetables are the food group you want to be filling up on most often.

Another must for curbing hunger and helping you stay fuller longer is protein. "If you just have an apple or oatmeal for breakfast, you may feel hungry just an hour or two later. You may feel the same if you only have pasta for dinner," Ilana said. Carbs are great for giving you energy, but they won't curb your hunger the way protein does. So, have some eggs or a protein shake with your oatmeal, and add some beans or meatballs to your tomato sauce if you're having spaghetti.

Incorporating both veggies and protein into every meal and snack is a great way to keep hunger at bay. Try this for every meal for five days and see how you feel. You'll be amazed how changing what you eat, not how much, can affect your level of satiety, which can prevent cravings and mindless noshing.

These Low-Carb Recipes Cook in Just 1 Pan, and What Else Could You Want, Really?

The problem with cooking is it just requires so much work. At the same time, making healthy meals at home is essential, especially when you're trying to stick to a strict plan like the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. Here's the good news: weeknight meals don't have to be a huge hassle. Sheet pan recipes - like the ones you'll find here - require minimal prep and clean-up. Why? As the name implies, you simply throw your ingredients on a single pan (who doesn't love a one-dish wonder?), stick it in the oven, and, just as quickly, dinner is served. Keep reading to see the magic for yourself.

I Got My Metabolism Tested, and Here’s What I Learned About How My Body Burns Fat

Take a read through my author profile, and you'll quickly learn that I love to write about strength training, ways to improve your health, fitness gadgets (these are a few of my favorites), and cute and functional workout gear. That's why I'm a fitness editor.

I've recently begun to get really into metabolism; it's to the point where I find myself reading scholarly articles at leisure. I didn't just wake up one day and become interested in metabolism. It all started when Laila Zemrani, cofounder and CEO of Fitnescity, contacted me about getting a resting metabolic rate (RMR) test done.

What Is a Resting Metabolic Rate Test?

Before I jump straight into my experience, I've got to give you the 411 on what a RMR test is and how it works. According to Fitnescity, the RMR test, "uses state-of-the-art technology to measure the number of calories your body needs at rest." To be clear, this is the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions, like breathing, that keep you alive.

From that number, a specialist (an endocrinologist or a clinical dietitian) can help you determine how many calories you need in a day to support your lifestyle. You can also use this information to learn how many calories you need per day to lose, maintain, or gain weight. The test also tells you your estimated total energy expenditure - the number of calories you burn in a day - and whether you burn more fat or carbs (hint: this is one of the important things I learned).

How the RMR Test Works

Now for the details you need to know before you get a RMR test. The test is $250 at Fitnescity, and prices will more than likely vary depending on your location. Before getting your test, you'll have to fast for 12 hours (you can have water). Why? Because the objective is to find out how many calories your body needs at rest in the basal state (before exercise and eating). My advice: make a morning appointment so that the possibility of you becoming hangry is less than a midday appointment. Along with fasting, you have to avoid moderate and vigorous activity 24 hours prior to the test so that your results are as accurate as possible.

Day of, your height and weight measurements will be taken. Then you'll be instructed to lay on a chair followed by the canopy hood being placed over your head (gorgeously modeled by yours truly above). Your only job is to stay awake and stay as still as possible while the machine works its magic. If you get chilly, a blanket will be provided, but I think you'll be really cozy. The test takes approximately one hour to complete from start to finish and requires zero physical activity.

What I Learned From the RMR Test

Because the specialists have to analyze your data, it should take a few days for you to receive your results. From my test, I learned that my body needs 1,288 calories a day (my resting metabolic rate) before doing any type of physical activity and eating. I also learned that my respiratory exchange ratio (RER) is 0.77. This means that my body burns more fat than sugar, which according to Dori Arad, the endocrinologist who explained my results, is ideal for a healthy person.

He explained that healthy people should ideally be burning fat, because our bodies store 90 percent fat and preserve the sugar for brain functions and "really fast, aggressive activities." A RER closer to one indicates that there are limitations on burning fat and have a "very strong correlation to weight gain, to obesity, to diabetes, to heart disease, and to inflammation," Dr. Arad said. By knowing your RER, an expert will be able to determine the best workout you should be doing to burn fat.

Why You Should Consider Doing a RMR Test

While there are many workouts and diets that can help improve your overall health, if you're looking for something specific to you and your needs, you need information specific to your body. For instance, if you feel like you've tried everything and still aren't losing weight, this test will be able to tell you more on why that is as opposed to starting a random diet you read about once. You'll learn if you have a slow metabolism (if you do, here's how you can boost it), and you'll learn exactly how many calories you need in a day and how well your body burns fat.

Yes, I know $250 is a lot of money, and there are a lot of other ways you could spend it, but this information is 100 percent individualized to you. In my opinion, it's worth the investment because you'll save money in the long run by learning exactly what works for your body and what you can do to achieve your health goals.

All expenses for the author were covered by Fitnescity for the purpose of writing this story.

