Put away your running shoes
A personal trainer thinks that walking may burn more body fat than high-intensity cardio, and it’s the best news we’ve ever heard.
Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, the fitness guru responsible for whipping famous hot people like Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga into shape, has a new theory about burning body fat that’s going to have you jumping (walking?) for joy: He says the best way to burn fat stores is simply walking.
Cancel your spin class, because Pasternak has some convincing-sounding science to back this claim up. He tells Business Insider that high-intensity cardio burns more calories per minute than walking does, but a higher percentage of those calories come from non-fat sources, whereas low-intensity cardio, such as prolonged walking, heads straight to fat stores for energy to burn. We’re no scientists, but that sounds legit enough.
And there’s another huge factor, Pasternak explains. When you do a high-intensity workout, you burn a lot of calories, but not a lot of fat. And burning that many calories in such a short amount of time makes you really, really hungry, which means you eat something that’s basically replacing the calories you just got done burning off. It negates a huge part of your workout. WTF, right?
“You hear people after a spin class, they get out of there, and they’re ravenous,” Pasternak says. “And they go have a gluten-free scone and a fresh-pressed, sugar-laden juice.”
Pasternak’s theories come from studying the food and exercise habits of the healthiest countries in the world, and comparing them to the U.S. He says that the average American only walks about 4,100 steps each day. Meanwhile, diets vary wildly all over the world, but the healthiest countries all have one thing in common: They walk a ton, usually in excess of 10,000 steps each day. Aiming to walk somewhere between 10,000 and 14,000 steps daily is all it takes for the average American to see results.
Before you drop your gym membership, though, keep in mind that more intense exercise is helpful for reasons beyond just burning fat cells — moderate- to high-intensity exercise has been shown to increase metabolic rates, according to Good Housekeeping‘s Nutrition Director, Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN.
“But ultimately, the workout that works best for you is one that you actually enjoy doing enough to keep you busy and happy coming back for more — a.k.a doing it regularly,” London said.
So if walking is your jam, hit the pavement. But if you love your group sessions at the gym, there’s no need to give those up either.