Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

How to Super Charge Your Morning Walk and Burn More Fat

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Les-Baux-de-Provence
Creative Commons License photo credit: Claudia Castro

The morning walk is one of the most common forms of weight loss exercise. When I sit at my table in the morning and look out the window I see scores of women going for walks with their dogs, husbands or a group of friends. And while we have approached the question of “does walking burn fat” before, in this post I want to give you a few ways to super charge your morning walk so you can burn more fat in less time.

How to burn more fat on your morning walk

While I think walking has its merits (it is relaxing, low impact, etc.) I do think there are a lot better ways to burn fat. High intensity exercise like sprinting, skipping, hill climbs, kick boxing classes and weight training are all far superior in my opinion. But for some women these choices just aren’t options. And sometimes a walk is a nice start to the day – it is definitely a lot better than doing no exercise at all. Here are a few ways to super charge your morning walk.

1. Walk for at least 45 minutes
There have been several studies done on the topic of whether walking actually burns fat. In these studies it was found that you need to walk for at least 25 minutes before you actually start burning fat stores in your body. And while I am not so sure if this science still stands up, the principle remains the same. You need to walk for more than 25 to 30 minutes if you want to burn a good amount of fat.

Why is this so? Well the main theory is that when you walk before breakfast you have no available energy from food and as such you will tap into stored fat reserves. Apparently you need to walk for at least 25 minutes before this process begins to take place. This is not entirely true because glycogen energy remains ready for action for a long time. A more likely reason, in my mind, is that walking is not very likely to lift your heart rate and as such you need longer to get to a point where you are actually doing some damage to the energy stores in your body.

Whatever the reason, make sure you are walking at a good pace for at least 45 minutes in the morning. If you can’t bare to be out for that long at least try to get half an hour.

2. Hit the hills
Walking, as we mentioned, is a very low impact form of exercise that doesn’t do much in the way of pushing your boundaries. For this reason it is a great idea to change the terrain a little bit so that your muscles are doing some work that they might otherwise miss out on. The hills is a great place to start.

Walking hills has been one of the best forms of exercise for a long time. It is an exercise that tones your butt and legs, gets your heart rate up a lot higher and is far more interesting and challenging than just walking on the flats. Now, you don’t have to find some gigantic mountain in order to get a good workout. Most of you don’t live near mountains. But almost all of you will have some form of hill near your house. It might be an actual hill in a park or reserve or it might just be a sloped street that you can walk up and down. Hit it.

At the end of the session you will feel more energetic and vibrant because you would have actually worked out a large part of your body. Hill walks are a really good way to super charge your morning walk and burn more fat.

3. Drink a black coffee before you leave
I can hear all of you breathing a sigh of relief. A fitness website telling us to actually drink coffee! What a great idea. In fact, if you want to burn more fat on your morning walk you should drink a cup of black coffee. Isn’t that great news? The bad news – you aren’t allowed to have any milk or sugar. Just coffee and water. Add anything else and you won’t get the benefit.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: e.asphyx

So why does coffee help you burn more fat? Well many people believe that it allows you to access fat stores instead of carbs. Others believe that the stimulant aspect of coffee assists in its fat burning. To be honest, however, neither of these things makes much scientific sense. In fact, talking to nutritionists and doctors who have looked at studies around this issue and not many of them agree with the above assertions. So why am I recommending it? Because I have seen results in myself and my workout buddies. A bit of caffeine before a morning workout seems to have a positive effect on our weight loss progress. Bodybuilders have been saying the same thing for years.

One last reason; a morning coffee can help to wake you up and get your head in the right place for a workout. I can’t tell you the number of times I got up for a workout and then went straight back to bed because I couldn’t wake myself up. A coffee can help to prevent that. Give it a go and see how it works for you. If you don’t see any results after a couple of weeks chuck it in.

4. Take some weights
Another great technique to super charge your morning walk to to take along some hand weights to give your arms something to do. While your legs do all the walking it is great to do some work for your upper body. This effectively means you will get a full body workout which will, of course, burn more calories.

So what do you do with the weights? Well, if you are a little self conscious you could just hold them by your sides to provide some resistance for your arms. This is good enough and will give you a little mini bicep workout. But if you want to spice up the walk a bit more and perhaps even do some arm toning then why no do some full on bicep curls or slow punches or overhead presses? That way you can workout your shoulder, biceps and triceps – all on your morning walk!

Give it a try and see how you go. If you feel stupid, embrace it!

5. Wear a backpack with some weight in it
You have to be a little bit careful with this one because it can produce some back and shoulder injuries. This tip is only for super hard women who are not afraid of a little bit of pain. Be warned though, if you don’t take it easy and do this one carefully you are probably going to wind up with some sort of injury.

This idea actually comes from the army. One of the main things you do in the army is walk. In fact, you walk a lot. And I’m not just talking about walking around in the park. No sir. These guys carry massive guns that weigh as much as your upper body, ammunition that would squash your dog and, you guessed it, backpacks full of supplies. And they burn a lot of fat. You will never see a fat person in the army on active duty.

Fill up your backpack with some light weights and go for a walk. If you have any pain you should stop but over time you will find that your legs and butt get a good workout and you have to push yourself extremely hard just to finish the walk. It is an army style workout that also helps you become very tough mentally.

Any more ideas?

We loving hearing your ideas and experiences. Talking on the blog is a great way to meet new people and learn new things. If you know of any other ways to super charge your morning walk please leave a comment and let us know.