Fitness and weight loss: Hi I started C25K with... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Fitness and weight loss

M155mel profile image


I started C25K with a friend and we have done really well at getting out 3 times a week despite the heat in recent weeks. We have started week 5 now and I’m really disappointed that I haven’t lost any weight or inches over the last month, so I’ve come on here to ask if this is normal?

I am not a runner so I’ve found this very hard, I’ve also made sure I’m not eating more than normal and I’m averaging about 1600 calories a day so I was really hoping to lose 1lb week.

Any advice would be appreciated !


27 Replies

I'm in the same boat, W3R3. I've only lost 3lb but that just Ying tangs during the day.

Stuart448 profile image

I started this program October last year but didn’t really lose any proper weight until after I graduated and the runs got further. I have now lost 2 stone and my body has started to change shape. Think if you look at calories burned during the program it’s not massive.

GoGo_JoJo profile image

This isn't a weight loss programme. You will be gaining muscle now which is always better than fat but harder to see a difference. You'll start to notice changes in body shape over the next few weeks.

If you have access to scales that can show body fat % you'll be better able to see the result.

Keep going. You will see a loss by the end and you'll be in a better position to keep fit and active. 👍

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to GoGo_JoJo

Sorry to keep on about this, but you do not gain muscle from running. Nor can you gain muscle while losing fat.

GoGo_JoJo profile image
GoGo_JoJoModerator in reply to Rignold

And yet I have gained muscle over the course of this programme, both obvious to the eye and on my scales. I must be a science project 🤣

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to GoGo_JoJo

I would hasard that you have gained definition and your muscles appear more visible. Unless you have been doing significant progressive resistance exercise coupled with caloric surplus you will not have gained muscle. Otherwise you are indeed a science project and should apply for funding as you have achieved something contrary to known science.

Which muscle groups have you experienced these miracle gains in, out of interest?

GoGo_JoJo profile image
GoGo_JoJoModerator in reply to Rignold

Lower and upper legs front and back. I do cycling in between but I was doing that before and my job is physical but again I was doing that before too...

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to GoGo_JoJo

Cycling should be causing your muscles to become stronger and more compact as well, being also a muscle endurance exercise. It rather defies sport science that you are gaining muscle with these forms of exercise? Have you taken calf and thigh measurementshow much gain have you made? Calves are particulalrly notoriously difficult to increase the size of, even for pro bodybuilders. Arnold Schwarzenegger had to do extraordinary amounts of work to get his remain in proportion with his body as they are so stubborn in growth usually.

How much calorie surplus are you maintaining to achieve this growth?

GoGo_JoJo profile image
GoGo_JoJoModerator in reply to Rignold

I've never taken any measurements but I'm noticing much more calf than I had before. Thighs its more changing as I had flabby thighs before but all apart from the inner thigh has firmed up and lost flab. Previously I would struggle with trousers fitting my thighs in, now thighs are good but calves can be too tight. I don't know that I have calorie surplus really... I eat 2000 ish a day. I use SIS rego recovery drinks after cycling (unless very short ride) and sometimes after a hard run.

Does muscle build faster when already developed? My biceps and pecs appear to have increased again but that has to be work related as I'm pushing/pulling even heavier loads than before...

My scales tell me muscle percentage. When I bought the scales in May 2016 I was showing 29.5% muscle and got to 35.1% in Jan 18 when I started c25k and 35.4% when I graduated, where it's stayed for now. I'm sure these things aren't super accurate but they must be an indicator surely?

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to GoGo_JoJo

Okay, I think we have cracked it now: if you have lost a reasonable amount of fat, the percentage of your body that is muscle will be higher than before. Those scales are indeed not very accurate but if the change is consistent then a reasonable gauge.

You have a greater percentage of lean muscle now because your fat content is less. Which is, really, the desired outcome.

GoGo_JoJo profile image
GoGo_JoJoModerator in reply to Rignold

So its not really new muscle.... Just less fat in the way? My arms and calves are definately bigger than say a year ago 🤔

Oldfloss profile image

Lots of posts about this... as this is not a weight loss programme.. you may lose weight.. or you may not. I put weight on :)

Try a peek at the sister site..Weight Loss..loads of the folk on here are on there. The two linked work well for many!

You must make sure too you are fuelling your runs with a healthy eating regime.

You may not lose weight...but you will be fitter and stronger... and it could set the wheels in motion for more weight loss.

