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Muscle for life

The Easiest Cardio Workout You Can Do (That Actually Works)

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The Easiest Cardio Workout You Can Do (That Actually Works)

Sick of cardio workouts that make you sick? Want to lose fat faster and get fitter the “easy” way?

 

If you want to burn calories and lose fat faster without even breaking a sweat, then you’ve come to the right place.

You’re not going to need any special equipment, gadgets, or skills.

You’re not going to need to track your heart rate, time your intervals, or log your miles.

All you’re going to do is something that you’ve been doing every day since you were a toddler, and that you’ll do for the rest of your life.

It’s walking, of course, and while it’s no high-intensity interval training, it deserves more attention than it gets.

That is, it’s not the best way to lose fat rapidly, but it’s definitely the easiest way to burn additional calories and lose weight faster.

So in this article, you’re going to learn why walking is an “unsung hero” of cardio workouts and how to use it to burn more fat without burning yourself out.

How Much Does Walking Really Help?

cardio workouts

Walking doesn’t seem to qualify as a bonafide “cardio workout” because, well, it’s easy. And when it comes to exercise, “easy” is usually equated with “worthless.”

It shouldn’t be, though.

Yes, the best results generally come from strenuous activities like heavy weightlifting and HIIT, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place for low-intensity exercise like walking.

Case in point:

A study conducted by scientists at California State University with college-aged men and women found that subjects that ran a 10-minute mile burned about 190 calories.

Subjects that walked a 19-minute mile burned fewer calories, of course, but it’s not as few as you might think–about 111 calories.

Again, this isn’t going to move the needle like high-intensity interval training will, but if you do that several times per week, it can add up.

Other research shows that walking just a few miles per week is enough to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and all-cause mortality (death from any cause).

Walking has other benefits too…

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

Walking Is Very Easy on the Body

cardio workouts at home

Managing stress (and thus cortisol) levels is an important part of minimizing muscle loss while restricting calories to lose fat.

You keep stress at bay primarily by managing how much you eat and exercise. And this is where many people go astray.

They eat far too little and exercise far too much, and this can cause a whole host of problems ranging from depression to muscle loss to low energy to food cravings and more.

Well, walking is great in this regard because, unlike more intense forms of exercise, it places very little stress on the body.

In fact, research shows that walking can counteract the effects of stress and reduce cortisol levels, which means an overall smoother dieting experience.

Thus, if walking is your only form of exercise while you’re dieting, you probably couldn’t do enough to risk overtraining.

It also means that you can safely add several hours of walking per week on top of an already rigorous exercise schedule.

Walking Minimally Impacts Muscle Gains

cardio exercises

Research shows that cardio workouts can directly impair strength and muscle hypertrophy gains.

This is why strength athletes dramatically reduce or eliminate cardiovascular work altogether leading up to a competition, and why many bodybuilders generally keep cardio to a minimum while “bulking.”

If you look closer at the science, though, you notice that not all forms of cardio are equally detrimental to weightlifters.

For example, running clearly impairs muscle and strength building but cycling and rowing don’t seem to.

There are two likely reasons for this:

1. Cardio that mimics the biomechanical movement of muscle-building exercises (the squat and row in the case of cycling and rowing) involves and trains the same muscles.

The subject of why muscles fatigue during exercise is extremely complicated, but we know that both aerobic and anaerobic capacities are major factors.

Even when you’re doing a highly anaerobic activity like sprinting or weightlifting, your body’s aerobic system is still producing a significant percentage of the necessary energy.

Thus, if you improve a muscle’s aerobic capabilities through certain aerobic exercises like cycling, you will see an improvement in your anaerobic capabilities as well (like squatting, for example).

2. Cardio that is low-impact doesn’t require much recovery.

It causes very little soft tissue damage, adding little training stress for the body to cope with.

Now, walking doesn’t mimic a muscle-building movement and thus won’t likely improve your performance in the gym, but it’s as low-impact as you can get.

