Walking And Weight Loss: What Results Should You Expect?

by on May 23, 2010

Since this blog is about getting in to shape regardless of your age or level of fitness, I want to talk about the simplest way to exercise, which is walking. Walking is as easy as it gets, in fact we all have been doing it since we were toddlers. The questions is though, “Is walking effective for losing weight?” There are many layers to the answer and it mostly depends on what level of fitness that you are at and how you use walking in your routine.

Walking can be very effective if used right and a complete waste of time and energy if done how most people do it. If you put walking up against doing nothing, or worse sitting on your couch eating potato chips, of course walking is the more effective way to lose weight. But when you put it up against many other forms of exercise, walking can fall short and yield little results. How many overweight mail carriers have you seen? Surprisingly, I’ve seen alot. If just walking was the answer to weight loss, this wouldn’t be the case. (I not trying to be rude, I’m just saying.)  icon smile Walking And Weight Loss: What Results Should You Expect?

iStock 000007823895XSmall Walking And Weight Loss: What Results Should You Expect?[Not everyone was built to have six pack abs! With a little work though, we can all look our best. What a handsome fella, huh? I am the proud owner of an English Bulldog named Clark Griswold. He is just a mess and we love him! They are the best dogs and great around kids, too!]

Once someone decides that they are going to start to exercise, the first step usually will involve some sort of diet and starting to walk or jog around the neighborhood. This is a start and will be effective for a while, but it is not going to get the results that most people need to stick to their exercise goals. I am going to go over some different ways that you can approach your exercise routine that will be more effective but allow you to break in to it slowly.

The main reason that walking is not effective for very long is because your body will adapt quickly to it. Walking for a mile or two around the block is not going to be intense enough to keep your body in a caloric deficit so you can drop the weight. One thing that is important to know is that there are many different variables to losing weight and it is not as black and white as I am making it here. Just bear with me because the basic philosophy of this will make sense and help you to learn how your body reacts to different types of exercises. Walking is great for fitness in general and regardless of how you train to lose weight, I am not telling you to avoid it. In fact depending on your age, fitness level, past injuries, etc., walking may be the best thing for you to do right now.

The rest of this post is written for someone that is able to train a little more intensely than just walking. I am not going to go over resistance training, which I feel is key to losing weight, just cardio for now.

Let’s go over a few different ways to train cardio and the difference between them. When I say cardio, it could mean walking, jogging, riding a bike, elliptical machine, treadmill, etc. The type of machine is irrelevant, it’s the way that you train on them that makes the difference.

The two main types of cardio:

1) Steady State
2) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Steady State

This type of cardio involves walking or running at the same pace for the majority of the workout. (Ex. walking on a treadmill at 4.0 mph for 45 minutes.) The biggest concern with this type of training is the time issue of having to do it for so long. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t take any skill and a beginner can do it right from day one.

HIIT

This type involves short intense bursts of exercise alternated with a slower active rest period. (Ex. running on a treadmill for 30 seconds or a minute at 9.0 mph alternated with walking on the treadmill at 4.0 mph for one minute. You would continue to alternate between the two for around 15 minutes. This is way more intense than steady state and will burn more calories in a shorter time frame. The concern with this type of cardio is the risk of overtraining.

Synergistic Cardio

Another way to do cardio is to combine the two and do them both in the same workout. This is called synergistic cardio and this is something that I learned from Rusty Moore, the creator of Visual Impact. This type is probably the best way to do cardio if you are looking to lose weight, although it can also be very time consuming. With this, you will start out doing HIIT for around 15 minutes, followed by doing steady state cardio for around 30 minutes.

This will work wonders for you and especially if you train in a “fasted state”. With this, you will not eat for three hours before you train and then around an hour after training. If this seems impossible to do, believe me it isn’t. In fact one of the best kept secrets to losing body fat is “intermittent fasting“. I regularly fast for 24 hours which allows me to lose weight quickly and not have to be so strict with my diet.

If you are new to exercising, I suggest that you start out doing steady state for awhile until you feel comfortable with exercise and how your body feels afterward. Once you feel good and are ready to do more, you should move on to HIIT, and then finally Synergistic cardio.

