4-Week Power Walking Plan for Weight Loss

by Jessica Smith
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4-Week Power Walking Plan for Weight Loss

If you’re looking to boost your burn during your walks to lose weight faster, it might be time to amp up your walks with power intervals.

Whether you’re just starting out, returning from a long hiatus or are a regular walker, this four-week plan combines steady-state and powered-up pace interval walks along with resistance and flexibility training to help maximize your results.

If weight loss is one of your goals, pairing a regular exercise plan (like this one) with calorie counting might be an effective strategy. While you can lose weight by reducing calories alone, research shows that combining dietary changes with exercise can speed up your results. As Trinh Le, MPH, RD recommends, pairing an 1,800-calorie diet with 300 extra calories burned each day through exercise can be the better choice for weight loss.

To help you put it all together, we’ve created this powered up, five-day-a-week plan designed to help you burn approximately 300 calories a day through exercise. (Please note: Calorie burn is a general estimate, this number will vary greatly by individual, body composition, effort level, etc. For a more accurate reading, a heart rate monitor or other tracking device may be helpful.) On the weekends, you can add a session and/or find ways to move more (such as gardening, cycling, rollerblading, playing with the kids, etc).

While this is a walking plan, we recommend including additional strength and flexibility sessions to boost the body shaping and weight-loss benefits of this plan and help prevent aches and pains.

YOUR WEEKLY GOAL

With this plan, you’ll aim to burn an average of 300 calories per day, with a combination of walking, strength training and stretching. General recommendations are walking three days/week, strength training for 2–3 days/week and flexibility training two days/week (or more), but should be adjusted to meet your current fitness level and schedule. Do this cycle four times and notice how much stronger you get each week.

FOR INTENSITY: POWERED-UP PACE WALK (3040 MINUTES)

Begin at an easy pace with a 5-minute walk to warm up your body, then use this 2-2-1 interval structure to power up your pace for 20–30 minutes.

  • 2 minutes: Walk at a brisk, but steady, pace (intensity: 5 out of 10*; you should be able to talk but your breathing will be quick).
  • 2 minutes: Move at a brisk, but steady, pace (intensity: 7/10; you should be able to answer short, brief questions, not carry on a full conversation).
  • 1 minute: Power up your pace as fast as you can, pumping your arms quickly to propel you faster (intensity: 8/10; this should feel very difficult, but manageable for 60 seconds).

Repeat the entire series of 5-minute intervals 4 times for a 30-minute walk and 6 times for a 40-minute walk (totals leave time for a 5-minute warmup and 5-minute cooldown).

Adding bursts of intensity like this during your walk is a great way to burn more fat in less time, without having to add the impact of jogging or running. Wind down your walk with a cooldown of about 5 minutes at an easy pace to recover your breathing and heart rate (you may also want to end your walk with these simple, total body stretches).

FOR ENDURANCE: STEADY STATE WALK (40–50 MINUTES)

Begin with an easy pace, 5-minute walk to warm up your body, then maintain a brisk, but steady, walking pace (intensity level 5–6) for 30–40 minutes. Cooldown for about 5 minutes, moving at an easy pace to recover your breathing and heart rate (you may also want to end your walk with simple, total-body stretches).

STRENGTH TRAINING (20–30 MINUTES)

Perform total body, strength-building movements using your bodyweight, dumbbells, resistance bands or whatever equipment you prefer.

STRETCHING (3–15 MINUTES)

Stretching can be done after your walks if it’s convenient for you, or at another time of your choosing. Focus on stretching your entire body evenly, paying extra attention and spending more time with areas that may be tight or stiff (for more stretching tips click here).

ACTIVE REST DAY

Stretch, garden, take a leisurely bike ride or stroll around the neighborhood. The point is to take a day off of “exercise” but you can still stay in motion while you ‘rest’ your body!

*Intensity scale of 1–10 refers to 10 being absolute maximal effort and 1 being no effort at all.

TIPS

Depending on your starting point, you’ll want to adapt the plan to meet your current fitness level and schedule. If you are just beginning to exercise, you may need to reduce your days per week and/or the length of your daily sessions. Each week, you can add 1 day of training or extend your session by 5 minutes to progressively increase your workload without overdoing it. Tailor it to meet your needs and preferences so it’s easy to stick with and that you can stay consistent with the plan because consistency is the key to getting (and maintaining) results!

Remember, while you might not burn as many calories during a strength-training session, by adding more muscle to your frame, you are adding more metabolically active tissue to your body (muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat). Don’t sweat it if you fall short of your 300-calorie goal on strength days — you are making important changes to your body with resistance training that will help change your body composition and shape over the long term.

TELL US YOU’RE IN!

Are you going to join us for this plan? Leave a comment below, and let us know. We’re here to support each other and be accountable. We’re in this together team!

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  • Kerry Schulstad

    I’m in for sure!