And that means you can use it to burn calories and without getting in the way of your progress in the weight room.

Walking Preferentially Burns Fat

cardio workout plan

Walking may not burn many calories, but the calories it does burn come primarily from fat stores.

You see, you burn both fat and carbs when you exercise, and the proportions vary with the intensity. As intensity increases, so does the reliance upon muscle glycogen for energy over fat stores.

This is why a very low-intensity activity like walking taps mainly into fat stores for energy, whereas high-intensity exercise pull much more heavily from carbohydrate (glycogen) stores.

And this is also why some people think low-intensity steady-state cardio is best for losing weight.

Well, it’s not (research clearly shows that high-intensity training burns more fat over time), but it’s certainly the easiest and least stressful way to augment weight loss..

How Much Walking Do You Have to Do?

cardio workouts for men

The biggest downside to walking as a cardio workout is it doesn’t burn all that much energy (about 300 to 350 calories per hour).

To put that in perspective, a pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories’ worth of energy, and you have to burn quite a bit more than that to actually lose a pound of fat.

That means that even when your diet is right, you’d need to do quite a bit of walking (several hours per week) to see any noticeable changes in your body composition.

That said, when it comes to losing fat, every calorie burned helps, so even relatively small amounts of walking will help you reach your goals faster.

This is especially true if you do other exercise as well.

For example, if you add weightlifting to the mix, you can dramatically increase fat loss.

Just four heavy sets of deadlifts can burn over 100 calories alone, and that’s not taking into account the further energy expenditure resulting from the “afterburn effect.”

Research also shows that weightlifting is particularly effective for losing “stubborn” belly fat.

It’s also worth noting that I’ve worked with many people that have used a combination of weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, and walking to lose fat rapidly.

The common layout is like this:

  • 3 to 5 1-hour weightlifting sessions per week
  • 2 to 3 25-minute HIIT sessions per week
  • 2 to 3 30 to 45-minute walks per week

If you do that and follow a proper meal plan, you will lose fat (and not muscle!) faster than you ever have before.

Try Fasted Walking to Lose Fat Even Faster

cardio exercises for weight loss

If you’ve ever looked for advice on how to lose fat faster–and especially hip, belly, and thigh fat–you’ve probably read about exercising on an empty stomach.

Well, exercising when your stomach feels “empty” won’t necessarily help you lose fat faster, but exercising in a “fasted” state will.

This distinction is important because your stomach is empty when your body is in a fasted state, but your stomach feeling empty doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a fasted state.

What exactly is a fasted state, then?

Well, it has to do with how your body processes and absorbs the food you eat.

When you eat a meal, it gets broken down into various molecules that your cells can use, and these molecules are released into your blood. Insulin is released as well, and its job is to shuttle these molecules into cells.

Depending on how much food you eat, your insulin levels can remain elevated for several hours (anywhere from 3 to 6+).

When your body is digesting and absorbing what you’ve eaten, your body is in a “fed” or “postprandial” state (prandial means “having to do with a meal”). During this period, insulin levels remain elevated.

Once the meal has been fully processed and absorbed, insulin levels drop to a “minimum” (or “baseline”) level, and your body enters a “fasted” or “postabsorptive” state.

Every day your body moves between “fed” and “fasted’ (or “postprandial” and “postabsorptive”) states.

So, to recap:

  • Exercise done when insulin levels are elevated and food is still being processed and absorbed is “fed” training.
  • Exercise done when insulin levels are at baseline and food is no longer being processed and absorbed is “fasted” training.

Now, research shows that fasted training offers several unique fat loss benefits, including an increase in both lipolysis and fat oxidation rates and improved blood flow to the notoriously “stubborn” abdominal region.

(Go here to get the whole rundown on how this works and why.)

These fat burning benefits can be amplified with the following supplements as well.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I want you to know that the supplements I recommend in this article are not just what I personally use but they are from my supplement line, LEGION.

