Is there an easy way to get back in shape?

Can walking reduce belly fat or do I have to run or do more?

The simple answer is that a walking program can play an integral part to an overall approach to fitness. However, walking alone, will not be the impetus for major weight loss.

What are the attributes of a successful program for reducing weight and regaining fitness? And how does a walking program fit into this plan?

There are four main components to any fitness program. This goes for weight loss, building muscle, improving endurance or really any effort to gain positive physical results.

  1. Nutrition is the foundation. No real results will occur without getting your diet under control.
  2. Increase your basal metabolic rate or BMR. Your BMR is how much energy your body burns just to get through a day. You can increase BMR by increasing overall activity level.
  3. Lift heavy things. Heavy is a relative term but it basically means performing resistance type exercises. Lifting weights both burns a lot of energy and stimulates your body to naturally release testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH).
  4. Rest well. No prolonged gains can be achieved without proper rest. Fitness is ultimately achieved by expending energy and breaking down muscles followed by a rebuilding phase. Adequate rest is needed to maximize the effectiveness of the muscle rebuild phase.

If you want to bank on one area for success, it is your nutrition. What you eat is far more important than what you do. It?s just that simple. Don?t try to out-train ?a crappy diet. You will lose this battle. Assess your diet along these lines.

  1. Cut back dramatically on grain-based carbohydrates like bread, pasta, crackers & chips, baked goods and just about all the stuff packaged in a box or bag. Your pantry is literally full of crap you should just throw away.
  2. Stop adding sugar to anything like your coffee, tea, on your oatmeal or on top of your grapefruit. Sugar is not your friend.
  3. Liquid carbohydrates like pop, fruit juice, energy drinks and beer have to be trimmed as well. Liquid carbs are digested very quickly and cause a huge insulin spike which ultimately ends up with the storage of fat around your belly or elsewhere.
  4. Replace all these undesirable carbs with fresh fruits and vegetables and good natural sources of quality fat. Sugar and cheap carbs are the enemy, not fat. Eat avocados, coconuts, olive oil, meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts and seeds to get plenty of good fat in your diet.

Crank up your BMR
by just being more active on a daily basis. This is where the walking program comes in. The idea is to spend more time moving around than sitting or standing around. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk or ride your ride to the corner store instead of driving. Walk the golf course. Go throw the ball with the kids. Move around more. Over time the energy consumed by these activities add up and your body becomes more of a fat burning machine.

Make sure you add resistance training to your workout regimen. It is the king of all exercise types. You will get the most bang for your time invested by lifting weights or engaging in some type of resistance training. Here?s why.

  1. Weight lifting, ?especially circuit training, burns a lot of calories during the exercise phase. It is a cardiovascular workout on top of a muscle-building event.
  2. The calorie burn extends beyond the time of actual exercise. Your body still runs at an elevated rate for a few hours after lifting when the muscle repair activities are taking place.
  3. Weight training builds muscle. And muscle is more metabolically active than fat. This means muscle needs more energy than just to get through the day. A more muscular you builds more calories. It?s the BMR thing again.

Can walking reduce belly fat?

Not by itself but getting better sleep may be able to help. Yes sleep is very important to your overall level of fitness and unfortunately, it is the area most overlooked area when starting a new health and fitness program. The reasons you should focus on getting 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night are:

  1. The bulk of muscle repair and body maintenance occurs when you are sleeping. If you do not sleep well or enough, these repair cycles will be compromised.
  2. Poor sleep and high stress correlate quite well. Sleep is one of the best anecdotes for high stress. Elevated stress triggers high levels of cortisol in the body and it tends to stay chronically high. This depresses the production of testosterone and other hormones which aid in rebuilding the body and promoting anti aging activities. The bottom line is good sleep can help manage cortisol levels which will have a positive benefit on overall health.
  3. It is difficult to maintain your positive attitude towards life when chronically tired. Sleep is essential to you maintaining the “glass is half full” outlook on life. Sleep well, feel good and kick some butt daily.

Can walking reduce belly fat and get you in shape? Indirectly, yes it can. But you have to focus on the other elements of fitness as well. Eat right, crank up the activity level, lift heavy things and get plenty of rest. Put it all together for a solid plan that works. It will work for weight loss, building muscle mass or just getting ready for shirtless summer weather.

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About the author 

Mark Fickler

Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 64 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature 2 Rule Easy Fat Loss training program.

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