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Some background

Male, born 1991, 184 cm, desk job

In November 2016 I was about 103kg. Went to a dietitian and began a diet based on healthy balance of foods, breakfast, snacks between meals, food diary etc (nothing "special" like Dukan which I previously did and relapsed from). Goal was to get to a healthy weight with eating patterns/habits that I could keep for long.

Around March 2017 I reached my goal weight of 85 kg. Dietitian advised me to keep coming once a month until October 2017 to avoid/correct "relapses".

In August 2017, my doctor and physiotherapist gave me the green light to start running again (having had multiple herniated discs in middle back, lower back and neck). I have been going to the physiotherapist twice a week since April 2017 for mainly core exercises / body balance / weight-lifting / ... and still going.

I've been enjoying the running, having followed training podcasts until 10km distance. Afterwards I tried to keep the same schedule of lessons from the podcast (intervals, easy run, long run) up to 21k (half marathon). Now I run a 50 minute 10k, and a 2h10 21k. I will not attempt to go beyond a half marathon in distance.

Currently 80kg (January 2018), steady since November 2017.

Goals

I would like to (in order of importance)

  1. Lose ~10kg in bodyweight, so I can run faster. While I have improved my pace a lot since starting to run again and while I am still doing interval and anaerobic training to increase my speed, there is an easy speed gain to be made by just losing weight.

  2. This is more vanity, but my weight-loss has still left me with a nice fat layer, especially on my gut/hips and upper legs. I would like to eliminate this as well (already knowing that spot-reduction isn't a real thing).

Question

Researching a way to achieve goal #2, I often read: diet by eating fewer carbs, weight-lifting, little to no cardio. This directly conflicts with goal #1, doing a lot of running (cardio) and need to be properly fueled for (carbs).

Can I combine reaching these 2 goals without having the one interfere with the other? If so, how?

  • Where should I focus on diet?
  • Where should the balance be between running and strength work in my case?
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Regarding strength training and running, they are a bit mutually exclusive but at the half-marathon level I think you don't really need to compromise much on either unless you're trying to be extremely competitive. I wrote up an answer with my old lifting and running (half marathons) schedule that might be of some value to you.

Regarding fat loss, strength training generally shows better weight loss than cardio exercise. The slightly-fat-runner-body (I think) stems from the fact that runners on a whole have a terrible diet. After a 20 mile run it's pretty common to eat a pizza and take a nap.

I'm not running much distance anymore, but I do spend a lot of time splitboarding (think: cross country skiing) which is a fairly rough aerobic activity. I'm not quite believing the hype about eating bacon and tons of saturated fat from the keto folks, but I do try to eat food that is actually "food" that one could reasonably find in nature and avoid anything made in a factory. Breads, crackers, most anything in a wrapper, etc.

Boiled down, I would focus on maybe not cutting out carbs altogether but definitely trying to reduce the amount of simple sugars and flour-based products you're eating, if not removing them entirely. Coupled with some strength training I think you'll have your bases covered.

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