As you probably know, the supplement industry is notorious for its lies and shenanigans. The truth is the majority of the supplements you see in the magazines and on the shelves aren’t going to help you reach your goals faster.

That’s why I decided to create the products I myself have always wanted: science-based formulations, clinically effective dosages of all ingredients, no fillers or unnecessary junk, and natural sweetening and flavoring.

You can learn more about LEGION and my goal to change the supplement industry for the better here.

And if you like what you see and decide to support my work…you’re awesome. 🙂 It’s because of people like you that I get to spend my time writing articles like this that help others get into the best shape of their lives.

β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB)

There is a downside to fasted training that you should know about: muscle breakdown is dramatically increased.

This is bad simply because too much muscle breakdown impairs total muscle growth over time. Preventing this is simple, though.

β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (also known as HMB) is a substance formed when your body metabolizes the amino acid leucine, which is an amino acid that directly stimulates protein synthesis.

HMB is often sold as a muscle-building aid but the research purported to demonstrate these benefits is shaky at best, hindered most by design flaws. Thus, I’m not comfortable making any claims about muscle growth.

There is one benefit of HMB that’s well established, however: it’s an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent.

That is, it’s very good at preventing muscle breakdown, which means you will recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness (and the free acid form shows the most promise in this regard).

It also has no effect whatsoever on insulin levels, which means it can’t break your fasted state.

This makes HMB perfect for use with fasted training. Its powerful anti-catabolic effects and non-existent insulin effects means you reap all the fat loss benefits of training fasted without any of the problems relating to muscle loss or insulin secretion.

It’s also worth noting that HMB is superior to leucine in suppressing muscle breakdown because it’s more anti-catabolic than its “parent” amino acid.

This means it’s also more effective than branched-chain amino acid supplements because they rely on leucine for their anti-catabolic effects (isoleucine and valine are very weak in this regard).

In terms of which specific HMB supplement I recommend, I’ve included a clinically effective dosage in every serving of my pre-workout fat burner FORGE.

FORGE is a fat burner made specifically for use with fasted training and it contains clinically effective dosages of…

  • HMB. As you now know, HMB is very good at preventing muscle breakdown, and this means you will recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness.
  • Yohimbine. Research shows that yohimbine enables your body to reduce fat stores faster, and it’s particularly useful as you get leaner and are battling with stubborn fat holdouts.
  • Citicoline. CDP-choline (also known as citicoline) is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain that increases levels of another chemical called phosphatidylcholine, which is vital for brain function.

Research shows that supplementation with CDP-choline improves attentional focus, and I included this in FORGE because most people find fasted training more mentally draining than fed training and CDP-choline can help counteract this.

The bottom line is FORGE helps you lose fat–and “stubborn” fat in particular–faster, preserve muscle, and maintain training intensity and mental sharpness.

forge-bottle1

Caffeine

As weight loss boils down to energy consumed vs. energy expended, caffeine helps you lose fat by increasing your body’s daily energy expenditure.

Caffeine also improves strengthmuscle endurance, and anaerobic performance, and also reverses the “morning weakness” experienced by many weightlifters.

Part of maximizing the fat loss benefits of caffeine is preventing your body from building up too much of a tolerance, however. The best way to do this is to limit intake, of course.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Before training, supplement with 3 – 6 mg caffeine per kg of body weight. If you’re not sure of your caffeine sensitivity, start with 3 mg/kg and work up from there.
  2. Keep your daily. intake at or below 6 mg per kg of body weight. Don’t have 6 mg/kg before training and then drink a couple of coffees throughout the day.
  3. Do 1 – 2 low-caffeine days per week, and 1 no-caffeine day per week. A low day should be half your normal intake, and a no day means less than 50 mg of caffeine (you can have a cup or two of tea, but no coffee, caffeine pills, etc.).

