walk

W is for Walking

walking-legs-628x363

W is for Walking

Can you lose weight with just walking? Hell yes you can! Don’t disregard walking. If you’re just starting out with fitness or trying to lose some weight but don’t know where to start, you don’t have to start training for a marathon. It’s okay to start small.

“In studies, Weltman has found that women who do three short (about 30-minute) high-intensity walks plus two moderately paced recovery walks a week lose up to six times more abdominal fat than participants who simply stroll five days a week. (source)”

Walkers are athletes too. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you’re moving your body and trying, it’s a good thing. Walking is good because you can do it almost everywhere and it’s not something you need to plan ahead. It’s easier on the joints than running and you can still burn a decent amount of calories:

“If you walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour (a common pace) you can burn the following amount of calories per minute: 120 lb. person = 4.7 calories; 140 lb. person = 5.5 calories; 160 lb. person = 6.3 calories; 180 lb. person = 7.1 calories; 200 lb. person = 7.8 calories; and 220 lb. person  = 8.6 calories. (source)” 

So if you weigh 160 pounds and walking for 20 minutes, you could burn 126 calories. In only 20 minutes!

If you’re at work, keep an extra pair of walking shoes at your desk so you can go for walks during the day. I definitely recommend that all runners get fitted at a professional running store for the right kind of shoes. The same goes for walkers. It’s usually free and they will help you pick the shoes that are right for your body. It makes a huge difference! Check out these old posts about the topic: Tip for New Runners: Shoe Fitting and Is it Time for New Shoes?.

Here are some more tips on getting started and sticking with a walking program:

Find a walking buddy. Most things are more fun with a friend! Find a coworker, neighbor, friend to go for walks with you. Maybe your significant other wants to join you for a brisk walk after dinner–this will give you both a good chance to talk and bond. Another tip — get a dog! 😀

Track your mileage. There are a TON of apps out there that can track how far you walk. There’s MapMyWalk, RunKeeper or my personal favorite–CycleMeter. I love Cyclemeter because it’s accurate and reliable. I used to use RunKeeper and MapMyRun but that was a few years ago and the GPS used to drop out a lot so I never REALLY knew what mileage I did. With CycleMeter you can change it to almost any activity you can think of. It tracks your distance, speed, elevation, so many things! It’s a great tool.

cyclemeter

Track your progress. Use MyFitnessPal or DailyMile to log your  mileage. Not only will it help you keep track of your progress, it can be very motivating! I don’t know about you but seeing it in black and white makes me feel good and makes me want to try hard. It can also help me set goals.

Technology is your friend. There are tons of gadgets out there to help you. If you have a smart phone the above apps I described are great and many are free. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can try a few different things. I’ve never tried it but I have several friends that rave about their FitBit. Pedometers are good, but I don’t know how accurate they are (I always had cheap ones). Finally, there are tons of watches/heart rate monitors out there that track that stuff. Garmin is a great one (and on my wishlist!). If you can’t get a smart phone or a fancy gadget, there are cheaper versions out there–or there is the SUPER cheap option of driving the route in your car and seeing what the mileage is. 🙂

Set goals. Start small. Walk around the block on your break at work, walk for 15 minutes after dinner. The more walking you get in, start making goals that you can work towards. Having specific goals helps in so many ways. It’s tangible and not just an abstract thought like “I want to walk more.” Instead, say “I will walk 1 mile today and 2 miles tomorrow.” Or while you are out walking, set a goal like “I will walk to the corner park and then back.” I do this when I’m running. When I’m feeling like quitting I think, “I’ll just run to that next lamp post and then turn around.” And often times when I get to that lamp post I can keep going.

Add hills. Don’t start doing hills in the beginning, work up your stamina and then start adding the hills. Your heart will start pounding harder and you’ll burn more calories.

Add weights. Back in the day I remember when speed walking was the thing and everyone was doing it and they had hand weights and then there were the ankle weights and I’ve also seen weight vests. Weighing more definitely burns more calories. I don’t know that I would add weights in the beginning, but later once you’ve lost some weight I can see where hand weights would be helpful.

Hydrate! I got a hand held water bottle for running and I love it. I can’t tell you how many times I used to be out on a run, far from home or the office, dying of thirst. There were a few times in the summer when I used to run the waterfront at lunch where I got dizzy and almost passed out because I was dehydrated and overheated. In the summer I mix 1/2 Gatorade and 1/2 water in my running water bottle. It was the best $20 I could spend. So take your water with you when you walk!