    • Sandra Liberman

      Yes, I’m in for sure! Tired of beating myself up for being out of shape… time to get going

  • Melissa

    Yes I’m in!!

  • Joanne McLay

    I’m in but would like an equvilant for a treadmill. Up the speed or hill? Outdoor walking won’t work right now.

  • John Bratkovic

    I’m in

  • Sharon

    I’m all in!

  • Suzanne Champagne

    Lost 33lbs so far, I’m in for the next 25lbs and thereafter

  • Terry Price

    I’m going to do this! Thanks!

  • Colleen Neil Carroll

    What if treadmill is the only option at this point in the year ?

  • Cindy Sobey

    I am definitely going to start this program. Should be pretty easy to adapt it to an elliptical I think.

  • Theresa Graves

    I have been lugging around an extra 15 lbs for about a couple of years now. I am taking it off this time! I feel so much better when I am exercising and eating right. Time to get back in the game-no resolution here-ABSOLUTION!

  • elizamae

    How do y’all keep track of the time during workouts like this? Do you just keep resetting your timer on a smartphone?

    • Nellie Dwyer

      I think Map My Walk has coaching on it. Try that

      • Nellie Dwyer

        It kept telling me to speed up ha ha

  • lidya

    I’m going to try this walking plan 🙂

  • Lydia Brown

    Sounds great!

  • Degzy99

    Im in and just starting target is 15kg

  • Mmickk Mmickk

    Im in 25kg to lose.

  • Jane Mckenzie

    I’m up for trying it

  • David Scott Gallagher

    This looks like an ideal exercise programme to lose weight so I would like to try it

  • Sue Chase

    I’m definitely up for this one so I can burn off all the Christmas food

  • Pedro Quevedo

    Thanks for your article. I think it’s a perfect workout for people like me with some lumbar protrusion.

  • Sue Wyse

    Doing Mount Everest Base Camp trek in April and this sounds like the perfect start to my training.

  • Shirley Cullen

    I am in for the power walking plan

  • Fran Chester

    I’m in. Started Jan1, 2018 & want to drop 30lbs. Have employed power walking in the past & it really worked to help drop the weight but had to give it up due to stress fractures so probably wasn’t doing it right. I’m looking forward to joining this group & getting it done right. Thanks for the information

    • russty

      I also had the ol shin splints when i tried a lil light jogging…any ideas how to avoid them?!

      • Fran Chester

        Doing calf stretches before & after any walking/running is what the experts told m. I wasn’t doing both before & after & start out slow. You can google exercises to prevent shin splints for info on how to do them. Hope this helps. Good Luck.

        • russty

          Yeah i stretch & everything…still get pain! It’s keeping me from going farther i reckon…guess I’ll keep at it & stretch more…thanx

          • Fran Chester

            I’ve had shin splints too & they are very painful. Don’t give up, they will get better with icing & rest but it puts a snag in the power walking. It helped me to keep doing the stretches even if I didn’t do the walking so hang in there.

  • Coral Bryant

    Would love to join as I have 10 kgs to lose. Need to get some fitness back after serious accident last year.

  • Bill Wilson

    I’m in, looks like it will shake up my routine

  • Heather Holmes

    My family is starting a weight loss challenge and I think this may be a great way to get on board with it! I’ll definitely give it a shot!

  • maggie

    Will give it a try; determined to success. The scales are already moving in the right direction, started on 30th December.

  • Tracey

    Starting the walking plan today.

  • Teresa Scott

    Keen to start

  • Gaeleen Scholes-daysh

    I am in for the 4 week exercise plan

  • Edo

    I am in, What would be scales 6/10 or 7/10 on treadmill?

    .

  • Sandra Faragher

    I am in. Need to lose about 10kg and get fitter.

  • Naomi Saxton-Knight

    How fast in mph is 6/10 on a treadmill for an averagely fit 50yr old, does anyone know?

  • Kathryn Quinn

    I love to walk, but Ive become too lax about it since we gave our dog away the beginning of November. This may be just what I need to get with the program again. I’m going to use tomorrow, Sunday, as an active rest day and begin on Monday. It will be a bit of a challenge because we’re going to be on the road a lot until Saturday, but I want to give it my best shot. I do have an ulterior motive. My 50th high school class reunion is October 6 and I’m a good 35 pounds over my best healthy weight.

  • LaDonna Curtis

    I’m in!

  • Patricia Brace Eaves

    I’m in

  • Bonnie Watts

    I’m in, I’ve lost about 35lbs so far by doing Weight Watchers and walking at least 10,000 steps daily. I would like to drop the last 10lbs trying this method!

  • Valentina Kojin Thomson

    I’m in! I will use tomorrow as my rest day and start this challenge on Monday. I have 25# to lose.

  • Lola

    I’m in. I’ve lost 34 lbs so far walking my dog. Will incorporate these adjustments to power past my plateau.

  • Kaye

    I’m in

  • David McCain

    Doing this. Thanks for the article!

  • Kraig Elliott

    I’m in!