Personally I get my caffeine from my pre-workout PULSE, which contains a dehydrated and concentrated form of caffeine (caffeine anhydrous) shown to be more effective for improving performance than what is naturally found in beverages like coffee.

PULSE also contains clinically effective dosages of 4 other ingredients scientifically proven to improve workout performance:

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like…if you want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver…then you want to try PULSE.legion-pulse

Yohimbine

Yohimbine is made from the Pausinystalia yohimbe plant, and it helps the body “tap into” fat stores.

(Not a very technical explanation, I know–if you want to know exactly how it works, check out this article of mine on how to lose stubborn fat.)

Yohimbine accelerates weight loss, but only works if you’re training in a fasted state. Elevated insulin levels negate yohimbine’s effects.

I’ve cut both with and without fasted training and yohimbine and I can say with absolutely certainty that with is noticeably faster. So much so that I think the biggest benefits of fasted training are that it lets you use yohimbine and it makes the other supplements discussed in this article more effective.

By itself, fasted training will make a slight difference in how quickly you lose fat. Combined with these supplements, however, it’s quite dramatic.

In terms of dosages, research has shown that .2 mg/kg of body weight is sufficient for fat loss purposes, and that ingesting it prior to exercise is particularly effective.

Some people get overly jittery from yohimbine, so I recommend you start with .1 mg/kg of body weight to assess tolerance. If you feel fine, then increase to the clinically effective dosage of .2 mg/kg.

Furthermore, yohimbine can raise blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, I don’t recommend you use it.

In terms of which specific yohimbine supplement I recommend, you’re probably not surprised that I’ve included a clinically effective dosage in every serving of my pre-workout fat burner FORGE.

forge-bottle1

PHOENIX Fat Burner

PHOENIX’s caffeine-free formulation is quite a bit different than FORGE’s and is actually made to be “stacked” with it (taken together).

PHOENIX helps you burn fat in three different ways:

  • It dramatically increases metabolic speed.
  • It amplifies the power of fat-burning chemicals produced by your body.
  • It increases the feeling of fullness from food.

It accomplishes this through clinically effective dosages of several ingredients, including…

Through these mechanisms, naringin also works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin to further accelerate the basal metabolic rate.

Research has show that supplementation with forskolin accelerates fat loss and increases testosterone levels.

  • And more…

The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without pumping yourself full of stimulants or other potentially harmful chemicals…then you want to try PHOENIX.phoenix-bottle

How to Use These Supplements Properly

Here’s what I take before my fasted training sessions:

(NOTE: Taking green tea extract, which is in PHOENIX, on an empty stomach can make some people nauseous. If that happens to you, take it with food and you’ll be fine.)

When I’m dieting for fat loss, I lift weights in a fasted state 5 days per week and do 25 to 30 minutes of HIIT cardio in a fasted state 3 to 4 times per week. I also walk my dogs for about 15 to 20 minutes per day.

On the days where I’m doing both weightlifting and cardio, I take the above before both training sessions and have no issues.

The Bottom Line on Cardio Workouts

cardio workout routines

Many people hate cardio workouts because they think anything but all-out, “run for your life” intensity is basically a waste of time.

Well, they’re wrong.

When you know what you’re doing with your diet, even the easiest form of cardio–walking–can improve your health and help you lose weight faster.

This is even true for people that already have a rigorous exercise routine of intense weightlifting and cardio workouts.

So, if you want to start doing cardio and want to start slow, start with walking. And when you’re ready to ratchet up the difficulty (and benefits), add high-intensity interval training.

What’s your take on walking and cardio workouts in general? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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    • joey

      Hey Mike,

      Great article, quick question how long should fasted cardio be to be effective?

      thanks

      • Thanks! I generally recommend keeping them 20-30 minutes long.

        Welcome!

  • Great article Mike.

    Walking is often overlooked as a great way to increase your cardio and it’s something I do every day.

