You may or may not know what it is, but if you didn’t know, it is… WALKING. Walking is by far one of the most underrated things you can do or add to your fitness and fat loss program. But it isn’t a magic pill.
Let me preface this a little bit. This is a chart (Figure 1: Resting Energy Expenditure and Weight Loss) that talks about what contributes to energy expenditure the most. This is basically showing how much calories you burn.
The most important thing to remember is that fat loss is all about calories in versus calories out. If you can increase energy expenditure and decrease calorie intake, then that is one sure fire way to lose weight.
Resting energy expenditure is the biggest factor with weight loss and there are three ways to best influence this: Diet, Exercise and Diet & Exercise.
The chart shows the effectivity of the three ways. Decreasing the amount of calories and increasing amount of exericses or the combination. Funny thing is that it shows that exercise alone is probably the least effective in terms of increasing your amount of energy expenditure. Diet is the most effective. Right in the middle is the combination of diet & exercise.
How important is the role of nutrition in fitness and in fat loss specifically? Super important! So make sure your diet is on point because you cannot out train a bad diet.
Thermic Effect of Feeding– food itself uses up calories to burn. When we talk about eating, make sure you have enough proteins because it typically takes more calories to burn than it actually gives back to you. Make sure you’re high in protein, less on carbs and fats.
Two things that create Activity Energy Expenditure are: Energy Expenditure (working out to burn calories) and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT– contributes more to fat loss than the former). This means that the things you do outside of your workouts can help you burn more calories than exercise itself.
Exercise is important because you need it to add in more muscles. Muscles help you do a lot of things. Exercise increases your resting energy expenditure, keeps you healthy, keeps you moving, and keeps you feeling young. So, you still need to do it. But… can you imagine non-exercise activity? Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis actually shows that it contributes more to anything.
Walking may help burn more fat.
They did a 12-week randomized control where they compared the effects of two groups of people. One group was on a low calorie diet. The other group was on a low calorie diet plus were required 3 hours of weekly walking. They looked at the different factors like: resting energy expenditure, body composition, cardio etc. All of these people were overweight or obese.
When they completed the study, what’s interesting is that there was no significant difference between the groups in terms of resting energy expenditure. Not much change on either their body composition or cardio or heart outcomes. Both groups lost a very similar amout of weight while being on a low calorie diet.
But get this… the walkers experienced a significant decrease in fasting insulin and found that they lost a little bit more body fat. Although the non-walking group and the walking group lost about the same amount of weight, the walking group lost a little bit more body fat. They proposed that it was probably because they burned up more calories.
Here’s my take on this: In 2009, an interesting study talked about Postprandial (fancy word for ‘after eating’) Walking is better for lowering glycemic effect of dinner than pre-dinner exercise in type 2 diabetic individuals. It says that whenever you go for a walk after you eat, your body burns most of the extra calories instead of it being stored as fat.
Imagine (if you don’t walk) after eating; the food you’ve eaten goes into your system, gets digested and then all the extra calories that your body doesn’t need goes through a process and gets converted into fat to store for later.
Whereas if you go for a walk after you eat; in another study, showed that walking increases the rate of motility. This means that walking increases the speed of digestion of all the food going through your gut. A lot of that food could be utilized for energy faster.
10,000 Steps Per Day
This ties into one of our challenges in the group too. If you’re not walking after dinner to speed up fat loss, this may be the best time to start. How much walking? Typically 10,000 steps per day. It is a realistic number. If you are giving yourself breaks or your work is very sedentary, it’s tough to hit.
My wife, for example works in accounting and works in front of the computer a lot. We had to find a lot of hacks for her to get her step count and activity up. One of them was making sure she was standing while working. We’re also looking at getting a treadmill underneath her desk just to get her moving.
A few more hacks or tips for getting 10,000 steps and/or extra:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator (if you live in a building)
- Park further away from the door when you go to the shops or mall– I know sometimes we’re in a rush and take the nearest parking spot. Go with the first parking spot you see so you have to walk a little bit.
- Go for a break: walk in between shifts– making sure you’re walking for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Walking after dinner
- Instead of sitting in a break room, go for a walk
These are just a few strategies but 10,000 steps should be a minimum.
If you want to be really aggressive with your weight loss, I would prescribe up to 12,000 steps/day which is a little bit more and a little bit more challenging to hit. But if you hit that 8,000-10,000 steps, you’re doing pretty good.
If you want to make sure that your non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT is well contributing to your fat loss… WALK (the most underrated exercise for fat loss).
You may know what it is…but if you didn’t you need to listen to this episode where you’ll learn:
⚖ What contribute the MOST to fat loss and what contributes least
⏲ The ideal time to do this exercise
📈 How much of this exercise is needed to see results
For more episodes visit: https://www.fight.fitness/being-a-ninja-podcast/
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