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Walk Off 10 Pounds in 28 Days

  • Illustration by Andy Potts

  • Illustration by Andy Potts

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Walking is a triple threat. It not only gets you where you're going, but also serves as a form of relaxation and, of course, as a route to weight loss. How do you make sure those extra steps lead to a smaller jeans size? Follow one of our three expert-designed programs to help you shed up to 10 pounds in one month. Just don't expect a leisurely stroll to success. If you really want results, you've got to push the pace. Aim for roughly 4 to 4.5 mph and a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of 5. (RPE is a self-measurement of how hard you feel you're working out, with 0 being no effort and 10 being heart-pounding, sweat-dripping super hard.) You'll also need to eat smart, but that won't be difficult thanks to our menu planner. Ready to become a slimmed-down sensation in 28 days? Let's get started!

Rise and Stride

Best for: Morning walkers who might meet up with friends
Pounds you can lose: 6 this month with menu plan
Calories burned: Up to 300 per workout
Why this program works: "Morning exercisers tend to stick with their workouts because nothing else —besides sleep—has the chance to get in the way," says fitness expert Nicole Nichols, creator of the DVD SparkPeople: Total Body Sculpting, who also designed our a.m. program. "Plus, working out with friends adds the accountability factor while making exercise feel more enjoyable."


Training Schedule
S M T W T F S

Practice maintaining your pace.

RPE: 5

Time: 30min

 

Walk briskly for 5 min; go hard for 1 min. Repeat 5 times.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 30 min

Ready to work? Increase your pace or incline at least 4 times.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 30 min

Hum a song that you and your friends know.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Increase your pace or incline at least 4 times.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 30 min

 

Walk briskly 5 min; go all-out for 1 min. Repeat 5 times.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 30 min

Rest

Walk up and down hills as many times as possible.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 35 min

 

Walk as fast as you can, nonstop.

RPE: 8

Time: 35 min

 

 

Step briskly for 6 min, then super fast for 2. Repeat 5 times.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 40 min

Strut at a steady, moderate pace.

RPE: 5

Time: 40 min

 

 

Have a friendly race uphill.

RPE: 6

Time: 30 min

 

Step briskly for 6 min, then super fast for 2. Repeat 5 times.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 40 min

Rest

Maintain your pace and intensity.

RPE: 6

Time: 40 min

 

 

Blaze as fast as you can for 5 min; recover. Repeat.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 40 min
 

Fire up your glutes: Climb a slight hill most of the workout

RPE: 7

Time: 40 min.
 

Walk quickly for 6 min; bolt for 3. Repeat 5 times.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 45 min

 

Trek up and down a tough hill nonstop.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 45 min
 

 

Find a slight hill to climb steady and strong most of the workout.

RPE: 7

Time: 45 min

Rest

Walk 6 min; up the pace or incline for 3. Repeat.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 45 min

 

Keep your speed at fast and furious.

RPE: 7

Time: 45 min

 

Walk up and down a hill as many times as possible.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 45 min

 

Forge ahead 6 min; boost speed or incline for 3. Repeat.

RPE: 6 to 8

Time: 45 min
 

Work your butt off today. Talking should be difficult.

RPE: 7 to 8

Time: 45 min
 

Grand finale! Go all-out. Change incline and speed at will.

RPE: 8

Time: 45 min
 

Rest

Pace check! Going fast enough? Count your strides for one minute. Your goal is at least 55.

Step up. Walking sneakers are a worthwhile investment since they provide plenty of support and cushioning in the heel. Ryka makes great ones starting at $48 (ryka.com).

You asked... "Is a pedometer really necessary? And if so, do I need to buy an expensive one?"

Nichols says... "Wearing that little reminder can keep you motivated. As for price and quality, an inexpensive model is usually less accurate and has a shorter life." We like the Fitbit Zip ($60, fitbit.com) and Omron's HJ-322U ($45, omronhealthcare.com). If you have a smartphone, try a pedometer app like MapMyWalk (free).

Menu

Aim for 1,450 calories daily: 300 at breakfast, 450 at lunch, 550 at dinner, and 150 as a snack.