    One thing that I’ve found since using my Fitbit is I’m more motivated to get out for a walk when you have a constant reminder of how far you’ve gone against a goal you’ve set for yourself.

    • Thanks Gareth.

      Yup simple little “gamifications” like that can matter.

  • Jesse

    Mike– This question might benefit others in a similar boat as me. I’m on month 10 of BLS started 25% bf at 205 (I’m 36 yr old male and 6’0″) and have been stuck at 15% at 183 for two months. Started my cut at 2100 cal and have been at 1900 for the last couple months trying to get into the 12% range so I can begin reverse dieting and building some real muscle. I’m doing HIIT 3 times a week plus the 5 day program. Haven’t missed a day in 10 months. My lifts are gradually still gaining a rep or so a week. So what is the best thing to do in a situation like this– drop another 25 carbs or eat at TDEE for a few weeks and then resume cutting? Is 1700 calories too low?

    Thanks for your response in advance

    • Emre A.

      No real person will recommend you to eat less. Because of the restricted calories and the increased exercise, your body is most likely in the starvation state. This is the state where the body refuses to burn more fat, as fat is vital for living. The body does not know the reason to restricted calories, as it lacks kognitive abilities. So it may think you are at a desert or on top of a mountain, or it may be afraid that it keeps getting less than it burns. So, i don’t know if you can use my advice, but you should do as you just said, eat at TDEE, or increase your carb intake by 25 grams, do NOT decrease it as this will further prevent fat loss, and your body will eat up muscle to maintain energy levels.

      Bottom line is, increase your carb intake a little bit, 1900 calories on a 5 x weightlifting supplemented by 3 x HIIT is very low. Your TDEE must be very high because of your acitivity level. But yeah, try eating at around maintenance for a few weeks, and then lower your calories slowly. That’s my two cents. Before i started reading about fitness and nutrition i was also stuck at 82kg for MONTHS.. and i just ate less but it just made me feel miserable, and no weightloss. So i reverse dieted for a few weeks, ate more, didnt go hard on myself and suddenly when i started back i got down to 78.4 kg, which is the lowest i have been. Then of course i gained some weight, bulked 2 months and got up to 85 kg, and i was like, excuse my language, screw this, let me cut down until i can see my abs and then reverse diet from there. I am down to 81.8 kg using BLS, and HIIT 1 x week, eating 2000-2100 kcals on training days, and a bit lower on rest day (sunday).

      Hope this helps 🙂

      • Jesse

        I hear you–So your belief is that 1900 cal is keeping me in a “starvation state”, but you eat 2000-2100 on training days? also, I think that most people would not consider “starvation mode” as a legitimate state. your body adapts to your calories, which is why they must be progressively lowered.

        • Tony

          I was in a similar situation after cutting for about a year, but was able to continue progress after a quick reverse diet.

          1900 cals is your BMR at 183lbs and 15% BF. Mike’s recommendation is never go below your BMR when cutting (I think he’s said before that going 100 calories below it is okay but any more than that risks muscle loss). It sounds like you’re at the point where you’re supposed to start reverse-dieting. He goes into this in more detail in “Beyond BLS”. Once you hit TDEE (around 2500 for you) for a week, you can go back to cutting with slightly higher calories, probably around 2000-2100.

          Alternating calories on training days is something else he talks about in Beyond BLS, but it’s not required at this stage.

          http://www.muscleforlife.com/reverse-diet/

    • I get where you’re at Jesse!

      Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/not-losing-weight/

      Also, I think it’s time for a delaod week:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/deload-week/

      Hope this helps! LMK what you think.

  • Jim Hines

    Hey Mike,

    Love the articles!

    Getting serious again about your custom meal plan for me for cutting. In the
    plan you have me taking Legion Whey and Legion Pulse for a pre-workout and then
    another Legion Whey post-workout. Based on this article how should I include
    Legion Forge and Legion Phoenix? I’m hitting the gym at 6:00am and I really
    want to push the weight loss!

