So, What’s our Battle Plan?
Today I’m going to impart some True Viking Wisdom on the topic of exercising with the goal of reducing body fat and getting into shape.
I hope that after you’ve read this article, you will come away with something that you can easily incorporate into your life that will make you healthier and happier. Let’s gather round and see how we can get a plan into motion here.
Why Are We Gaining Weight?
Being healthy, particularly for those of us with an office job can be tough. We generally sit behind a screen all day crunching data, writing reports, eating too much crappy food (see my lunch article on how to fix this problem easily and save money to boot!), and most importantly, not moving around much at all.
Taking a step back to reflect, it’s easy to see that not moving around is causing us a big problem. Your body was designed to be moving frequently. This is easy to test out for yourself by going outside or to the gym and taking a good long walk. At a slow to moderate pace, most people who aren’t seriously obese can walk pretty much all day.
Walking? Can I Actually Lose Weight Doing Something Easy?
The answer to this question is YES! Doctors will tell you that walking is a great way to get started on your fitness journey and has a ton of health benefits for you. I’ve incorporated walking into my fitness and strength training routine for years and can say that it is the easiest and most productive way to shed unwanted fat if you are consistent with it.
Walking is so easy that even non-athletic people should have no problem doing it. You don’t need to have someone show you how to walk, you’ve been doing it forever!
We can take the fact that walking is something almost anyone can do, and make a plan on how to lose weight without adding too much stress to our bodies.
I’ll walk you through a plan that anyone at any level can do to start losing weight immediately.
Ok, How Do We Get Started?
The only equipment that you need to get started is a decent pair of shoes and some comfortable clothes. Walking every day isn’t overly taxing on the body, but you will need to be sure that your feet are properly protected and supported. I use a pair of running shoes to walk, and there are many options to look into. I’ll put a link to a pair of shoes that work for me and I can vouch for here: Brooks Running Shoe
After you’ve got your shoes situation sorted, and put on your comfy clothes, the next part is easy. Find a place that you’d like to walk and head on out! If you have a gym membership, you can start walking on a treadmill, which is generally what I do, especially in bad weather.
To get started, I recommend that you start with 20 minutes at a moderate pace to get used to your shoes and your pace. 20 minutes is enough to walk about a mile or so at a moderate pace of 3 miles per hour. This is a great way to get used to exercising if you haven’t been active in a while.
Pushing Things to the Next Level
Once you’re used to walking and get your routine in, you’re ready to go into serious fat burning mode on the treadmill. There is a simple “hack” that you can do to walking to make it a serious fat burner that helps you work up a sweat, but leaves you feeling great instead of tired and out of breath.
The secret to turning walking into your personal fat torching tool is the simple act of going uphill. I discovered this trick while walking on the treadmill at the gym. I found out that calories burned go up rapidly as you raise the incline level on the machine.
While walking at a 3 mile per hour pace, I was burning about 270-300 calories per hour according to the machine. I decided to raise the incline up to 9% and was surprised to see that the calories burned more than DOUBLED! I decided to walk for little while, and noticed that after a few minutes, I was sweating. I never sweat walking on a flat path, so I figured that I might be on to something and tested further.
After a good 15 minutes of walking at an incline, I was dripping sweat but I wasn’t out of breath at all. I had burned a ton more calories than I usually did on the treadmill, and felt pretty good even though my calves were aching a bit as they weren’t used to the incline walking. Turns out I set the incline too high at the beginning, but I was sensing some wisdom in what I was doing.
Making Incline Walking Your Secret Weapon
Once you’re used to walking, you can work inclines into your routine as well. Don’t make the same mistake that I did and ramp your incline too high right away. You will adapt quickly and barely notice it. But pace yourself, as sore calves are no fun, believe me.
What worked for me was walking briskly at 3.5 miles per hour and adding 2% incline every week until I eventually started walking at 10%. I’ve found that 2% a week gives your calves a chance to adapt and reduces the soreness that can come from going all out right away.
Once you get to 10% grade at a brisk walking pace, you’re burning serious calories. A typical 30 minute incline walking session for me will burn between 350-450 calories. AS for how fast you’ll lose weight? I’ve typically found that if I don’t change anything with my normal diet, that my walking helps me lose a pound every week or so if I walk every day. If I adjust my diet a bit so that I eat about 500 calories less a day than my normal diet, and add the walking, I can lose around two pounds every week to ten days. This will vary from person to person, but it works pretty consistently for me until I get rather lean.
The best part is that this is easy on your body in a way that running isn’t. Even though I’m sweating pretty hard after thirty minutes of incline walking, I could easily go longer if I wanted to, and it’s not even a problem holding a conversation with someone. I’ve never had my incline walking interfere with my strength training in the same way that more intense cardio used to.
I think anyone can use this idea to get themselves into shape.
Ways to Make Even the Easiest Solution Fail
Walking is such a simple exercise that it’s very difficult to go wrong here. The only ways to mess up would be:
Don’t do this, you want your whole body working, not just your arms. You burn WAY less actual calories if you cheat like this, and get a much less effective workout. It is not wise at all to make your work out less productive. ARMS at your sides!
- Eating a crappy diet.
Walking will burn a ton of calories, but you still won’t lose weight if you diet is out of control. No amount of exercise can fix overeating bad food. Don’t decide to “reward” yourself by eating even more junk just because you’re walking more either. You’re a human, not a dog. Be honest with yourself and get your diet in order. Most people are consuming far more calories than they think they are. I had to get real with myself and start learning how much I was actually eating vs. what I actually needed before I made real progress in my fitness.
I recommend that you start with a free calorie needs calculator and start planning your meals to meet your daily needs. To get you started on eating healthy, I have an easy lunch plan for working people that is not only healthy and balanced, but could even save you a LOT of money: Lunch Savings!
- Not actually taking the time to walk.
The plan is simple, but you do actually have to walk. Thirty minutes a day is not a huge sacrifice. Most people waste far more time browsing Facebook or watching television. Put the phone down, and get walking! Listen to your audiobooks or some music that you like, or even watch a show you want to see on your tablet or something while walking. Everyone’s busy, making excuses won’t get you anywhere you actually want to go, and no one wants to hear it.
That’s all you have to do to get on the path to losing weight. Anytime that I find my body fat levels creeping up, or my pants fitting tighter, I get on the treadmill and hit the incline. It works, it’s simple, it doesn’t even cause any discomfort like running does.
I promise you that it literally feels like cheating it’s so easy to do!
It’s not wise at all to be out of shape. Being overweight is unhealthy and costs you more money in the long run through doctor visits and medicine. Why waste your money on bills you can avoid when walking is easy?
You can take your savings and buy any fun products that you like!
Being in shape improves your quality of life so many ways that its pursuit is True Viking Wisdom at its simplest.
So let’s go take a walk!