How to Turn Your Walk Into an Actual Fat-Burning Workout



It's getting close to that time of year when I'll no longer be able to hide under layers of sweats and pullovers. The problem is that I don't really have any current fitness habits so I have to start from scratch.    If you've fallen off the fitness wagon, walking is the low-effort, low resistance way to get back on track.  Just the act of walking alone is enough to kickstart your fitness journey but if you want to experience noticeable results, we got to get intentional on how to transform a leisurely walk into an effective fat-burning, muscle-toning workout. 

 Timing Matters

[fasted walking.]
If you time your walk correctly, you can maximize the amount of fat you burn per session.  For instance, when I first got into intermittent fasting, I would walk in the late morning, right before I broke my fast fast.  My reasoning was that the sugar in my bloodstream was already depleted because I was in a fasted state.  If my walk required additional energy reserves, my body would either utilize the glycogen stored in my muscles or (if glycogen was depleted), it would start to break down fat.  

Another walking strategy that works amazingly well for me is walking after dinner.  

[post meal walks.]
 I wrote about how walking after meals helps clear the bloodstream of excess fat while lowering blood sugar.   After a big day of eating, or whenever I feel bloated, I always squeeze in a walk at the end of the day.  Guys, this works.  The walk doesn't have to be rigorous to be effective.  Long leisurely walks at dusk will still do the job.  The reason why this is effective is that your body will work to move the sugars (carbs) from your meal into your muscles so it's ready to be utilized on your walk. If you don't eat until the next morning, your body will be in a more fasted state than if you binged watched your favorite show on the couch after dinner instead of going for a stroll.  

Go the Distance. 
If you are serious about using walks to fuel your weight loss, my #1 tip would be to extend the time and distance of your walks.  There's this lady on Youtube who lost a good share of her body weight by committing to walking 6 miles a day.  Former Basketball Wife star, Draya Michele once mentioned that she walked 5 miles a day on her treadmill to help trim down after having her second child. Long walks can fly by if you're listening to your favorite podcast or audiobook.  Listening to audiobooks while walking is such an enjoyable experience. If you have any goals to read an X number of books per year, audiobook walks is the way to do it. 

Walking as a Workout
Now, if you want to build lean muscle on your walk, you'll have to be a bit more intentional.  I hate doing ab exercises so when I learned that we can strengthen our core while walking, I was excited to try it out.  The act of walking alone barely engages the abdominal muscles so we have to be conscious of the way we walk if we want to strengthen our abs.  If we tighten our abs on our walk, we activate the core causing it to become stronger.  There are tons of videos on TikTok that can be done while standing up.  This gives me hope that we can integrate core activating movements without having to knock out a bunch of crunches.  

[Interval Walking]
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is my least favorite type of exercise....but, I gotta admit that it's extremely effective.  When I think of HIIT training, I envision someone running at full speed, at an incline, on the treadmill.  Yes, this is the most common type of HIIT exercise but did you know that you can also burn fat & tone up via high-intensity interval walking?  Basically, it involves altering your walking pace every so often. You can walk normally then switch to speed walking for 30 seconds or 1-minute intervals or you can go from walking to a light jog....or full-on sprint.  Whatever you're able to accomplish, you'll absolutely burn more fat than staying at the same pace for the duration of your walk.  

[Don't Just Walk...Exercise] 
Lastly, if you are serious about increasing muscle mass from your daily walks, consider adding in some actual exercise movements in the process.  For instance, the park I normally walk at has a couple of bridges that stretch over the small lakes.  Instead of walking over those bridges, I'll opt to do lunges across so I can tighten and tone my core, legs, and glutes.  There are also a few benches along the way which creates a perfect opportunity to do step-ups.  If I come across any type of incline, I'll force myself to run across it instead of walking.  Sometimes I'll run the bleachers located by the kid's soccer field.  Basically, I look for any and all opportunities to sneak in a little bit of exercise to turn my walk into a full-on workout. 
If I haven't walked in a while, I start with the basics without adding exerting myself so much. Walking is easy, free, and effective.  It's really a no-brainer. 

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