    Thanks,

    Jim Hines

    • Thanks Jim! Glad you’re enjoying them.

      If you’re focus is on weight loss, and you’re cool with training fasted, that’s what I’d do. In that case you’d just take Pulse, Forge and Phoenix pre-workout.

      Save the pre-workout shake for a snack later or just use the cals later for some other food you want.

      Thoughts?

      Welcome!

      • Jim Hines

        I think I can do the fasted training!
        Going to put my order in and give it a try!
        Jim

  • P Mort

    I always see pieces that sell high intensity cardio as the way to go, but I’ve always thought that is very likely not for everyone, while walking does have the appeal of not being super stressful on the body, and for some people that hour or so of time to just walk alone with their thoughts is (armchair psychology warning) very therapeutic. Preferably outside, but sometimes I can zone out peacefully on a treadmill. Some days I want nothing more than to attack a high intensity workout, others I just want to zone out with something easy, even if it takes a little longer…I tend to mix it up between the two frequently.

  • Casey Collier

    Don’t forget that 3, 10 minute walks throughout the day are just as good as 1, 30 minute walk!

  • Sam

    Hi Mike, sorry I don’t get it! I read articles from you and your books where you promote HIIT as a preferred form of cardio (as you say ideally a rowing or cycling motion). Now you say above lower impact walking is better vs higher impact? Sorry I’m confused which I should do! Thanks

    • Josh

      Hi Sam – Above, Mike said:

      “3 to 5 1-hour weightlifting sessions per week

      2 to 3 25-minute HIIT sessions per week

      2 to 3 30 to 45-minute walks per week

      If you do that and follow a proper meal plan, you will lose fat (and not muscle!) faster than you ever have before.”

      • Sam

        Thank you Josh… I obviously need to get my glasses checked (or learn how to speed read better!) thanks.

      • Thanks for the comment Josh!

  • Hey Mike, I hope you are well. Thanks for the article. You may remember you and me talked about walking before. This article just nicely sums up what I suspected, which is that the best cardio is either very low intensity as in walking or very high intensity. As long as you go to the extremes you are ok for muscle building and muscle sustaining purposes. It’s the in between level of cardio that is a problem.

    I lift weights 4x per week, do high intensity sprinting on the bicycle 3x per week, and walk 3-4 hours per week. So according to your suggestions I have the exercise routine down. Now I just need to keep upping my carbs. That part stagnated a bit over the holiday to compensate for all the cheat meals. Looking forward to seeing more results with your program in the new year!

    • Hey hey!

      Yup, great observation.

      That schedule sounds perfect. Keep me posted.

  • Houssine

    Hey mike

    Great article!
    I still have a question. Is there a certain amount of hmb is should take according my bodyweight? The hmb i use has a 1300mg per capsule. How much do i have to take in before working out on an empty stomach? And what on rest days?

    Thanks a lot

  • TD

    Whenever I’ve wanted to reduce my body fat, walking was always my go-to cardio exercise. It’s so gentle on the body compared to other forms of cardio. All it takes for me to lean out is literally two walks per week for 25-30 minutes. I walk fasted too usually around five o’clock in the morning. Walking is very underrated by a lot of people when in reality, it should be part of anyone’s fitness program who is serious about losing body fat.

    • Yep, it’s a great way to burn some extra cals with little to no extra stress on the body.

      Not everyone needs it, but it’s a great tool to have. 🙂

  • Rob

    I walk an average of 2.5 miles a day just moving around, according to my Fit Bit tracker. This includes things like doing chores, shopping, not exercise.
    I was wondering if the walking, along with doing 2-2.5 hours of cardio (a mix of HIIT and MISS) per week and with my BLS lifting program would be too much for fat loss/ muscle gain?

    • Nah. That much walking along with the HIIT you’re doing is totally fine.

