Walking and weight loss kind of go hand in hand. There are even dedicated walking workouts to lose weight. I will reveal to you why walking is a great way to burn fat and sneaky little tactics to make walking even more effective. I will also list why I feel walking is so good for us even more so than popular cardio routines.
[My dream is to be able to wake up and walk the beach whenever I feel like it. Walking can be an enjoyable hobby with a good scenic view. Right now I live in the concrete jungle known as London, not a fun place to walk unless you love shopping]
Walking for weight loss is actually a great idea, but I will most likely be ridiculed for this post. A lot of people are now favouring “afterburn” workouts and how can I blame you when you see Mike Chang of 6 pack shortcuts every where you go with his fat belly and then suddenly in a few short weeks he lost it with his short intense workouts. (Btw guys that picture is an exaggeration) Check out this YouTube video to see how it is done.
Anyways, these after burn effect workouts do work but they are very exaggerated. They also dismiss steady state cardio as useless. It’s not by the way.
These are great for losing weight, but as these are high intense activities you cannot do this for the whole day. It is technically possible to walk all day if you had the fitness level and wanted to and walking is part of N.E.A.T. Some recent studies have shown that walking is a valuable exercise for long term health.
Structured Workouts Aren’t Enough
Your natural inclination would be that eating a clean diet and working out in an intense manner with all its “after burning” effects would be enough.
I touched upon it earlier NEAT and this stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and is basically all unstructured exercise that contributes to burning calories.Imagine you sleep 8 hours a day, exercise an hour a day, NEAT is everything you are doing for the rest of the day, including walking, cooking, cleaning, fidgeting and even playing with your hair.
By now everyone should be familiar with the concept that to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. So to do this people typically slash calories, do resistance training and do tons of cardio. Now I have been guilty of this and I am going to tell you why it is not a great approach.
That method is excellent for losing weight. The problem lies when you transition into maintenance. What happens after you have done all this calorie restriction and cardio and then take it away? You go back to normal of course.
Many of my readers will know I am an advocate of intermittent fasting. Not only for weight loss but also for the numerous health benefits which you can see in this article.
The way I approach losing weight now is a lot different to other people. The way I do it now is to create my primary calorie deficit through diet. I aim to lose about a lb a week. It makes maintenace easier.
I perform 3 strength training sessions per week to maintain/build muscle mass. Now this is where it gets interesting. A lot of my readers will know that I used to be a big fan of HIIT.
The problem with HIIT is, that it is too intense. It is best saving the intensity for your strength workouts. It takes a lot of exertion to perform strength training and adding HIIT requires even more exertion and even more recovery which is very difficult in a calorie deficit.
Walking For Weight Loss- The Missing Link..
Now this is where walking comes into play. Walking is a low intensity exercise and can be performed at any time pretty much. As it is low intensity it doesn’t interfere with recovery from strength training.
As I mentioned earlier I practice intermittent fasting and also fasted training. During a state of fasting, your glycogen levels are low and fatty acids are released into the bloodstream. I am sure you must have heard of the fat burning zone, and walking is an exercise which uses primarily fat for fuel.
So by walking while in this optimum state, you are burning fat directly. The times I find walking is best for fat loss are about 14 hours into my 16 hour fast, 16-24 hours in an extended fast and after strength training when glycogen is even lower.
How Does This Help Transition Into Maintenance?
Well it should be clear by now but in case the penny didn’t drop here goes. Remember I said that if you chronic diet and cardio your way to weight loss, when you take these restrictions away you inevatibly pile it back on. This is the yo-yo effect.
Walking is an activity ideally you should be doing everyday. Whether it be walking to the bus stop, to work, or just around the park, it is an activity that is sustainable throughout your life. Walking is also quite relaxing when you have nice views in sight. If you absolutely hate walking, try listening to some music while doing it. I will be honest and say I hate walking just for the sake of it. So as I like to eat fresh most of time, I will walk to the shops to buy my food. This takes me about half an hour their and back.
So losing weight through sensible dieting, low intensity activity like walking which can be sustained in the long run and strength training, you can build yourself an incredible physique and maintain it with relative ease.
Is Walking Good For You?
A well resounding yes, the benefits of walking are numerous. Check out this study Walking, Vigorous Physical Activity, and Markers of Hemostasis and Inflammation in Healthy Men and Women – Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports – December 2008. The study found that walking just for half an hour per day, significantly reduces both inflammation which can lead to hardening of your arteries and also hemostasis (poor blood flow through your body). Intense exercise helps with your blood flow but wasn’t found to reduce inflammation.
If you prefer the faster way of losing weight, check out Rusty Moore’s latest instalment Visual Impact Cardio.
Some Resources To Make Walking Work For You:
I would really like to hear your comments on what you think about walking and weight loss, and how you incorporate it into your daily life.