Melt off belly fat faster with this progressive walking plan, created by Jessica Smith, a certified personal trainer and creator of the “Walk On: Walk Off Belly Fat 5 Days A Week!” program, that combines the power of interval training with the belly fat-blasting effectiveness of walking.
When it comes to your walking pace, gauge your intensity on a scale of 1–10 — a 5–6 effort should have you breathing quickly, but still allow you to carry on a conversation easily. An 8–9 effort should have you breathing very heavily and able to answer yes or no questions only. Since your intensity varies with your personal fitness level, vary your speed and power to reach the recommended effort range for each walk.
This walk is steady but strong. After walking for 3 minutes at an easy pace to warm up, focus on maintaining a steady effort level of a 5–6 intensity until you’ve completed your session for the day (be sure to spend about 3–5 minutes walking at an easy pace to cool down, catch your breath and complete your walk).
Go the distance in less time with this interval walk! After walking for 3 minutes at an easy pace to warm up, begin repeating your HIIT interval sets (spend 3 minutes walking at a brisk pace, at an intensity of about a 5–6, power walk or jog at 1 minute at an intensity of an 8–9) until you’ve completed your session for the day (be sure to spend about 3–5 minutes walking at an easy pace to cool down, catch your breath and complete your walk).
It’s important not to over do it, and this active recovery walk is all about keeping a balance in your fitness routine. Plus, science has shown stress relief is a great way to help reduce belly-fat causing cortisol levels. This walk is all about enjoying the movement (stride at a comfortable 3–4 effort level). Take in your surroundings, focus on feeling good — try to be mindful of your breath and steps along the way.
Your walking time gradually increases each week to build up to the proven, belly busting total of 150–210 minutes of walking per week.
The main point is to make it work for you. If you’re already a regular walker, feel free to add additional time to your walk — or extra days if you feel up for more. You can also skip ahead to the weeks that contain more walking and simply repeat the schedule from there. It’s easy to switch the daily and weekly schedule as you see fit, just be sure to make it work for you. It’s also a great idea to cross-train with other activities such as strength training, stretching and other movement such as bicycling, swimming, etc., to avoid overuse injuries and continue to build strength and endurance.
Walk with good posture, keeping your abs drawn slightly in (you should still be able to breathe comfortably), with your shoulders back and chest wide. Drive your arms back and forth to help power up your pace.
Of course, it’s important to note that nutrition plays a vital role in the permanent reduction of belly fat. Consuming nutritious food in the right amount is important and some research also suggests adding foods that help fight inflammation to your diet may also assist losing deep abdominal fat, so be sure you are also pairing your walks with healthy meals for the best results.
Notes: Your total walk time can include your warmup and cooldown — or not — it’s up to you. If you have enough time, add the additional 6–10 minutes to gradually warm up for and wrap up your walks to your walk total for the day (if, for example, your HIIT walk is 15 minutes, you’ll really be walking for 21 minutes with a 3 minute warm up and 3 minute cool down). However, if you are short on time, include the warm up and cool down into your daily total, just don’t skip them — it’s important to ease into and wind down your walk properly.
Remember that you can always adjust your walk days and times as needed to make them work for your schedule. And don’t forget to keep challenging yourself during the plan — as you become more fit, work on pumping up your pace when appropriate to cover more miles in less time.
READ MORE > 3 BRAIN- AND BODY-BOOSTING MOVES TO ADD TO YOUR NEXT WALK
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Enjoy your walks, everybody. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re getting fit!
To become more active, try setting a simple goal to increase (and track) your daily steps. Go to “Plans” in the MyFitnessPal app and choose a 28-day step plan to learn tips to boost your activity.