  • Seb

    Hey Mike! This is great! Do you think there is such a thing as too much walking? I like to go on 2-3 hour long walks fairly often (multiple times per week) on top of my 5 days of weightlifting BLS-style. I do no other cardio. Also would you recommend for or against doing these very long walks in a fasted state? Thanks a lot!

    • Thanks! I’m sure there’s an amount of walking which will negatively effect results, but I wouldn’t worry about it. The 2-3 hour walks a few times a week are totally fine.

      Sure, you can walk fasted too! It’ll accelerate fat loss further.

      Welcome! Talk soon.

  • Connie

    Hi Mike
    I need your help
    I need to lose weight
    I do rowing every day for 1.5 hours and I just started doing resistance training 2-3 times per week
    I lost the first 15 pounds in a about 4-5 weeks
    Now my weight loss has slowed up dramatically
    I am 5″ 2 and weigh 173
    I need to be in the 150’s
    I have been doing 800-900 kcals a day and I am stuck
    I am still too fat to be.stuck
    I also drink 2 liters is water a day I am trying to increase to a gallon a day
    Help I need to lose 15 more pounds by the end of May

    I need your advise!

  • Steve Gershwin

    Hey Mike, I love the article. And I love walking. I’d sometimes put the treadmill on at 4-4.3 mph at the gym and just walk with a book resting on the “shelf,” reading for an hour at something that gets my pulse up a bit but doesn’t leave me breathless like HIIT. (This is in addition to my 4-5 weight sessions and whatever HIIT i can fit in during the week.) As a desk jockey, I also take a quick, 10- to 15-minute walk about two or three times a day, just to get blood flowing and keep limber. Are the quick walks too much low-intensity cardio, and would that be affecting muscle breakdown? In effect, is it possible to overtrain by walking? This might be a really stupid question considering how low-impact walking is, but you mention you do two to three 30- to 45-minute walks per week, so that has me wondering.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Steve! Thanks!

      Cool on everything you’re doing. Nah, I wouldn’t be concerned with overtraining from walking.

      And not a dumb question! 🙂

      Welcome! Talk soon.

      • Steve Gershwin

        Thanks so much! And thanks for putting my mind at ease about the walking. Still love it, but I’ve since added 25 minutes of HIIT biking (45 seconds intense, 1:15 at a slow rate for 13 cycles plus a 2-minute ramp-up and 2-minute cooldown). My body loves it; unfortunately my butt hates it. :p Gotta find a softer seat.

        • YW! Cool you added some extra HIIT!

          I hear you on the seat! That’s why I like the recumbent bike. 🙂

  • Medfen21

    When walking or hiking moderate hills, is there a heart rate zone that i should aim for that burns more kcals?

    • Nope! No need to track your heart rate or shoot for certain heart rate range.

  • Matt

    Is HMB supplementation recommended before fasted walking? I know you recommend it for HIIT since it is much more intense, but does walking cause enough muscle breakdown to call for HMB?

  • SolomonBicakcic

    Hey Mike, I allways look for your advice couse I respect your opinion the most of all internet trainers and my question is:
    I’m lifting weights 5 times a week and since I need to prepare for police test I have to run 4 times a week to be ready for cooper test. Do you recommend me to reduce weightlifting to 3 workouts a week so that I prevent overtraining?
    Cheers

    • Hey man! That’s great you’re preparing for the police test. Depending on your running volume, 4 times a week should be fine if they are 25-30min sessions.

