I´m a 47 years old runner. I use to run 8k 5 times per week, and now I'm trying to lift weight to gain muscle but most importantly, to lose belly fat. I think that running to much, decreases my metabolism, and then I have no energy to lift weights. I like to run. I dont really like to lift weights, but I think it is very important when you get older (to combat age related muscle loss). I would like to know if there is a routine for running and weight lifting, to loose belly fat, gain muscle and not to have the metabolism decrease.
Running can conflict with muscle gain if your heart rate remains too elevated. If you want to lose the fat while gaining lean tissue. Cardio should be performed below your first ventilatory threshold. That means you should be able to speak comfortably while performing cardio. And so this for 30 to 60 minutes, as often as you can. I do either fast walking or a stationary bike to keep my heart rate down. My heart rate gets very high during my intense weight training routine. And running, or doing intense cardio will conflict with recovery from weight training.
If you want to gain muscle without weight training, it can be done with body weight exercises. Push ups, dips, pull ups. Ect. But weight training is what is really going to be best.
And to lose the body fat. You're going to need to dial in your diet and track your calories.
Running may reduce the effect of strength training of legs. In order to reduce this interference effect you should (1):
- keep your running sessions short (< 45 minutes)
- have as much time as possible between running and strength training (of legs)
- run slowly or even better walk
Walking for cardio is what some bodybuilders do. However for a runner this is not satisfactory. Since higher intensity cardio offers more cardioprotection than just low intensity cardio (5); it is also healthier to do a mix of low and high intensity cardio than just doing low intensity cardio.
HIIT in combination with strength training (and a good diet) is also a very effective way to lose fat (6).
Following the principles above, a weekly program may look like this:
- Monday: Full body strength training
- Tuesday: 30 minutes of interval training
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Full body strength training
- Friday: Run at a fast steady pace for 30 minutes
- Saturday: Long run
- Sunday: Rest
If you do not enjoy going to the gym you may do your strength training outside using bodyweight exercises. A weight vest may be useful to increase intensity of some exercises (push-ups, squats etc.).
As for diet you should try to avoid sugars and cut down on carbs. Some endurance athletes seems to snack up on energy bars etc. to fuel long periods of moderate to high activity. I think this is unhealthy (4).