"Start your day with belly-filling fiber and lean protein to keep muscles strong," says Nicolette Pace, RD, director of NutriSource, a medical nutrition therapy and weight-loss center in New York City. Her breakfast suggestions:


Slim Smoothie Get-Skinny Cereal Lean Omelet

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ice
1 oz almonds (on side or
ground into smoothie)

PER SERVING 270 CAL; 15 g FAT
(1 g SAT); 19 g PRO; 17 g CARB; 5 g

FIBER; 62 mg SODIUM; 0 mg CHOL
 

1/2 cup cooked whole-grain cereal
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup blueberries
1 hard-boiled egg (on side)

PER SERVING 230 CAL; 8 g FAT
(2 g SAT); 10 g PRO; 29 g CARB; 3 g

FIBER; 137 mg SODIUM; 187 mg CHOL

 

3 egg whites
1 oz sliced deli turkey
1 slice Swiss cheese
1/4 cup chopped peppers, cooked
1/4 cup chopped onions, cooked
1 tangerine on the side

PER SERVING 260 CAL; 9 g FAT
(5 g SAT); 26 g PRO; 20 g CARB; 3 g

FIBER; 510 mg SODIUM; 40 mg CHOL

 

Midday Moves

Best for: Power-walkers who trek on the treadmill or outdoors (with access to small-to-steep hills) during lunch
Pounds you can lose: 10 this month with menu plan
Calories burned: Up to 500 per workout
Why this program works: "Metabolism and energy peak in the early afternoon, so you can really push yourself during your workout," says fitness expert Leslie Sansone, creator of the Walk at Home DVD series, who developed this program.

Boost your results. Wear a 5- to 10-pound weighted vest on all your walks. "The heavier you are, the more calories you burn while exercising," says Sansone.

Training Schedule
S M T W T F S

Foot it super quick; no breaks.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min

 

Hoof it fast!

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 45 min

 

Pump your arms to power your legs.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min

 

Climb on.

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 45 min

 

You should be too breathless to talk.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 7 to 8

Time: 50 min

 

Smile through the burn!

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 45 min

 

Move those legs.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min

 

Today you work.

Incline: 5% for 5 min, then 7% for 2. Repeat.
RPE: 7

Time: 42 min

 

You get a mini break this outing.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min

 

An uphill trek.

Incline: 5% for 5 min, then 7% for 2. Repeat.
RPE: 7

Time: 42 min

 

Today is a steady climb.

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 50 min

 

Stay strong.

Incline: 5% for 5 min, then 7% for 2. Repeat.
RPE: 7

Time: 42 min

 

Don’t even think about slacking.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min

 

Your hips should look firmer.

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 50 min

 

Speed intervals.

Incline: 0%
Walk fast for 1 min; recover. Repeat 10 times.
RPE: 8

Time: 50 min

Use this time to clear your mind.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min

 

Pick up the pace.

Incline: 0%
Walk fast for 2 min; recover. Repeat 6 times.
RPE: 8

Time: 50 min

 

Perfect posture: chest proud, shoulders back.

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 50 min

 

An uphill trek.

Incline: 5% for 5 min, then 7% for 2. Repeat.
RPE: 7

Time: 42 min

 

Go the limit.

Incline: 0%
Walk fast for 2 min; recover. Repeat 6 times.
RPE: 8

Time: 50 min

 

Work your glutes.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min.

 

Climb like a pro.

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 50 min

 

Go all-out.

Incline: 5% for 5 min, then 7% for 2. Repeat.
RPE: 7

Time: 42 min

 

Speed intervals.

Incline: 0%
Go fast for 1 min; recover. Repeat 10 times.
RPE: 8
Time: 50 min

 

This is your only “easy” day this week.

Incline: 0%
RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 50 min

 

Push the intensity.

Incline: 3% or find a small hill.
RPE: 6

Time: 50 min

 

Almost there.

Incline: 5% for 5 min, then 7% for 2. Repeat.
RPE: 7

Time: 42 min

 

Grand finale!

Incline: 0%
Walk fast for 2 min; rest.
Repeat 6 times.
RPE: 8

Time: 50 min

Body check! Walking with a short, quick stride will help reduce impact on your knees and hips.

You asked... "How do I ramp up any routine to make it more exciting and challenging?"

Sansone says... "Add some strength moves at the end. Doing lunges and squats conditions your muscles to use more fuel throughout the day and burn more calories overall. You might also try different strides, stepping sideways or backwards. That's how you move in real life, so that's how you should train."

Menu

Aim for 1,300 calories daily: 300 for breakfast, 400 at lunch, 500 at dinner, and 100 as a snack.

You don't need to eat more because you're power-walking during lunch. "Instead, split your meal in half," says Pace. "Have a few bites before your workout and finish the rest after." Her hunger-satisfying suggestions:

Whole Grain Greek Salad Sandwhich
Takout Options

1 oz feta cheese
2 cups shredded romaine
4 Kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red onion
and green peppers
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 low-calorie pita
Pinch oregano
Stuff ingredients into pita.
Enjoy with a fruit cup.