This is a quote from a Rignold reply to a similar post, a while ago... He explains these things really well I feel...:)

"If you maintain exactly the calories you are eating and run a lot you would lose weight. But that would be a real lot of running. So, for example if you wanted to lose the standard 1lb/week just by calories expended running, that would be 3,500 calories. Running a marathon burns around 2,500 calories. So if you ran a marathon every weekend and did 5k every weekday you could still take a rest day and lose a pound. As long as you didn't eat anything else.

Obviously this is a bit extreme. If you just ran a reasonable distance - say the 3 x 30 minutes of the programme, and added no extra foods, you would theoretically lose weight but at a much slower rate - a bit under a lb/month.

It is, as others have said, the combination of diet and exercise that allows weight management. Abs are made in the kitchen. "

in reply to Oldfloss

Goodness, when you look at it that way it's horrendous how much we have to do for a piece of cake!

I'm noticing changes in my body, in terms of toning. I probably make better food choices too now that I run. It's been a natural progression.

After reading this post I may have to think about giving my diet a lot more consideration. 🤔

Keep at it. I started losing quite a bit after graduation. I know how you feel, I was getting frustrated in those weeks but honestly it will come. Alot of people seem to find that's how it is for them too. Sounds like you are eating well so just keep at it! I am about 6 weeks past graduation and am really pleased with the loss.

I use the LifeSum app to count my calories. It's fantastic. You will lose weight once your running has reached whatever level it needs to to shed those pounds. I completely plateoed (sorry can't spell this morning), then my running kicked up a notch and now I am losing again. X

M155mel profile image
M155mel in reply to Sarahsnail

I’ve not heard of that one but have been using the free My Fitness Pal which I’m happy with, just not happy with the results! Thanks for all your encouragement I’m off to stand on the scales

Ab36 profile image

I have alot of weight to loose im just finishing week 4, have not lost anything yet but my legs are definitely changing. They feel much stronger. I feel much better, hopefully weight loss will follow. 🙄

How have you arrived at the target figure of 1600 calories/day and how strictly are you tracking it? That will be where the issue lies.

Julessn profile image

To lose weight on this programme you need to be operating on a daily calorie deficit. So say you burn 2000 calories a day, eating 1250 a day would lead to approx half a kilo weight loss a week.

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to Julessn

although that would be a very aggressive deficit and not advisable.

Julessn profile image
JulessnGraduate in reply to Rignold

Unfortunately you're incorrect. It's a 750 calorie deficit which is not aggressive. Studies have shown that you can reverse type two diabetes on an 800 calorie a day liquid diet (now that is aggressive)

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to Julessn

750 calories off a maintenance of 2000 is a 40 percent deficit, which is very aggressive and not a sensible sustainable approach. 20 percent is considered a reasonable approach that can be sustained over a period of time.

Also the higher your deficit the greater the amount of lean muscle mass lost along with fat, which is in most cases, not the desired outcome, as well as the resultant slwing of metabolism; the greater the impact on exercise performance and recovery.

Also, at 40 percent deficit you are liekly to be triggering starvation mode whereby your body will hang on to every fat meolecule it canm thining that famine looms.

The study you quote is a research experiment carried out by medical profesionals over a limited 8 week period, not a 'try this at home, kids' suggestion.

Julessn profile image
JulessnGraduate in reply to Rignold

Are you a medical professional? No. It wasn’t an 8 week study. It lasted over a year. Other studies have replicated the results. Ask your GP. Oh and here’s the official guidance

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to Julessn

The NHS plan does not, definitely NOT, advise anyone to adopt a 40 percent calorie deficit.

Try this: type into Google: "40 percent calorie deficit". Then try typing in "sustainable calorie deficit". Read some of the responses. Here's a sample from one i took at random:

"Here’s how we’re going to define the size of caloric deficits:

Small: 15% below maintenance calories.

Medium: 15-25% below maintenance calories.

Large: 25% below maintenance calories."

icklegui profile image
ickleguiGraduate in reply to Julessn

The study lasted over a year. The diets lasted between 8 and 20 weeks only.

IannodaTruffe profile image

This post in the FAQs may explain it to you

A thirty minute workout really does not burn enough calories to significantly reduce your weight.

Carolinemcd profile image

I didn’t lose any weight when I did this program last year. I did most definitely notice a change in body shape. This year (and starting the program from scratch) I am doing slimming world and have lost over a stone in three weeks. My week one loss was 11.5lbs which was EXTREME! But it’s now a comfortable 1-2lbs which is what I want in order to maintain.

Depending on how much you need/want to lose it’s a good idea to follow a weight loss plan.

Good luck and enjoy

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