I just made two blogs and videos on the benefits of walking for health and weight loss and on the amount of extra calories we burn while walking. Just in time for this entry, as I just hit a personal milestone – as part of my 2021 Body Transformation project I made a commitment to do at least 10K steps per day during the first 3 months and to hit 1,000,000 steps in total. I just accomplished that today and I am happy to share my experiences with you.
Is it an accomplishment?
I would say yes – it’s not a lifetime achievement, but I am glad that I have done it. It helped me to stay active, to make right choices in terms of favoring healthier lifestyle alternatives such as walking to work instead of driving, having walking dates, and having a more dynamic lifestyle in general. At the same time, it helped me to pace myself a bit as walking puts some sort of a natural cap to your mobility. Also, it helped me to boost my metabolism, which would normally slow down as I have been on a very strict diet, and thus allowed me to burn some extra calories.
What is the caloric impact of it?
And speaking of calories… One million steps sounds like a lot and one might think that I’ve burned a lot of calories during this activity. In my previous blog I outlined my calculations and came up with an average number of 43.3 kcal per 1,000 steps of my regular walking. So, the 1 million steps figure translates into extra 43,300 kcal burned, which is an equivalent of approximately total energy expenditure of 2 weeks or a little bit more. Or, if we convert it into fat –roughly 12 pounds of body fat. Which is not that much assuming that not all the calories come from fat and even if they do come from fat, that fat might be dietary fat, not necessarily body fat.
What is its impact on fat loss?
With all these assumptions in mind, I can safely say that these 12 pounds are the absolute maximum potential for fat loss, but, again, keeping in mind that a) the calories came from all sources of energy and body fat is just one of them, and b) I would naturally walk with an estimate of around 5K steps a day anyhow, my million steps journey led to a much more modest body fat loss, likely around 3-4 pounds in total.
How does it compare to other initiatives?
Since it’s not the first body transformation initiative of mine, I can actually compare it to my previous 3-month body transformation that I had in 2018. I’ve lost 43 pounds over the course of 3 months, and I didn’t focus on walking at all. Just pure diet. This time, I am close to 3-month mark, and I have lost just shy of 40 pounds already – almost exactly the same number, but now with the commitment to do 1 million steps. I think it clearly shows that the impact of this commitment is negligible.
What was the cost of it?
Nothing is free in life, and as much as I try treating this journey as a walk in the park, literally, I must admit that there are costs to it too. First of all, I did walk more than usual, and this walking takes time, I would say that I’ve been doing an extra hour of walking or more per day on average and this does affect my productivity – it takes time, focus, and it fragments my day as I need to dedicate some time in the evening to hit my goal of daily 10K steps. Also, it distracts me from my workouts and some household chores that would take some time and energy otherwise, so I am not so sure if obsessing about doing certain number of steps a day is beneficial. More is better, but without counterproductive expectations.
It was a nice commitment to make and a nice personal achievement to talk about, but definitely not more than that. I am happy that I did it as part of my 2021 Body Transformation and I even plan to continue walking more in the future as my transformation journey continues, but I can attest to the fact that walking on its own is not particularly helpful for weight loss. At the same time, I want to emphasize again that it improves your general health and fitness level and it helps with metabolic slowing and overcoming plateaus in weight loss.
That was my main message of today and I assume that it might be different from your experiences. Please feel free to share your thoughts on my YouTube channel. Also, I would encourage you to explore my next two blogs which will be dedicated to 15 days of very low-calorie diet, which is also a part of the phase 1 of my 2021 Body Transformation project and my upcoming report on the 2021 Body Transformation project itself, which I plan to post just after July 1st, which is my first planned transformation milestone.