How to Accelerate Fat Loss by Walking
You’d be very surprised just how much the simple act of walking can help with fat loss.
Fat loss is all about a calorie deficit (OK, there’s slightly more to it than that, but that’s the first thing you’ve got to get right).
Getting into a calorie deficit should mainly be driven by changes to your diet. It’s much easier to not eat 500 calories than it is to burn an extra 500 calories.
But once you’re close to, or in, a calorie deficit, you should start looking at what else you can do to help.
Most people approach this in the wrong way. They try to spend an extra 30 minutes in the gym doing “fat loss exercises“.
This doesn’t work. It will burn some more calories, but what you can achieve with that extra time in the gym is pretty small compared to what you could achieve if you just moved more across the other 16 hours of the day you spend awake.
Walking is movement, and all movement requires energy. It’s not just “exercises” that burn calories.
If you’re using up more energy, it’s more likely that you’re going to be able to get into a calorie deficit and burn fat. You’re far better off applying that to your whole day than just to the time you spend in the gym.
Plus, walking helps with recovery from your workouts and if you walk at a brisk pace or over challenging terrain you’ll get a cardiovascular workout in as well! Win-win!
Walking for fat loss example!
Let’s say you weigh 200lbs, but you want to weigh 180. You’re tracking your calories and working out, but you’re only losing 1 pound per month.
At this rate, it’s going to take you nearly 2 years to achieve your goal. And that’s if you even get there at all. If your loss is this slow, you are eating close to your maintenance and your maintenance will get lower as you slowly lose weight. This means you’ll have to drop your calorie intake more or move more to keep the fat loss going. This is due to adaptive thermogenesis.
Let’s say you work from home and only average 3,000 steps per day. That burns 157 kcals at a weight of 200 lbs.
Let’s see how that could be improved with more movement:
- 3,000 steps: 157 kcals
- 5,000 steps: 262 kcals
- 10,000 steps: 523 kcals
- 20,000 steps: 1,047 kcals
If you upped your average steps to 10,000 per day it would burn an extra 10,980 calories over 30 days. That would mean an extra 3.13 lbs of fat lost!
(That’s because each 3,500 calories burned in a deficit = 1 more lb lost)
So 1 lb per month becomes 4 lbs per month and instead of taking 2 years to reach your goal it takes 5 months!
This isn’t that hard to do!
You can easily hit 10,000 steps per day on weekdays. On weekends you can hit 20,000 with a bit of effort.
Imagine what you could achieve if you made 10k the new norm on weekdays, and 20k on weekends.
That’s an average of 12,857 per day across the week. Or 4.4 lbs of EXTRA fat loss if applied to the above example of a 200 lb person doing 3,000 steps.
Why you might fall in love with walking
Walking is a beautiful hobby. It can be fantastic for cardiovascular fitness if you make it challenging enough and incorporate hills and mountains.
It’s great for your mental health too. Get outside and see some of the beautiful world we live in.
Walking has been great for helping me to see new places and parts of my country that I never would have.
Here’s some pictures I’ve taken on walks:
Now, I don’t have gorgeous scenery like this just on my doorstep. I’ve made deliberate trips within the UK to Wales, Scotland and other parts of England to see these places. But it all came out from a desire to do more walking.
Walking really is fun and challenging. Setting yourself a challenge of doing a certain route, or getting to the top of a certain peak is a great way to pass the time. Do it with people you love and enjoy the times and conversations you have along the way, too.
How to burn more calories with walking
Walking farther and faster will burn more calories, as this is all just a case of energy expenditure.
It requires more energy to move farther, or to move faster.
If you’re a heavier person, you’ll also burn more calories vs. lighter people if all else is equal, because it requires more energy to move a heavier object.
You can increase the number of calories burned by carrying some weight in a backpack. This is a practise known as “rucking”. Start light to begin with, and progressively overload by adding more weight over time as you get used to it.
A weighted vest may be easier, as the weight is distributed more evenly over your body, vs. a backpack where the weight is positioned behind you , which may put strain on your shoulders and back.
You can add more weight by using ankle weights and wrist weights.
You can use an app like Strava or Google Fit to keep track of your walks, including distance and duration. Then you can try to beat your personal records, meaning you’ll burn more calories over time!
A good way to motivate you to walk more and get healthier with a bunch of friends and family is to use social steps. This is an app where you can sign up with friends, and the steps recorded on your phone or wearable device are imported into a leaderboard. Let the competition with your friends motivate you to get out more and win the step count contest!
Easy ways to walk more
It’s easy to find ways to move more every day.
- Get a dog.
- Park in the farthest space from the shop.
- Don’t drive short distances, if you need to go out and you can walk, then walk.
- Join a challenge with friends to set a certain target.
- Take up a hobby like hiking.
- Walk while on phone calls, use a headset if you need to. You can do this if you’re in work calls too.
- Move around the house doing chores and tidying up if you’re on zoom calls. Put yourself on mute.
- Go up to peoples’ desks to ask questions instead of messaging them on teams or calling them.
- Go to another floor to use the toilet.
- Never take an escalator or lift, always use the stairs.
- If you have a baby, take them out in the buggy/pram every time they need a nap. They usually love sleeping like this.
Think about it and you’ll soon see there’s plenty of ways to be less lazy! Try it, it really adds up.
Make sure you track your steps using the function on your phone. Your phone probably already tracks your movements. Look for it in Apple Health, Samsung health or Google fit. If not, turn it on or download an application like one of these or get a fitbit or other wearable device.
Track your average daily/weekly steps and set yourself a target to increase it!