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Let’s get straight to the point – which is better for fat loss?

If you were to run for 30 minutes, you would burn more calories than you would power walking for 30 minutes. But for walking and running are both important for optimum fat loss. Here’s why.

The answer is: BOTH!

how to get a flat stomach mesomorph

RUNNING IS REALLY GREAT BECAUSE:

1) It burns lots of calories
2) It increases your cardiovascular fitness which also increases your anaerobic threshold. This means that you can exercise longer and at a higher intensity in the “fat burning” zone and as a result, burn more fat.

POWER WALKING IS GREAT BECAUSE:

1) It burns FAT. Because it is a lower intensity exercise, your body uses glucose and fat to produce energy. Your body uses other energy sources (such as glycogen and creatine phosphate) to produce energy during higher intensity exercise.
2) It is less intense on your body and your joints so you can do this exercise for longer periods of time and more frequently.

how to stick to a workout program cardio walk

One of my previous blog posts goes into detail about why low to moderate intensity cardio is actually very important for fat loss. Read more about it here.

Everyone is different and depending on your body type, certain types of cardio may benefit you differently. I have a free Body Type Quiz that you can solve to find out your body type.

I also have free workout and nutrition guidelines for each of the three main body types. In the guidelines I highlight the types of cardio you should be doing and how often. You can read up on the free guidelines here:

3 STEPS TO LEAN LEAGS PROGRAM

These types of workouts are also the basis for my 3 Steps To Lean Legs Program, which contain workout and nutrition programs for each body type. Read more about my 3 Steps To Lean Legs Program here.

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

41 Responses

  1. Hi! I’ve been walking for a while after reading this blog, but I’ve noticed some increase in my calf size. Is there something wrong? Why are my calves getting bigger? I eat at a slight calorie deficiency and I’m a mesomorph. Thanks!

    1. Hey lovely! Calves are a bit tricky because genetics is a big factor.

      It’s also important that you always make sure to power walk on a flat surface. Walking on a incline will out a lot of pressure on your legs which might result to unwanted bulkiness.

      Lastly, it would be best to check if you are mixing up the sensation of soreness with the appearance (calves appearing swollen and larger than before). If they are swollen, it’s normal for them to be after an hour of vigorous power walking. You can test it out by making a pic right after the walking and then after a few hours of rest when the swelling is down and you will then see it’s not permanent but just your body’s reaction to the activity. :)

  2. I have been walking 17,000 steps a day and am on a nutrisystem plan and eat 1450 calories a day but im not seeing much weight loss. What am i doing wrong? Im female 5’5 and weigh 140lbs. thanks

    1. Hey lovely! Everyone gets results at different rates. It might just take you a little longer. Some girls achieve progress after only a couple of weeks, while others simply need a bit more time – even a couple of rounds and that’s perfectly normal. You also have to consider several factors. Sometimes weight loss isn’t just about calories in and calories out. Your body is a lot more complicated. Any issues with gut health, hormones, thyroid, cortisol or nutrient deficiencies can actually make a HUGE difference to your weight. Please have a read of this blog post as it explains these situations in more detail and you’ll be able to see if any of these sound like you.

  3. Hi Rachel. I am about week three into your video program for Endomorphs and although I don’t see many visible changes, I do feel the difference, especially in my booty. I am starting to cut back my running, like many of your articles suggest only 2ish days a week rather than 4-5, and incorporate more power walking in. I was wondering what your thoughts are on rucking (walking with a weighted backpack) and walking with a weighted vest for added effort. Do they have the same effect as running on bulky thighs?
    Thank you for this program. I am super excited to see where it takes since I have always had chunky legs, and then extra chunky legs when I work out.

    1. Hi lovely <3
      Rachael always advises walking as much as possible, so aim at least 5 times a week for 45-60 minutes and as for running, no more than 2 times a week on the days when you are not doing the exercises. Also, please keep in mind that some endomorphs can bulk up from running so pay close attention to your legs and if you see some unwanted changes, substitute the running for more walking - and as for added weight, I wouldn't hun, your body's weight is enough and it is more important you be able to move quickly than carry something heavy.
      I hope this helps! xx
      Love,
      Tina

  4. Hi Rachael! I’m very new to workout. If I start walking to have thinner leg, what speed should I start with and how long per walking session is appropriate? I have a treadmill at home xx

    1. Hi lovely <3
      Please aim at 6-7 km/h (3.7-4.3 mph) for at least 5 times a week - start with 45 minutes and slowly raise the time to 60 minutes. And please don't forget that you shouldn't walk on an incline - only a flat surface! :)
      Love,
      Tina xx

  5. I tried power walk but the fastest I can do is 4.8 kmph! If I want it faster, it’ll be running.
    However I think I’m fairly fit because I do HIIT twice a week, and I always walk to go places. Is it because I’m only 160 cm?

