I used to run – a lot. I ran because I thought it was my best bet for fat loss and staying “skinny.” Once I became enamored with weight lifting, running for miles on end didn’t exactly complement my training.
I was exhausted 24/7, my legs never recovered, and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. Then my coach changed my life. He said, “I want you to incline walk for 30 minutes 4 days a week – that’s your only form of cardio.”
“WALK? That’s it?!” Surely I would gain fat and lose definition… right?
To this day incline walking is my favorite, and basically only, form of cardio. It’s kept my body fat low, training on track, and has increased my cardiovascular conditioning immensely.
Walking could be your training bff if you:
- Have joint problems
- Want to keep your relative strength
- Are looking to burn fat
- Need an excuse to power through a few podcasts a week, uninterrupted
So, what makes walking so great? I’m glad you asked.
- Walking doesn’t add much training stress to your body. If you already have a pretty intense workout regimen, your body might not be able to handle more intense forms of cardio, like HIIT. But, it’s hard to over train by walking.
- It’s healing for the body. Walking generates increased blood flow, which restores tired muscles and reinvigorates your systems. Plus, it can loosen up tightness and provide an incredible warm-up.
- It’s low intensity. Which means it scorches fat and doesn’t eat up muscle.
- Turn up the incline and the speed, and you’ve got a recipe for an increased VO2 max. No, you might not be ready for the Boston Marathon, but your lungs and work capacity will say “thanks.”
- Unlike HIIT, walking is extremely functional. It’s a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life. So incorporating it into your daily workout is a great way to plan for a healthier future.
- Did I mention podcasts? Plug in and tune out the world.
For me, walking has been an incredible addition to my training routine. Usually I hop on the treadmill for 10 brisk minutes prior to a lift and then hop back on for 20-30 minutes after. According to some sources, you won’t experience optimal fat burning unless you walk for 45 minutes or more – but it’s not an exact science.
As long as you’re sweating, your heart rate is increased (preferably in the 65-80% zone), and your muscles are moving – you’re doing OK in my book.
The best part? Anyone can do it – anywhere.
Pro tip: Don’t try to read and fast-walk. I heard from a friend that you could trip and fall and make a complete fool of yourself. But that’s just what I heard.
Happy walking and positive vibes,