Walking for Fatloss!
When you are making the transition to a fat loss lifestyle, it is best to look at exercise from the perspective of what impact it has on you later. Will the exercise you choose help you gain metabolically active muscle or strip it off your body? Will it help you burn fat and calories only during the workout or after as well. Will it enhance your energy and give you more free time, or does it feel like a chore and take forever. Does it decrease hunger and cravings or elevate them?
I’m a huge advocate of short intense exercise combining weight training and cardiovascular training into one workout AND low intensity walking! This is because these two activities are the most efficient way to exercise for fat loss and health. Combining these two forms of exercise into your week will:
· Build muscle AND burn fat
· They burn fat both during and after the workout
· Leisure walking can be done anywhere and short intense exercise saves on time
· Both have hormonal effects that reduce hunger and cravings.
With an efficient hormonal approach to your exercise program, you will save on time and allow your metabolism to function at its optimal level.
I am always talking about the benefits of high intensity exercise when living the fat loss lifestyle, but that is only a part of the equation. Like all good things, too much exercise can be a bad thing. Without adequate recovery, your efforts will be wasted.
The obvious form of recovery is complete rest, but your body’s ability to recover from intense exercise can be improved by adding leisurely walking!
Walking and high-intensity exercise (interval and weight training) are synergistic in their actions. In order for the body to recover properly, age well, build muscle and burn fat, it needs the correct balance of stress producing and growth promoting hormones:
· Human growth hormone (HGH)
During an exercise session the goal is to raise all of these hormones together to maximize fat loss. It has been shown that cortisol added to elevated growth hormone drastically increases the fat burning potential of growth hormone by itself. So, during intense workouts it is useful to workout at an intensity high enough to elicit this beneficial hormonal response.
However, in the days and hours following an intense workout, it is most beneficial to maximize the levels of growth hormones while minimizing the levels of stress hormones.
This is where walking comes in because walking can actually help lower cortisol levels. Though it is important to note that walking should be done at a leisurely pace! It is easy to turn walking into an “aerobic zone” workout, but this is not as beneficial. This is because moderate intensity aerobic exercise raises cortisol rather than lowers it and never reaches a high enough intensity to generate the growth promoting hormones. It is very easy to tip the scales towards stress production if aerobic exercise is all you do, but this may lead to muscle loss just as readily as fat loss.
A workout program designed for fat loss, fitness and health should combine high-intensity exercise like weight lifting, sprinting, and interval training with low intensity activity like leisure walking. Don’t even consider walking as exercise, but rather view it as a necessity to improve your health and hormonal function. This type of walking should be done at a relaxed easy pace allowing you to hold a conversation easily, and should be done as often as possible every day.
The optimal weekly training schedule should consist of:
· 2-3 short intense resistance training workouts
· 2-3 short intense interval sessions of less than 30 minutes
· 30-60 minutes of leisure walking per day
One final point is to remember that everyone is different; we all react differently to exercise and stress. Make sure that you fit exercise into your life in a way that doesn’t add stress, just do what you need to do and no more. A lot of people still believe that if a little exercise works, then more must be better. But fortunately for today’s busy lifestyle, less is more when it comes to exercise. An efficient fat loss workout is designed based on the quality of the workout, not the duration!
Committed to your fitness