    1. Hi lovely,
      Your walking speed is great, you don’t need to increase it. The speed will also depend on your height (the length of your legs), but just keep walking at a medium fast pace and try to maintain your fat burning heart rate (60-70% of your maximum heart rate). All the best! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  6. Hey! I have a question. I have no treadmill at home and sometimes I can not go to gym. There is some videos to walk at home. What do you think about them? Do they work? Or just waste of time?

    1. Hi lovely,
      Of course you can walk outdoors as well! I’m not familiar with walking at home videos, so I can’t comment. We always recommend walking as much as possible and moving throughout the day (e.g. walking to the shop or from work also counts)! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  7. Hi Rachael,
    I’ve just started your programme – thanks for creating all this! I was going crazy with my trainer telling me it was “genetically impossible” for my female quads to grow big… ! Anyway, at my gym there’s a Woodway Curve manual treadmill, which I like to use because you power the whole movement yourself (the machine belt doesn’t move on its own at all) so it’s more similar to walking outside. It certainly tires me out faster. However, would the slight curve make this like incline walking, providing a quad-building effect. It doesn’t feel the same but I’m not sure! Any advice really appreciated.
    Thanks again for all your work and I will defs send you my b&a pictures!

    1. Hi lovely,

      I understand your problem, I’ve been there too!
      This treadmill looks awesom. It shouldn’t make your legs bulky, it’s not the same as incline walking/running :) xx

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  8. What if i don’t have a flat surface for walking on? i live on a huge hill and there are almost no flat areas to walk on.

  9. What exceresies should I do at the gym to make my thighs thinner so I have a thigh gap and what shall I do at the gym to lose weight too?

    1. Hi Jen, I think I just replied to this via your email :) But to answer the questions:

      1) To get slimmer legs and a thigh gap, you need to be doing both walking and running (on a flat surface).

      2) To lose weight you need to focus on your diet as the most important thing. And then do high intensity circuits. Here is an example of the type of circuits you should do here and here xx

      1. How many times a week should I do the HIIT Abs and how many times a week should I do the HIIT full body? Also do I add in the walking everyday as well?

        1. If you’re the ectomorph or mesomorph body type, you could do a full body HIIT session twice a week. I wouldn’t recommend HIIT to endomorph body types because it can make them bulky.

          They could still do HIIT just for abs once a week if they have a lot of belly fat to lose.
          Of course, power walking is one of the best workouts for slimming down your legs so the more you can walk, the better! :) xx

          Love,
          Diana

  10. Hi! I love this article, it is very helpful and I now learned I need to do more moderate exercises and not very high level exercises if I want to get skinnier. I am 5’2 and like 110 lbs. The fronts of my thighs are very big compared to the rest of my body and I think it is cause it is muscle. What should I do to basically loose muscle to get it to slim down?? Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Katie, the only way you can really lose muscle is time unfortunately. And losing muscle is quite difficult so will take a bit of time. I would just try to avoid any exercise that use your quads to give them a break. You can still do other resistance exercises though – here are some ideas! Good luck xx

  11. Hi!

    Your blog is really helpful! So unfortunately, I have a damaged knee and had knee surgery on my left knee about 7 months ago ago. Running is out of the question, and I am doing a lot of exercises to just regain the strength I lost while being injured and then on bed rest. So I can’t do squats or lunges either, which is always recommended for thinner legs. My legs (thighs mainly) are really, and disproportionately fat. All of the fat in my body is concentrated from knee to waist, mainly in the upper thigh creating the dreaded pear shape. My weight is fine, I gained weight while on rest but am now on a healthy diet and have dropped 6 kilos in 3 months. Right now my workout consists of – moderately intense cardio – 20 minutes (elliptical or cycling), about 20 minutes of exercises focused on legs such as leg raises etc with weights etc. I’m also doing some exercises for my upper body (bench press, shoulder press, crunches etc). I really want to lose fat on my legs though. Can you suggest anything else? Its just that the weak knee rules out leg press, squats and lunges.

