Friday, August 12, 2011

Run Your Butt Off! Book Review

Run Your Butt Off!: A Breakthrough Plan to Lose Weight and Start Running (No Experience Necessary!)

Run Your Butt Off  - Who doesn't want to do that?  The title alone was enough to draw me in.  This book from the editors of Runners World provides a running plan for beginners and shares some good information on how to make healthier food choices. Each of the ten chapters contains  both an exercise and an eating plan. It also includes a workbook to keep track of your numbers and log your exercise and eating.

As a person who runs to control my weight, I was hoping this book would provide some insight into how I should be eating so I could lose some weight.  Alas, the secret to weight loss is not hidden in these pages because it doesn't exist. Instead this book helps you analyze what, why, when and how you eat so you can figure out what your trouble areas are. 

The bottom line is: the number of calories consumed needs to be less than calories burned.   The book recommends losing 1/2 - 1 pound per week.  To do this you need to have a daily deficit of 500 calories. The book suggests ways to accomplish this without making drastic changes or starving yourself. They discuss: 

  • the number and size of meals per day 
  • food selections 
  • nutritional implications of what you eat
  • timing of your meals

To help you figure out how many calories your body needs in a day, Runners World has a BMR calculator on their site. In fact they have a whole section dedicated to supporting those taking on this challenge to run their butt off.  

The exercise plan in this book is geared toward new runners or those running less than 3 times a week for 30 minutes.  It is a great plan to get started running, but because I already run more than that, it didn't work for me.

My big takeaway from this book is the amount of protein I should be eating each day.  A physically active person needs 1/2 grams for each pound you weigh. So if you weigh 140 pounds or want to weigh 140 pounds you should eat 70 grams of protein per day.  Since reading the book I have been tracking my food and exercise again and am not even close to my protein goal, in fact, I am short 25-30 grams a day.

If you are a beginner runner, or are struggling with making running a consistent part of your schedule, this book is for you. It makes running accessible for anyone and  has plenty to offer for those wanting to live a healthier, more active lifestyle.  Running has many rewards and weight loss or weight control is just one of them. 

Personally, I am working on eating more protein and am curious to see how it makes me feel and perform. I will let you know how this goes.

Do you track your food and exercise in logs?
Are you a calorie counter?