You can also Prancercise. 😉 You’re welcome!

fl-prancercise-viral-video-20130530-001

Speed Up. Not in the beginning. Listen to your body and wait until your stamina builds and walking is easier. Once you’re doing it on a regular basis and maybe it’s getting a little boring, spice it up by walking faster. You never know, speed walking may turn into running!

speedwalking

Recently I went walking with a coworker during lunch. She’s trying to lose weight and got a FitBit to track her steps. She loves it that thing! It’s encouraged her to walk more and that’s great. Anyways, it was a nice sunny, warm day and we walked for 30 minutes. It reminded me how much I like walking. I used to walk the Hawthorne Bridge every morning into work (nearly 2 miles) and I also walked during my lunch breaks. I got pretty fast at it and could walk from the office all the way to PGE Park and back during my lunch break. I did so much walking and then my knees starting acting up and I quit walking. I realized just how much I miss doing it and I vowed to get back at it! It’s relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. AND IT’S FREE!

Are you a walker? Any tips? 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight * M-Measuring Mistakes *N-Nemesis * O-Open * P-Plateaus Q -Quitting * R-Runner’s Knee * S-Support * U – Unattainable * V – Victory *

Saying “Eff It”

Tuesday after work I went to the gym to do some kind of workout. I wasn’t sure what I would do because it’s taper week and I don’t want to do anything strenuous or new. I decided to do a slow/easy walk/jog on the treadmill. I ended up doing 3.25 miles on the treadmill. It was an easy pace and I took lots of walking breaks.


I listened to my body and didn’t push it. My lower back was still pretty tight but jogging didn’t seem to aggravate it. I just zoned out and listened to good music while I put one foot in front of the other.

After the run I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t lift weights like I normally do. I didn’t want to use the elliptical and risk tweaking my hips in a weird way. I did a few sets of bicep curls and then headed to yoga.

Gym Stats:

Time: 1:10
Calories Burned: 421
Distance: 3.25 miles


I had a few minutes to kill before the yoga class so I ate some grapes for a snack.


I wanted to do yoga to help loosen up my tight back and hips. Yoga worked for my calf strain a few weeks ago and it was a miracle. I hoped for another miracle. I also went alone–which is weird for me because I dislike going to classes and usually only attend with Robyn (my workout buddy).


Check out my neon pink toes! 🙂 The class started and I immediately felt better. The stretches felt so good. The best pose for my back seemed to be the Pigeon Pose and Downward Dog–they felt GREAT. I also did Tree Pose (my favorite pose). I left the yoga class a little early and headed home.


When I got home I did have a little melt down. I guess I’ve been holding things in for awhile and was feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. I remembered how much I hate taper week–how mental it can make me. Michael made a comment questioning why I’m bothering trying to eat low carb this week when I’m eating tons of fruit. Which is true. Had I truly wanted to go low-carb in order to carb load before the race, I should have avoided all fruit. Not just bread, pasta, alcohol and candy. And I also remembered how every time I’ve tried to go low-carb before a race I failed. I gave up after about a day or two of trying and just went back to my normal eating habits. So I said “eff it” and had one of these:


And it tasted great. I just had one. Then we fixed dinner. Another reason the low-carb plan wouldn’t have worked this week: we didn’t plan the meals like we should have. I frantically searched the fridge and freezer for low-carb options and came up with shrimp.


Since our lettuce has bolted, I had to buy lettuce at the store (boo). Salad with salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, broccoli, black olives and tomatoes. Michael sauteed the shrimp with Mexican seasoning and dinner was served.


Shrimp is a really good low-calorie food. It’s about 100 calories for 9 shrimp. Dinner was good. I felt relieved admitting that I wasn’t good at Low Carb anything and gave myself permission to eat my normal way. Enough is enough. Every race I make this mistake and then beat myself up for it. So eff it!

Let’s end this post on a positive note. Maya, my scaredy cat kitty that is afraid of her own shadow, let me hold her and pet her for 10 whole minutes Wednesday morning!


It’s impossible to catch Maya. She runs and hides and as slippery as an eel. I clipped her nails and then held her as long as she let me. It was so nice and it made me REALLY happy! Maya wasn’t always so skittish. She was the runt of the litter and I took her home at 7 weeks (a little too early I think). She was always tiny and shy but she let me pet and cuddle her when she was a baby.


At my last apartment Maya used cuddle with me–only on her terms. She would jump onto my bed at night when I was reading and then nudge my book with her little nose. She’d let me pet her and scratch her chin for a few minutes then she’d run away. She also slept at the foot of my bed with Fat Kitty. When I moved in with Michael that changed. I’m not sure if she’s scared, or if she recognizes Michael as the “Alpha Male” and therefore won’t get on the bed with us…not sure. But she’s become more and more reclusive and shy. Poor little thing! It made me happy that she allowed me to pet her (and she purred)!

QUESTION: When was the last time you said “eff it” about something?