    • saveourskills

      also depends on if your are cutting or maintaining/bulking. Easier to over train in a cut

  • NathAdrian

    Hey Mike i read lots of Schoenfeld’s articles and he mentioned that cardio can get in the way of muscle growth because of its activation of AMPK which inhibits mTOR which inhibits protein synthesis. I got interested and started researching. Pretty much i found out that AMPK restores ATP balance in a cell and activates during calorie restriction, fasting and exercise. This would also make sense why the longer/ more frequently you do cardio, the less muscle growth because protein synthesis/mTOR is almost completely suppressed proportional to your total cardio duration/week. Though AMPK is activated in a intensity-dependent manner of the activity. This makes me wonder if walking is energy costly enough to trigger AMPK. If it triggers AMPK then it would be pretty bad considering the long duration of walking I do. I have seen only one study on the activation of AMPK on low intensity cardio.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12413941
    Problem is i dont really understand it lol. Can you help me interpret this and draw a conclusion if walking will be a problem? Thanks!
    Btw if your interested in this topic here is a full article
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2779044/#R216

    • Great questions, and while it’s hard to say one way or another based on scientific evidence, I think we can look to anecdotal evidence here to know that moderate walking probably doesn’t impact muscle building to any significant degree.

      • Lee

        Hi Mike, so it’s correct to say light walking is such a low intensity exercise, muscle proteins are fairly safe from being utilised as energy? If this is the case, is it theoretically possible to bulk while in a deficit if you otherwise eat surplus calories, but for a fasted morning walk – sufficiently separated from resistance training – that actually brings your TDEE above what you consumed? For instance, a fasted morning walk, followed by evening lifting whereby the calories consumed prior to, and around, the resistance training place you in a surplus for that period of the day.
        Horribly articulated question, sorry!

        • Well..yes and no. You can definitely build muscle while in a cut regardless. But, it won’t be an appreciable amount like during a bulk.

          Regarding your question specifically, your body won’t know the difference. If you’re in a surplus at the end of the day, you’re in a surplus. If you’re under TDEE, you’re in a deficit. No switching modes during the day.

  • Would you recommend fasted walking on a bulk? Or even on a cut? I do a lot of walking, sometimes even before breakfast.

  • Phillip

    Hey bike. I am looking into buy either a recumbent bike or a stationary bike for HIIT. What muscles does the recumbent bike use that the stationary bike doesn’t or vice versa. Why do you choose a recumbent over a stationary bike? Also the price of recumbent bikes are much more expensive.

    • Hey Phillip,

      It really depends on what you prefer. Many people find recumbent bikes more comfortable. Regular stationary bikes take a little longer to get used to, but you can also produce more total force during your hard intervals. That’s part of the reason I’ve since done most of my workouts on a regular stationary bike.

  • ellia

    what if I already have muscle, especially in legs due to years of soccer. Mainly, I want to decrease size in my legs but keep them toned and keep a womanly physique.

  • Gdurc

    Hi Mike!! I am currently bulking but I have a high energy dog and its neccesary to walk with her 1 hour a day 7 times a week, also I am in a 5 day split and playing soccer (1hour) on saturdays.I know that as my calories cover I wouldnt have any problems but in terms of overtraining and muscle growth what should I expect?

  • Ron

    Hey Mike, how important do you think it is to get to 10,000 steps a day, which is popular these days with apps like Fitbit? Also, I’m new to cardio and find that HIIT is too hard on my body (get insomnia and my strength takes a dive) so I’ve been doing LISS on the elliptical machine (at least until I get used to the cardio). Do you still recommend i do 2-3 25 cardio sessions a week even if it’s only LISS or should i do more? Also, how fast should I be walking on my walking days? Is walking faster better because it gets my heart pumping?

    • Hey Ron! The 10,000 steps challenge is just a “fun” way of getting people to be more active. It’s not a specific number you have to reach every day to be healthy.

      If you’re doing LISS instead of HIIT, your cardio sessions will need to be longer to get the same level of calorie-burn. There’s no specific walking speed that’s necessary; the point is just that walking is a low-intensity, low-impact form of cardio that can burn small amounts of energy that add up over time. Walking faster will require more energy, so that’s an option if you enjoy it.

      Check out this article:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/how-much-cardio/

      I hope this helps!

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