We’ve Got Your Friday Night Plans, and They Involve These Low-Carb Dishes at Ruby Tuesday

Eating out can be difficult when you're trying to stick to a low-carb plan like the keto diet - that is, until you know where to go and how to navigate the menu. As far as low-carb picks go, Ruby Tuesday is a pretty sweet stop. You'll need to skip the loaded potato chips and breaded shrimp (sorry), but in their place, you can find solid choices for appetizers, your pick of proteins, and even a burger (stay with us). Grab your keys and wallet - or that unused gift card - and dig into these tasty dishes:

  • Appetizer: Order the Bacon Deviled Eggs. The sriracha sauce gives this dish a nice kick while still keeping it at two grams of carbs. Plus, starting your meal with some protein is always a smart move.
  • Chicken: Choose from the Chicken Bella, Asiago Bacon Chicken, or Chicken Fresco. They're super low-carb, then all you have to do is choose your sides. The Fresh Grilled Zucchini, Fresh Steamed Broccoli, and Garden Salad are solid options.
  • Steak: Most of this section of the menu is keto-approved, so simply order the cut you prefer (rib-eye, sirloin) and the size (six, eight, or 12 ounces). Then pair your steak with the sides above.
  • Seafood: The Grilled Salmon is your safest bet at zero grams of carbs and 53 grams of protein. For something a little more indulgent, try the New Orleans Seafood - it doesn't get better than cajun seasoning and a parmesan cream sauce for only four grams of carbs.
  • Burgers: If you can do without the brioche bun and french fries, order the Avocado Turkey Burger or the Mushroom and Swiss Burger. The higher fat content of these dishes, along with the rich flavor profiles, is a pretty delicious substitute.

I Tried Everything to Lose Weight After Having Children, but This Is What Actually Worked

I shudder to think how painfully strict I was when I wanted to lose weight after my first three pregnancies. The thing is, I honestly didn't know there was any other way to be. From the moment my babies were born, I would never permit myself to cheat on my diet. That meant no chips (which are the food love of my life), no bread, no carbs of any kind. If I slipped and ate a tortilla chip, I'd be so down on myself. But self-hatred wasn't enough of a punishment. Because then, I'd overcompensate and deny myself more, until eating became completely unenjoyable.

My exercise routine was equally as unforgiving. I'd force myself to run a certain distance, or work out at a brutal level for a set amount of time, no matter how tired or sore my body felt. There were no exceptions, whether I'd been up all night with my child, or was coming down with some illness. Given how rigidly I stuck to my diet and fitness regimen, when I didn't lose weight during a given week, I'd fall into a horribly abusive state of mind, chastising myself for this perceived failure. I never let myself celebrate until the scale reached a very specific number of pounds. Although I eventually lost all the baby weight after about nine months to a year, the journey was miserable.

It took me until after my fourth child was born to realize there is a better way to lose baby weight, and it involves being, gasp, kind to myself. This shift was born mainly out of necessity, since I no longer have the time to be so strict in my approach to eating and exercise. My more gentle weight-loss plan started after my son arrived, and I came home to a new level of chaos. I was lucky to have time to go to the bathroom, let alone plan out a low-carb, low-fat meal. When neighbors brought over dinners, I felt grateful to shove a few bites of whatever they'd prepared in my mouth in between breastfeeding the baby, helping my preschooler on the potty, and driving two older kiddos to every activity under the sun.

My first several weeks postpartum were a blur. I ate (quickly!) when I had time, and stretched or walked if it fit into the day. Once I established more of a routine with the kids, I started slowly getting back to a more healthy diet and regular exercise routine. But not every meal is going to be salad or poached fish. Sometimes I'll shovel the children's leftover macaroni and cheese into my mouth. When this happens, I refuse to punish myself, because I know I'm doing the best I can. Likewise, I've done my very best to incorporate exercise into my day somewhere, whether it's walking the long way home after escorting my kids to school, or taking 15 minutes to practice yoga while the baby coos in his pack 'n play. On the days I only manage to carve out five minutes for a few sun salutations, I realize it is not the end of the world, but rather, reality as a mom of four.

Given my more relaxed attitude toward weight loss, it has been shocking to see the pounds fall off more quickly than when I pushed myself through brutal, 45-minute HIIT workouts and shunned every food that wasn't kale, almonds, or salmon. Just five months after having my son, I have lost nearly all of what I gained while pregnant. I still work out and eat healthy foods, but if one night dinner is chips and hummus while I bathe the kids, and I can only squeeze in a few planks and push-ups in between folding laundry, so be it.

I believe it's my attitude toward weight loss that has made this such a different journey. My more kind and loving attitude toward myself has drastically lowered my anxiety around losing weight. I feel so much healthier and more balanced, as well as less hormonal and stressed out. Instead of hurtling numbly toward one, very specific goal, I allowed myself the space and freedom to appreciate each step along the way. When a certain pair of pants fits, even though I know I ultimately have more weight to shed, I take the time to appreciate how far I've come. But it's not only about weight loss this time. I also celebrate when I feel stronger, like when I can hold a forearm plank for 30 seconds instead of 15, or when my chair pose seems like it's infused with more ease than before.

I'm so happy I learned you don't have to mistreat yourself to see your body change. You don't have to berate and deprive yourself to get results. Sticking to a cruel diet that centers around self-denial and merciless sweat sessions born of the "no pain, no gain" mentality isn't the only way to lose weight. I'd encourage any new mama to adopt this mindful, realistic eating and exercise lifestyle that makes room for kind thoughts, self-love, gratitude, and forgiveness. Because losing weight shouldn't mean losing your sanity, too.