Walking for Fat Loss?

With obesity and disease increasing dramatically, many fitness experts arerecommending walking for weight loss and fitness. Some are even going so far assaying that walking is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. I strongly disagreewith this and am going to show you why walking is NOT effective at burning off bodyfat.Yes, you read that correctly…

Walking is NOT effective at burning body fat and if your goal is fat loss you mightbe wasting your time. I am not saying that walking is not beneficial, I am sayingthat if fat loss is the primary goal, there are far better choices that will deliverfar better results.

The primary benefits of walking are increased blood flow and circulation, improvedrecovery, and a strengthened immune system. There are several reasons why walking innot the best choice when it comes to fat loss. Here are just a few:

1. Walking does NOT burn a lot of calories

The lower the intensity of the activity or exercise the smaller the number ofcalories burned per unit of time. For example, you can burn more calories in 15minutes of bicycling at a high intensity level than you can in 45 minutes of easywalking.

2. Walking does NOT result in a large increase in metabolism

Another downside to walking is that because it’s generally low intensity it resultsin only a small increase in metabolism that will only last approximately 1-2 hoursafter the walk. On the other hand, metabolism increases are larger and last longer(4-24 hrs or more) when you perform high intensity cardio workouts.

3. Walking does NOT deplete muscle glycogen

Low intensity exercise like walking does not deplete muscle glycogen levels andtherefore, later that day if you have excess calories they will likely be stored asbody fat whereas if you deplete the glycogen the excess calories will primarily bestored in the muscles.

So why then do so many fitness and health experts recommend walking for weight loss?One reason is that people don’t want to hear that they have to work hard so theyfigure some activity is better than none. Another reason is that the body burns morefat for fuel when exercising at an easy pace, however, the total amount of energyused is so small that you end up burning off little body fat. That’s also why whenyou choose the “fat burning” program on your treadmill or bike it has you exerciseat any easy level. Yes, you’re burning fat, but so little that you’d have toexercise at that easy pace for hours and hours each day.

High intensity cardiovascular/aerobic exercise is much more effective in burning offthe excess body fat. In fact, several studies have been done to prove this. In onestudy they compared one group who did moderate level aerobics for 45 minutes withanother group who performed high intensity workouts for 15 minutes. They did beforeand after fitness testing including body fat analysis and found that the group whoperformed the high intensity aerobics lost nine times as much body fat!

Want more proof?

Compare the bodies of a walker, marathon runner, and sprinter. If you are notfamiliar with what a sprinters body looks like, it is very muscular and has littlebody fat while on the other hand the body of a walker will likely have the opposite,little muscle and more fat. The sprinter does little or no low intensity exerciseand does primarily short hard bursts of work while the marathoner overtrains so muchthey burn off both the body fat and the muscle and that’s why they tend to lookalmost sickly thin.

So what should you do then if your main objective is to shed those excess pounds ofbody fat?

Two things:

1. Perform some form of high intensity cardio 2-4 times per week
2. Stabilize blood sugar to minimize the storage of new fat

I know some of you by now are saying “I can’t do high intensity exercise, I have abad knee” and don’t worry, I have a solution for you. The good news is that highintensity is all relative to you and your current fitness level. For example, fastwalking up and down hills may be high intensity for you… it all depends. So don’tthink that you have to start running or something like that. Just slowly start toincrease the intensity of your cardio workouts while also maybe decreasing the timebecause you can either work hard or you can work long.

Also, you can make almost any activity or exercise high intensity…. here are a fewexamples:

· increase your speed
· use an incline or hills
· increase resistance
· perform intervals ( the most effective method)

Obviously, some exercises/activities or better suited than others but the point isif you want to burn more fat and make your workouts as productive as possible youneed to increase the intensity.

Be sure to also check out my Burn Fat FAST! ebook and audio program here:www.burn-fat-fast.com – it covers everything from cardiovascular training to strength training to nutrition and more.

As with any changes to your fitness program be careful and don’t over do it. Justbecause high intensity workouts burn more fat, don’t think that you’ll get evenbetter results by doing it everyday – that will quickly lead to over-training and aloss of muscle which will only make it even harder to burn off the fat.

So if your primary goal is fat loss, don’t waste your time walking and instead focuson progressive, high intensity cardio to maximize the effectiveness of yourworkouts.

Jesse Cannone is a certified personal fitness trainer, post-rehab specialist, nutritionist, and a national fitness presenter. He is also the author of Burn Fat FAST and A Bride’s Guide To Fast Fitness + Weight Loss in addition to many other popular fitness articles. He is known for his hard-hitting and to the point style and offers a great free email newsletter called Fitness Success News, which you can subscribe to at his website www.achieve-fitness.com

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