PER SERVING 380 CAL; 16 g
FAT (6 g SAT); 11 g PRO; 51 g
CARB; 6 g FIBER; 740 mg

SODIUM; 25 mg CHOL

Chipotle Chicken Burrito
Bowl with black beans,
fajita veggies and
tomatillo—green chili salsa.

PER SERVING 345 CAL; 8 g
FAT (2 g SAT); 41 g PRO; 31 g
CARB; 13 g FIBER; 1,020 mg

SODIUM; 115 mg CHOL

 

Boston Market Roast
Turkey with fresh
steamed veggies and
seasonal fruit salad.

PER SERVING 330 CAL; 8 g
FAT (1 g SAT); 41 g PRO; 24 g
CARB; 4 g FIBER; 795 mg

SODIUM; 70 mg CHOL

 

Sundown Stroll

Best for: Post-dinner exercisers who tow along family, a dog or both
Pounds you can lose: 5 this month with menu plan
Calories burned: Up to 250 per workout
Why this program works: Blending elements of tai chi and walking, "Chi Walking" offers a slimming stress-buster. "It focuses your mind on generating positive energy as you burn calories," say married couple Katherine and Danny Dreyer, authors of Chi Walking, Chi Running, and Chi Marathon. "Post-dinner walks with the family can reduce nighttime snacking and help the kids wind down before bed."

Walking immediately after dinner—as opposed to waiting an hour— regulates insulin and is better for weight loss.


Training Schedule
S M T W T F S

Perfect posture. Lift from your crown.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

In short, fast strides, do 5 min at a moderate pace, then 5 briskly. Repeat.

RPE: 6

Time: 30 min

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Push off the ball of your foot. Do 15 min moderately, 10 briskly, 5 fast.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 30 min

 

Keep your shoulders over your hips. Work your abs.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Bend arms at 90 degrees; allow a full forward swing.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Notice whether you’re slumping; straighten up.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Do 5 min at a moderate pace, then 5 at a brisk pace. Repeat.

RPE: 6

Time: 30 min

 

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Do 20 min at a moderate pace, 10 briskly, 5 fast.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 35 min

 

Walk 25 min at a moderate pace, then 10 briskly.

RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 35 min

 

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Breathe in positive thoughts.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Think tall, walk tall.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Race your kids.Do 5 min at a moderate pace, then 10 briskly. Repeat.

RPE: 6

Time: 30 min
 

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Do 20 min at a moderate pace, 10 briskly, 5 fast.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 35 min

 

Do 25 min at a moderate pace, then 10 briskly.

RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 35 min

 

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Clenched fists cause neck tension. Go loose.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Do a posture check every few minutes.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Don’t slow down. Walk 10 min briskly; recover. Repeat twice.

RPE: 6

Time: 30 min
 

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Do 20 min at a moderate pace, 10 min briskly, 5 min fast.

RPE: 5 to 7

Time: 35 min

 

Do 25 min at a moderate pace, then 10 briskly.

RPE: 5 to 6

Time: 35 min

 

You can walk, take a day off or cross-train.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

Grand finale! Take your Chi Walking skills everywhere.

RPE: 5

Time: 30 min

 

Head check! Engage your core by leading with your shoulders and relax everything else.

You asked... "How do I make my walking routine more fun?"

The Dreyers say... "Change routes often to keep your environment stimulating. If you usually go north, try heading south, or drive to a nearby neighborhood and walk there. Another option: Download MotionX-GPs, an app that uses multiple maps to plot your next route."

Menu

Aim for 1,600 calories daily: 350 at breakfast, 500 at lunch, 600 at dinner, and 150 as a snack.

Pace's mix of lean proteins and complex, high-fiber carbs keeps you sated. Craving dessert? "End your meal with a little fruit," she suggests. "It also aids digestion."


Pick 1 Protein Pick 1 Whole Grain Choose 2 Veggies Enjoy 1 Extra

4 oz broiled sole
4 oz broiled shrimp
or scallops
4 oz turkey or
chicken cutlet
3 oz sliced top round

London broil steak

1 cup cooked wholegrain
quinoa
1/2 cup cooked whole-grain
basmati rice
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked wholegrain

linguine

1 cup steamed mixed
carrots, asparagus, broccoli
1 sauteed green pepper
1 medium caramelized
red onion
1 fresh roasted plum tomato
1 cup sauteed spinach

and sliced mushrooms

1 tbsp pine nuts or
6 to 10 almonds,
walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup grapes
1 tbsp grated cheese,
1 oz shredded reducedcalorie
cheddar or Swiss,

or 1 oz feta cheese

Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and styles are subject to change.

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