Not just another pedestrian exercise, walking may actually be the underrated king of fat-loss regimes.
According to celebrity trainer and YouTube sensation Thomas DeLauer, a science-based approach to walking can reduce your body mass index, BMI, and get you down to a lean 12% body fat—the benchmark for abs you can count, not just pinch.
DeLauer, whose YouTube channel boasts 3 million subscribers and who has graced the cover of countless international magazines, delves into the nitty-gritty of walking for fat loss.
“This means that walking in a fasted state, not even in an extremely fasted state, is going to get you more overall fat loss benefit,” says DeLauer.
Timing it Right
The timing of your walks can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of fat loss, according to DeLauer.
He points to a study which divided participants into two groups: one ate breakfast before walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes, and the other group walked without eating first.
The research revealed that those who ate breakfast experienced high levels of carb oxidation before, during, and after their walk, essentially using carbohydrates instead of fat for fuel.
“Although both groups would lose weight, one would lose fat while the other would not necessarily lose all weight in fat,” explains DeLauer.
For those who find it difficult to take a morning stroll on an empty stomach, DeLauer has a workaround: “You want to time your walks when you are the most hungry or in between your meals.”
The Science of Fat Loss
At a pace where one utilizes 50-60% of their VO2max, walking three times a week for 12 weeks can significantly decrease BMI, subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat, according to studies DeLauer references.
The Total Package
Beyond the physical benefits, walking offers mental and emotional advantages. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and even boost creativity. DeLauer points out that this can lead to better lifestyle choices and further aid in fat loss.
“It’s not just about how you look; it’s also how you feel and think. Those factors often contribute to your overall discipline in maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” says DeLauer.
Why Walking Rules the Exercise Kingdom
- Caloric Efficiency: Walking, especially at a brisk pace, burns a notable amount of calories. The exact number varies depending on speed, distance, and body weight, but creating a calorie deficit is key to fat loss.
- Low-Impact and Accessible: Unlike high-impact activities like running or jumping, walking is gentle on the joints and can be done almost anywhere.
- Targeted Fat Burning: Walking predominantly uses fat as energy, making it particularly effective for fat loss.
- Preservation of Muscle Mass: Walking helps preserve metabolically active muscle mass, which aids in long-term fat loss.
- Sustainability: One of the key elements to successful fat loss is consistency, and walking is something you can easily integrate into your daily routine.
Whether you’re looking for visible abs or a sustainable and effective fat-loss regimen, perhaps it’s time to stop running away from the simplest form of exercise—walking.
As DeLauer emphasizes, the path to a lean 12% body fat might start with putting one foot in front of the other.