Does Running Burn Belly Fat and Love Handles?


Running is a great form of exercise and upping the intensity of your running is beneficial. But can running help with belly fat and love handles?

Running can help aid in burning belly fat and love handles. Intense running can help to burn the fat faster. However, picking and choosing where the weight comes off is not always an option.

Read on to find out how running can help with burning belly fat and reducing love handles. Also, what else goes into eliminating excess belly fat and the weight around love handles.

Can Running Burn Belly Fat and Love Handles?

Running can help burn belly fat. The higher the intensity of the running done, the higher the number of calories that will be burned. 

The following table shows the number of calories burned in 30 minutes of running with different calorie losses from three different weight classes. The information in the table shows the faster someone can run, the higher the number of calories were burned. Burning calories while running will aid in burning belly fat as well.

Amount of Running Time/MilePerson Who Weighs 125 PoundsPerson Who Weighs 155 PoundsPerson Who Weighs 185 Pounds
12 Minute Mile240 calories298 calories355 calories
11.5 Minute Mile270 calories335 calories400 calories
10 Minute Mile300 calories372 calories444 calories
9 Minute Mile330 calories409 calories488 calories
8 Minute Mile375 calories465 calories555 calories
7 Minute Mile435 calories539 calories644 calories
6 Minute Mile495 calories614 calories733 calories

Janet Brill, Ph.D., RD, states: “Running (a form of working out) can help increase your metabolism that can reduce the weight in your stomach.” Starting a workout routine that involves running can help kickstart your metabolism. In the event that you are already running, adding in a couple of days of higher intensity running will also aid in boosting your metabolism. Working up to being able to run a faster mile can help as well.

Running can help reduce love handles but may not lower the weight as much as it will in your stomach area. There is no ability for you to pick and choose where the weight comes off from. Running can significantly aid love handle reduction, but it may be more noticeable in your mid-section. The belly area is usually the more noticeable area of weight gain and, therefore, will be the more noticeable area of weight loss. 

The area of the body that your love handles are located is on top of your oblique muscles. Your oblique muscles are located on the sides of your abdominal muscles. This is partially why just running alone may not completely reduce the love handles section of your body. Running can help build a stronger core, which will strengthen your obliques but doing other forms of workouts can help in love handle reduction.

Different Types of Running

By adding different types of running styles into your running routine, you can burn belly fat as well. Hello Runners has a highly informative YouTube video on eight different types of running. Each running style is explained below.

Base Run

  • Short to moderate run
  • Done at your normal running pace
  • These will make up many of your runs

Progression Run

  • Begin at your normal pace and move up to a quicker pace
  • More challenging than a base run
  • Can help practice if training for a race

Long Run

  • Helps increase your distance
  • Will build endurance

Fartlek Run

  • Works on distance and duration to base runs
  • Less structured
  • You can practice your speed

Interval Run

  • Short and long bursts in the same run
  • More intense short runs followed by longer regular runs or walking
  • Helps increase speed and reduce fatigue

Tempo Run

  • Fastest pace you can run for a however long you can run it
  • More challenging
  • Can help you determine your running pace

Hill Run

  • Short uphill running
  • Sprint to the top and jog/walk to the bottom
  • High intensity
  • Builds strength

Recovery Runs

  • Slower easier pace than base run
  • Usually, a shorter run
  • is best to do after a more intense run or the day after a more intense run

While base runs and long runs are great, you do have the ability to hit a plateau in your running workouts. When hitting a plateau, the fat that is burning off during your runs will slow down to a point where it may feel like your normal runs are no longer working. This can cause unwanted stress or the feeling of wanting to give up. 

Working in different types of running styles will keep your body guessing. By keeping your body guessing at what is to come next you can avoid plateauing and continue to lose weight. It can also help in making your workouts more fun.

When Is the Best Time to Run?

Generally the best times to run would be in the afternoon or evenings. This is the time when running is easiest on your body physically because of:

  • Body temperature is at its peak
  • Lung function is higher

The main drawback for running in the afternoon or evening could be psychological due to:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling too tired after work

Running first thing in the morning can help you to build mental strength but can also physically be harder on your body due to:

  • Body temperatures being lowered
  • Lung function being poor
  • Energy levels depleted due to possibly not eating a full meal since the night before
  • Can also lead to injuries

Motivation to Help Your Run

There is an app available for your phone called MapMyRun. This app offers a free and a paid version. With the free version, you can keep track of:

  • Distance
  • The amount of time you ran
  • Your average pace
  • How many steps you take during your run
  • How many calories your burned
  • Any changes in elevation during your run 
    • For example, if you were doing hill runs

You can save your workouts also. So, if you are trying to be faster, you can try and beat your previous time.

Information to Remember When Running to Burn Fat

Please remember everybody is different, and there are many different body types in the world. What might work well for one person might not work well for another. Adding in different styles of running can help, but there are other factors as well. 

Pay attention to what you are eating. Anything food or drinks that you put into your body are going to help fuel your runs.

  • Eating too much
  • Not eating enough
  • Have less sugar
  • Eat fewer processed foods

Staying hydrated by drinking enough water and getting enough sleep at night are all factors that are going to either help or hurt your ability to get to your main goal.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has physical activity guidelines for Americans. If running is something you are new to, start with lower intensity and gradually work up to a longer, more intense run. You do run the risk of injuring yourself if precautions are not taken. For example:

Someone who runs for 20 minutes two times a week is not going to be able to go out and run for two hours. This person can, however, work up to being able to run for two hours straight.

Conclusion

All in all, running can aid in burning belly fat, and love handles. Sometimes the added weight around your love handles might seem like it is not melting away at the same pace. Adding in different running techniques that can up the intensity and doing different oblique workouts will help greatly. 

Mark Norman

I've been running for over 6 years and now try to balance it with life as a dad to two young kids. I'm not super quick, I just try to run consistently, not always easy! I'm lucky enough to have run the London Marathon twice along with countless other half marathons and 10ks. I'm also one of the Run Directors at my local parkrun.

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