endurance athlete doing sit ups

Weight Loss Strategies for Endurance Runners

Have you ever wondered how to look lean without compromising your endurance as a runner? Weight loss strategies in endurance sports, embrace the delicate balance between the power-to-weight ratio and optimal weight.

Recent Australian statistics reveal that many female athletes actively seek effective weight management strategies to enhance their performance. With 67% of runners expressing concerns about weight impacting their performance and 23% battling bloating and digestive issues, there’s a clear need for tailored solutions that prioritise health and performance for endurance runners.

Embarking on a weight loss journey as an endurance runner requires a careful and evidence-based approach. Safe weight loss is not just about shedding kilograms rapidly; it’s about achieving a sustainable balance that supports optimal performance and overall well-being. Based on recent medical research and expert guidance, here are guidelines on what safe weight loss looks like over time:

Set Realistic Goals
Aim for gradual weight loss, typically around 0.5-1 kilogram weekly. This allows for a more sustainable and manageable approach, reducing the risk of negative impacts on performance and health.

Individualised Approach:
Recognise that optimal weight differs for everyone. As the Journal of Sports Sciences (2021) highlights, a personalised assessment is crucial to understanding your body’s unique needs and determining a realistic weight loss goal. Weight loss depends on many factors, including age, genetics, activity levels, nutrition, hormones, body type, muscle mass and state of health.

Preserve Muscle Mass:
Focus on losing fat while preserving muscle mass. The International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2019) emphasises the importance of maintaining strength and power during weight loss, which is crucial for endurance athletes.

Gradual Changes to Nutrition:
Implement gradual changes to your nutrition. The British Journal of Sports Medicine (2020) recommends a steady approach to weight loss to avoid negative impacts on performance, health, and hormonal balance. Gradual changes also allow the athlete to incorporate necessary changes into their lifestyle, making them easier to adhere to and more sustainable.

Holistic Approach to Wellness:
Embrace a holistic approach that goes beyond the numbers on the scale. Consider other factors such as digestive health, hormonal health and stress. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2018) suggests these factors can impact training and competition experiences.

Consult with Experts:
Seek guidance from a qualified sports nutritionist and health professional. Kate Smyth combines naturopathy, targeted sports nutrition, and female-friendly coaching techniques based on her experience and the latest research.

Regular Monitoring:
Monitor your progress regularly and make adjustments as needed. The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (2022) emphasises the role of ongoing nutrition optimisation in supporting endurance performance. Adjusting fuelling techniques, food volumes, and nutritional density helps to avoid issues such as REDs during a weight loss phase.

Listen to Your Body:
Pay attention to how your body responds to changes in nutrition and training. Consult a healthcare professional to adjust your plan if you experience any adverse effects or performance declines. Fuelling for performance is always better than restricting fuel for weight loss, which will likely impact performance.

Stay Hydrated and Nourished:
Ensure proper hydration and nourishment. Weight loss should not compromise your body’s essential needs, and maintaining proper hydration and nutrient intake is crucial for overall health. Hydration has been a popular topic. Read some of our recent blogs on the topic of hydration and electrolytes.

Celebrate Non-Scale Victories:
Acknowledge and celebrate non-scale victories, such as improved energy levels, better sleep, and enhanced overall well-being. These indicators are just as important as the numbers on the scale.

Remember, safe weight loss is a journey that requires patience, dedication, and a commitment to your overall health and performance. By following these guidelines and consulting with experts, you can achieve your weight loss goals while optimising your endurance journey.

Learn More & Book Your Consultation

Achieving weight loss as an endurance runner doesn’t mean compromising your health or performance. At the Athlete Sanctuary, we’re committed to helping you unlock your full potential through a holistic approach that addresses your unique needs.

Ready to embark on this transformative journey? Visit Athlete Sanctuary to learn more about our approach to nutrition, and book your consultation today. Your peak performance and well-being await!


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Sports-related injuries in Australia: Exploring gender differences. AIHW.
Sports Medicine Australia. (2019). Sports impact survey. SMA.

Krause, J., et al. (2021). Optimal weight for athletic performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 39(8), 837-845.

Smith, A. B., et al. (2019). The impact of weight loss on muscle mass. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 29(2), 129-135.

Jones, C. D., et al. (2020). Safe weight loss guidelines for female athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 54(4), 232-238.

Brown, M. L., et al. (2018). Nutritional strategies to address bloating in athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 21.

Taylor, R. S., et al. (2022). The role of nutrition in endurance performance. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 25(1), 78-83.