    1. Hi hun, if you want to lean out your legs then squats, leg press and lunges should be avoided. Can you do any walking? This is the most effective for leaning out your legs, so do lots of it if you can! I hope you can get back on track soon. Good luck! xx

  12. Hi Rachael, I’m currently doing 1 x HIIT Circuit session, 2 x Reformer Pilates and would like to incorporate Power Walking and Running. Can you please recommend how many walking and running sessions I should do for maximum weight loss? Also time and length for a beginner runner? E.g walk for 5 mins jog for 2 mins
    Thanks so much in advance :) Your blog is so helpful!

    1. Hi Rachel, happy to help! I would suggest running 2-3 times per week. You only need to run for 15-20 minutes. I would start with a 5 minute warm up, 15-20 min run, and then around 20 minute walk to cool down. If you can’t run for a full 15-20 minutes, I would just try to jog for as long as you can, then stop and walk for a minute, then keep repeating. Eventually you’ll get there! Also with the walking, I would try to do as much as you can. I generally try to walk every day, but if you can’t fit it in, then fitting in a quick walk after your HIIT or pilates sessions would help. Good luck! xx

  13. Hi Rachael!
    I’ve been doing HIIT for 2 weeks now, but my thighs and calves got bigger!
    So this morning I tried running for 15 minutes and my calves started to get soar. Is it okay to keep on running or power walk even though my calves are hurt? Will it increase my calves size if I forced it? Lastly, can you give me a specific workout routine like which day should I run or HIIT for a week?

    Thanks a bunch bae :) xx

    1. Hi hun, I’m sorry to hear that! I try to just do a HIIT session once per week maximum to avoid this. It’s OK if your calves are hurting – running does use your calves. It could be just because you’re not used to running yet; if this is the case, your calves won’t feel like this every time. Or it could be your run technique. I would continue with the running for a two weeks and see if you are still feeling it in your calves. An example for a workout could be:

      Monday – run
      Tuesday – HIIT
      Wednesday – run
      Thursday – rest day (or lighter resistance training)
      Friday – run
      Saturday – lighter resistance training
      Sunday – rest day

  14. Hey Rachael! I work at a gym and we have elliptical machines there. Does that take the place of a power walk? My knee is slightly injured and a personal trainer recommended it as an alternate. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi A. The elliptical is good but won’t lean out your legs as good as walking will. It is definitely less impact and if you cannot walk, you could use it as an alternative. But once you’ve recovered, I would switch back to walking xx

  15. Hi Rachael,

    I used to run a lot (too much, really!), was doing much more damage to my body than good. I managed to stop this (found that difficult though, i think i was addicted!) and cut back to just a power walk most days, in the morning for about 25 – 30 mins.
    I find I feel like I bulk up quickly, or I get quite muscly legs quickly when doing HIIT and also found this with running. I just felt bigger and heavier overall. I found the same thing when I started doing bikram yoga. I loved it, but it definitely made me feel larger.
    So I decided to cut back to just the walking again but I really don’t feel like I am shifting any weight. I don’t have a great deal to lose, but at least 5kgs that seem to have crept on in the past few months. Should I try running again every couple of days? Would I see results if I continued walking but just increased the duration? I feel ok not having much muscle. I certainly prefer that my clothes nearly fit better without much muscle (not sure if this is because I seem to gain muscle and then clothes feel tight due to a different shape?)
    Thanks,
    Jayne

    1. Hi Jayne, Rachael here. Sorry to hear that you are having these issues. I’m sure you already know, but having a bit of muscle will help you lose the 5kgs and quicker. But if you really don’t want to gain any muscle, then my advice would be to make sure you’re doing some form of high intensity exercise 4 times per week: this can include running, skipping, cycling, boxing, or HIIT if you would like to try it. And on the other days, try power walking and increase your duration. Good luck! xx

  16. Hi Rachel! I have a mini trampoline for rebounding exercise. I am 5ft 90lbs…pretty small and skinny but with a pear shape, definitely! Does it help balance out my my shape? Im so happy i found your website! xoxo

    1. Hi Barb, Rachael here. The best type of exercises for you to balance out your shape would be a combination of cardio (running/ walking is best) and weights (both HIIT weights and heavier weights). I don’t think trampolining would help much sorry :( xx

  17. Hi Rachael! so maybe this is a silly question, but does cycling in a spinning bike (low intensity) have the same effect as power walking?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Cristina, Rachael here. Unfortunately not really. Cycling at a low intensity doesn’t do a whole lot. You’d be MUCH better off walking x

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