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SANE 203 / Lesson 3

Does Walking Burn Fat Effectively?

with The Biggest Losers Jay and Jen Jacobs, and Jonathan Bailor

Jay: Every time I am in the supermarket, I see magazines that talk about walk off 5 pounds, 15 pounds, 20 pounds. On the show, we did a ton of walking in addition to working out and it really helped us a lot. I have run into people that say “I am not going to exercise, I hate to exercise, I never want to exercise.”

Realistically, honestly, is there any science which show that somebody, maybe it is going to be slow, is there any science which show that somebody could just walk the pounds off, obviously if they are eating better, but is that realistic or is that kind of one of those things that just sells more magazines and books? I am very curious to find out your thoughts on that.

Jonathan: Walking is excellent for our health, both our physical health and our mental health. We should be sure to walk as much as we possibly can. That 10,000 steps a day guideline we all hear is spot on. The key thing to keep in mind about walking though is while it is good at something such as mental and physical health, it is not good at other things such as maybe making us grow taller. Now, I know that sounds a little bit stupid, stick with me here for a second.

Walking doesn’t make us taller, why? Being taller is more of a genetic and a hormonal issue and by walking we certainly don’t change our genetics and we don’t change our hormonal balance. Because of that, it doesn’t make us taller. What does this have to do at all with the question at hand?

When it comes to fat loss and the core metabolic change that we are after with the development of lean muscle tissue, so that we look firm and trim and feel great, and the shedding of fat — that is a hormonal issue. It is not a caloric issue, it’s a hormonal issue and if we want to change that long-term, we have to change our hormones and walking, just like we talked about with the taller example, doesn’t change our genetics, it does not change our hormones and because it doesn’t change our hormones, just like it doesn’t make us taller, it’s not in and of itself going to help us become slimmer long-term because again, remember it’s not about manually balancing calories in and calories out. It’s about deep hormonal change so that we restore our body’s natural ability to keep us slim and balance calories automatically.

That hormonal change is achieved through less but higher quality exercise such as intense and safe resistant training or eccentric training as I prefer and my research recommends. Key thing again, walking is awesome for health both mental and physical, but it doesn’t cause the hormonal change necessary for long-term fat loss. Should you walk? Absolutely as much as you can. Should you walk if your goal is to burn fat? It’s still great for your health, so keep it up. But should you do other forms of exercise that are specifically designed at creating that fat-burning hormonal change? Absolutely.