In a recent video, fitness YouTuber Mario Tomic tackles some of the misinformation that surrounds the practice of walking for weight loss, and offers his best advice on hitting 10,000 steps in your daily routine as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The first myth is that walking is the best activity for burning fat. Tomic acknowledges it’s correct that the body tends to use fat as a primary fuel source during low-intensity activity like walking. “What’s incorrect is that fat-burning is not the same as fat loss,” he adds. “Fat loss is determined by energy balance; calories in vs. calories out. You need to create a caloric deficit to achieve fat loss… You can’t outwalk a bad diet.”
Another misconception is that walking specifically targets belly fat. “You cannot spot reduce body fat; it’s genetically determined where you’re going to store fat and in what order you’re going to release that fat from your body,” says Tomic, explaining that the most common pattern for fat loss tends to start in the face and work its way down.
Tomic also addresses the idea that it’s better to walk in a fasted state than a fed state, which simply is not true. “How much fat you’re going to lose is determined by energy balance, so it doesn’t matter when you do the walking, as long as you’re doing the walking,” he says, adding that walking after a meal can actually aid digestion and improve your energy levels.
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Finally, he dispels the myth that walking is the only exercise you need in order to get a lean physique. “First and foremost, walking doesn’t build muscle,” he says. “You’re going to need resistance training to build and maintain muscle. Walking isn’t going to do that… You’re going to end up ‘skinny fat’ if you’re not incorporating resistance training.”
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