Steps are often mentioned when it comes to the subject of changing your body shape but how many do you really need to do? This comes down to the balance between how many steps you do versus your food intake per day verses how that day represents your intake across a week.
From practical experience, having first started using steps in 2013 with clients, I would say the very lowest I have seen people lose body fat is around 7000 steps a day. For these people, their food was amazing, the good days were low in food intake and they were consistent six, maybe seven days a week. I have seen people in the short term lose body fat on lower steps than 7000, I did it myself when I was stuck in the house on Quarantine due to corona. I lost fat without doing any steps at all. However, to see someone lose a good amount of weight, e.g. 10-15 Kg, that’s been the minimum threshold.
In reality, you should be aiming for much higher. At these low levels of steps you are unable to have much freedom in your life around food. For me, if any client gets up to 15-17,000 steps a day, I’ve always seen them get results. However, even then they must still make some kind of effort with their food intake. For example, I have seen a few people gain weight doing 20 000 steps a day as their food is out of control. During my biggest winter bulk I gained 10kg while doing 30 000 steps a day as I discussed last week on Food Satiety.
At some point, it is not possible to do more movement in your life due to logistics. I could average such high step numbers because I work outside, run with clients and I am not bound by kids bed times, long commutes and so forth. Once your movement level is set then you need to ensure your food intake is appropriate to change your body.
The table below gives a nice outline of your movement vs expected need of consistency around food. It comes from the mechanics of getting in shape section in my book. Within that chapter, I discuss how everyone should be able to lose fat on just walking and moderating their food intake. This is the fundamental basis of changing your body. If you can only lose weight doing mad exercise routines or crazy nutrition plans then you need to come back to basics to produce simple, sensible paced fat loss. With this in place, you are then able to add the more extravagant methods. The reason this fundamental base. is important it that it is correlated to how likely you are to maintain your results long term.
I had a client recently who was unhappy they had been losing body fat so slowly, but I looked at her step count and it was just 4000 steps a day. What that tells me is her food is really good, she is restricting her intake and she is being consistent across the week. However, her movement levels are awful! Doing just 4000 steps a day is 40 minutes of moving, or 23 hours 20 minutes of not moving! If your food is very good, and your movement is bad, it is much easier to improve the walking from bad to average than it is to make your eating exceptional from very good.
What Does This Means For You?
Use the table below as a guide for movement vs food intake. Getting in shape is not that complicated. The difficulty is how do you get yourself to do this day after day, week after week? This may involve motivation, training your thinking patterns, handling stress. This is what my book and Grand Unified Theory of Weight Loss approach is all about. It details how you bring in those factors together to actually get over the hurdle and get your results.
Photo – A photo of Steps vs Food Intake table –