This just scratches the surface on the different ways to train cardio for weight loss, but hopefully it gives you some insight into it. If you are serious about getting in shape and maybe even having great abs, you should consider trying each of the three types of cardio. Everybody is different and you should try to learn how your body responds to certain types of exercise. Let me know where you are at in your training and what challenges that you are facing and I can help you to get on track.

[This guy has a unique style of Power Walking! It's kind of funny, hopefully you don't try this in your neighborhood!]

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11 comments on “Walking And Weight Loss: What Results Should You Expect?

  1. Dave on said:

    Kelly,
    Good points about walking. I think walking is a great way to loosen your joints as well as provide some stress relief. Nothing better than walking with my son and dog on a nice afternoon and just taking in the fresh air. As you mention, it takes more intense cardio to really burn fat, but I think walking’s other health benefits make it a valuable part of a fitness program as well.
    Dave
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Weight Loss Math: How To Lose Weight =-.

  2. admin on said:

    Dave, I agree and I didn’t want to sound as if I thought that walking in general wasn’t good. I just think that some people underestimate what it takes to burn fat through exercise. What kind of dog do you have?

  3. Dave on said:

    I have a basset hound, beagle mix (a “bagle”). We picked him up from a shelter. The poor thing was only 30lbs with visible ribs since he was a stray in Puerto Rico. It didn’t take long for me to fatten him up to a solid 40+lbs. I’m sure your bulldog enjoys eating just as much as he does. Despite the eating, he still loves to run around outside. Days at the park are always enjoyable.
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..The Best Cardio For Weight Loss: A HIIT Workout Routine to Burn Belly Fat Fast =-.

  4. admin on said:

    Yeah,
    My Bulldog loves to eat! I may have to get him on some HIIT and Rusty’s Visual Impact before too long!

  5. Alykhan on said:

    Great post, Kelly. I think walking or any type of low intensity steady state cardio immediately following HIIT is a great little trick that most people don’t know about. The HIIT releases fatty acids into the bloodstream, then the LISS burns them off… it’s a winning combo! I’ve been using this tactic for a few months now.

  6. admin on said:

    Alykhan,
    Yeah, I learned this one from Rusty. Go figure! The guy is a wealth of knowledge and willing to help you out with whatever you need!

  7. isa from LSkechers Mens Shape Ups on said:

    You’re right- not everyone is meant to have a six pack. I stopped trying years ago :) I do take my dog out for a good walk in the morning 5 days a week. It’s the best thing I can do for my overall health. My weight is usually pretty stable, and I think my walking habit is part of the reason. I do hills for my HIIT, lol, but it seems to work for me.
    Now that I’m in my 40′s I am concerned about avoiding osteoporosis, since it runs in my family. That’s another reason I walk.

  8. NordicTrack on said:

    You can definitely lose weight from walking but I wouldn’t expect to get a lot of muscle from it. If you’re just looking for something to maintain your physical health then it’s a great idea. Otherwise I’d hit up the gym or turn your walk into a nice run :)

  9. Lisa,
    It’s also the best thing that you can do for your dogs health!

    @NordicTrack,
    If you wanted to gain muscle with walking, you would have to speed it up and do sprints. Regardless, there are many other ways to gain muscle rather than walking.
    -Kelly

  10. best workout for weight loss on said:

    Thanks for sharing your great weight loss information with me. I always look forward to your posts because I know they contain things that will help me in trying to succeed in the business. I can see where I need to change several things that I have been doing. Thanks again and God bless.

  11. evin from KVisual Impact Cardio on said:

    Hey Kelly, It’s funny, but my grandma is an awesome power walking and she is INCREDIBLE! She could out walk me any day, seriously.

    Like you said, as long as you walk right and not like many others who just go for a stroll every now and then, you can get some great weight loss results. Even still though, going for a stroll does have it’s benefits too.
    Kevin@Visual Impact Cardio´s last [type] ..1 Month After Starting Visual Impact Cardio

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