Losing 20 pounds over the course of three months simply through jogging or walking is a challenging goal. To lose that amount of weight in a short period of time will be very time consuming, especially without also including a reduced-calorie diet plan, but it can be achieved if you follow a consistent regimen.
Calculate the Calories You Have to Burn
Calculate how many calories you actually have to burn over the course of three months to meet your 20 pound weight loss. Each pound is equal to 3,500 calories, so to lose 20 pounds, the calculation is 3,500 times 20. You will have to burn a total of 70,000 calories to achieve your goal.
Break the 70,000 calories into smaller increments so you have more achievable short-term goals. If you plan on working out only several times a week, you can divide 70,000 calories by 12 weeks. This means you’ll have to burn 5,833 calories per week.
Break the 70,000 calories into daily increments if you can commit to exercising every day. Daily workouts will be shorter than several long workouts per week. To do this, divide the 70,000 calories by 90 days for a total burn of 778 calories per day.
Choose the Right Workout For You
Wear a heart-rate monitor if possible. Tracking the calories you are burning can be difficult, especially if you are walking or jogging outdoors and have no way of knowing how hard you are working and how many calories you are burning. If you’re walking or running on a treadmill, the digital console should give you a good estimate, but it reflects the calorie burn of an average exerciser and not you in particular. Online calorie calculators are also based on people of average height and age, and may not reflect your true calorie burn.
Begin with a walking program if you are new to exercising. Unfortunately, walking isn’t going to burn a huge amount of calories. According to the Mayo Clinic, an average 160-pound person burns 204 calories walking at two miles per hour and 314 calories at 3.5 miles per hour. You will have to walk briskly for at least 150 minutes a day to reach your daily calorie burn goal.
Incorporate jogging into your routine to hit your target daily or weekly calorie burn goal. Begin with shorter intervals such as one or two minutes of running followed by one minute of walking. As you become more accustomed to the exercise, increase your jogging intervals and decrease your walking intervals. Unless you are wearing a heart rate monitor, keep track of how many minutes you are running and how many minutes you are walking so you can tally your total calorie burn at the end of your workout. According to Mayo Clinic, an average 160-pound person will burn 606 calories per hour jogging at five miles per hour. At this pace, you would have to jog for just over 75 minutes per day.
Add a reduced-calorie diet to your plan. This will allow you to spend less time running or walking to achieve your daily caloric defecit.
Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). A simple calculation for women is: 655 plus (4.35 times weight in pounds) plus (4.7 times height in inches) minus (4.7 times age in years). Multiply your results by 1.725 to factor in the extra, intense exercise you will be doing. This is the amount of calories your body needs per day to remain at your current weight.
Subtract 500 calories from your daily BMR. At this rate, you will burn one extra pound per week. With this extra caloric deficit, you can reduce your 150 minutes of daily brisk walking time to just 50 minutes. Similarly, you can reduce your 75-minute jog or running time to under 30 minutes.
Items you will need
- Comfortable running shoes
- Heart rate monitor
- To increase your calorie burn, walk or jog uphill or on an incline if you are using a treadmill. Break up your daily walks or runs into smaller increments if you don't have the time to finish your workout in one session.
- Talk to your doctor before embarking on a new weight loss fitness or diet program. Walking or running daily can lead to overtraining or injury. Stop exercising immediately if you feel any sudden muscle or ligament strains. Remember that as you lose weight, your body will be burning fewer calories as you walk or jog, so you may have to increase your exercise time to accomplish your goals.
- The Washington Post: Lies, Damn Lies and Calorie Counters
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- Fitness Magazine: Walk Your Butt Off: Lose Weight Walking
- Coolrunning.com: The couch-to-5k Running Plan
- LiveScience.com: How Many Calories Does Walking Burn? Depends On Your Height
- BMI Calculator: BMR Formula
- BMI Calculator: Harris Benedict Equation
- Aidon/Lifesize/Getty Images