Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Just a walk…

Just a walk… 🚶🏼‍♀️

I shared this back in the summer but as this second lockdown progresses I’ve noticed a lot of my clients are beating themselves up over not doing “enough exercise”. In many cases they’ve been trying to work from home again, and run the household etc. Some days they’re managing to fit in a workout, others they’re not and they’re feeling guilty about it, and worrying about the loss of those activity calories they “should” be burning.

During this time one thing most people are can manage is to walk more, making the most of the allowed outdoor exercise. This is often not viewed as something which contributes to those activity calories, but it’s actually doing more good.

It’s natural to associate cardio workouts with burning loads of calories; you feel sweaty and breathless so you feel like you’re working hard. A 45 min HIIT for example is very tough and regardless how hard you’re working you’re going to be feeling it. However, it may be hard to motivate yourself to commit to a 45 min session at home when there are so many other things shouting for your attention (children (literally!), work, house chores etc). In contrast an hour’s walk doesn’t feel particularly strenuous, it may be something you do anyway to walk the dog, get the shopping or get out the house for bit, and it in fact burns more calories than the workouts.

I did this experiment on myself back in the summer so the numbers will vary according to your age, height, weight and fitness levels but the principal is the same (independent studies show this too). A one hour walk a day will burn significantly more calories than a 45 min HIIT workout. So if you’re not managing a workout every day – don’t stress, especially if you’re managing to go for a walk. In addition 7 days of HIIT workouts is actually NOT a good idea – studies have shown these workouts impact negatively on sleep if you’re doing too many a week. Obviously there are cardiovascular and health benefits to the HIIT workouts which are equally as important as calories burnt so don’t ditch them completely but my point is that you shouldn’t feel guilty if all you manage is a walk on some days.



Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: How Many Steps?

Tuesday Tip: How many steps? 🚶🏼‍♀️

We’re all used to being told to walk 10,000 steps a day – but why 10,000?

It turns out the 10,000 number isn’t based on loads of research and evidence, it’s in fact based on marketing for a Japanese pedometer in the 1960s and may not in fact be the holy grail for health it’s built up to be.

10,000 steps equates to roughly 5 miles (depending on gait etc) – when you’re just starting out that’s actually a really long way! You may not have the confidence or fitness to get close to 10,000. So having that goal can backfire if you’re constantly not hitting it and feeling bad. Also of course most trackers tend not to include things like swimming, cycling or spinning in the step count or any resistance training so it’s not an accurate measure of activity. On the flip side for some hitting 10,000 is a walk in the park (🤣) due to their job or commute so why have that as the goal?

A better approach, and one I use with my clients, is to track your current steps for a week or so, and look at the patterns. Then set goals based on those – so if on work days you’re only hitting 4,000 steps, there’s no point aiming for 10,000 if you physically can’t get them, instead aim for 6,000 instead – a moderate increase in activity. And rather than just focusing on steps think about increasing overall activity across the week.

Studies suggest 150 mins of moderate aerobic activity (walking, Swimming, gardening etc) , or 75 mins of intense activity (hiit classes, spin, etc) per week is the minimum requirement for overall health. If you’re trying to lose weight start there and then if you’re hitting it increase the goals.

When it comes to fat loss increases NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) or the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise, is what matters in terms of increasing your overall calorie burn. So garden, walk, fidget, stand up – be as active as you can! And forget 10,000 and set yourself some realistic step goals.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Walk the Walk

Tuesday Tip: Walk the Walk 🚶🏻‍♂️

As things get busy in the festive period it may get harder to get to the gym. But we can always walk right? 30 minutes of walking a day has been shown to help reduce stress, improve mood, increase bone density. Walking is a great way to maintain some activity when things get busy (think of all the waking you’ll do xmas shopping!). But how can you get the most from those walks to boost the calories burnt?

#1 Pace

Studies have found walkers who vary their pace burn 20% more calories than those who maintain a constant speed. So add some intervals – 1 min fast walking pace, 30 secs slower etc.

#2 Terrain

Walking on uneven or sloped terrain has been shown to raise calorie expenditure by 30% or more. Hills require more glute, hamstring and quad engagement – big muscles which increase calorie burn and uneven surfaces use more core muscles. So try to include hills or stairs, or even different surfaces like gravel, sand, grass etc.

#3 Arms

Yes you’re mostly using your legs but by using your arms too you can boost heart rate (and cal burn) by 10-15 %. Pump your arms as you walk, or try carrying things (doesn’t need to be actual weights – water bottles work well or maybe xmas shopping if not!).

#4 No phone

Get your nose out of your phone. Walking pace decreases significantly when you’re also on your phone. So put your phone away and don’t dawdle. It will also prevent you looking like an idiot when you walk in to something or someone!

#5 Don’t just walk

It doesn’t just have to be a walk – see if you can incorporate some other moves – lunges, squats, jump jacks, or if you don’t want to do that in public, why not get a bit of an extra workout in by going up stairs two at a time instead of one, or add a little jog, larger strides or walk along low walls (like we used to as a child) – maybe even a little hop-scotch – just have some fun!

Happy Tuesday 🤗