A fitness coach breaks down how to lose weight by walking, in 28 days (2023)

Walking for weight loss really can work. Fact. Besides the many benefits of regular strolls – upping your daily movement, getting some fresh air and sunlight (brilliant to swerve any vitamin D deficiency symptoms), not to mention the mental health advantages – you can lose weight walking every day, and if healthy weight loss is one of your goals, you're in the right place.

An average of 2,400 of you Google 'walking for weight loss tips' every month. This is a solid indicator that a) confusion surrounding walking for weight loss is common and b) expert support is needed to maximise help you, I and Cathy down the street maximise our daily movement.

Good news then, PT Sam McGowan is on hand to help us debunk everything there is to know about walking for weight loss. Scroll on for your beginner 4-week walking for weight loss plan, as well as all the answers to your walking for weight loss Qs.

Is walking good for weight loss?

For anyone who dreads intense HIIT home workouts, you'll be pleased to hear they're not the only option if you're trying to lose body fat, and walking is a legit option for weight loss.

'When it comes to walking for weight loss, movement, in general, is great – it's all about energy balance,' McGowan explains. In other words, you need to be expending more energy (calories) than you're taking in. This is known as being in a calorie deficit.

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'Here’s a super simple way of looking at it,' McGowan says. 'When we’re trying to lose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit – this means burning more calories than we’re eating.'

Increasing our daily movement (through an activity we can perform for a sustained period, like walking) is a great way to increase daily calorie expenditure.

While any form of exercise will help you increase your daily calorie burn (some potentially in a shorter time), walking for weight loss is an accessible starting point for many people. It doesn't require more than a very basic level of fitness and strength; it's low impact and doesn't necessitate any kit, save for perhaps some good footwear.

Exercise (and walking) isn't the only strand of healthy weight loss, though and actually, it's more efficient (and accurate) to create a calorie deficit through your nutrition.

How to eat if you're walking for weight loss

Fortunately, we've got a veritable treasure trove of handy guides to help you lose weight by walking. The list starts with beginner-friendly help, progressing to more advanced. If you're brand new to walking for weight loss, stick with steps 1 and 2.

  1. This is how many calories to eat a day if you want to lose weight
  2. Learn about everything about calorie deficits and how to stay in one
  3. Here's everything you need to know about losing body fat
  4. For non-beginners, consider counting and calculating your macros
  5. If you've done step four, here are the best macros for fat loss

    So, to answer the question 'can you lose weight just by walking?' Absolutely. You just need to dial in your nutrition, too.

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    8 benefits of walking for weight loss

    1. It's free
    2. It's low-impact
    3. It can be done anywhere
    4. You can do it in a group or solo
    5. It increases brainpower, according to a New Mexico Highlands University study
    6. It improves heart health, (think lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes) as much as running, according to the American Heart Association
    7. It's good for your mind. Walking in nature has been linked to improved mental health by the University of Michigan Health System
    8. It decreases the risk of illness (stroke, coronary heart disease, depression and other life-threatening conditions), as per this University of East Anglia

      6 walking for weight loss tips

      Does walking help you lose weight? Yes, but before you chuck on your kicks and head for the park, there are some need to knows, to avoid putting yourself at risk of injury. Because, whilst it might be a low-impact activity, you still need to do it right.

      1. Walk tall

      Lift your torso up and out of your hips and sense your body ‘lengthening’. This will prevent you from lapsing into a slouch and ‘walking heavy’, which could hinder the way walking for weight loss works.

      'Good posture allows you to take full breaths and fully engage your core muscles, as well as your legs and glutes to achieve a better, more powerful stride,' says David Wiener, training specialist at fitness app Freeletics.

      2. Look up

      Your head weighs around 4.5kg, so don’t drag yourself down by staring at the ground on your walking for weight loss quest. Cast your gaze forward, so your head is balanced on your neck and spine.

      3. Take smaller steps

      By keeping your body upright, you will be able to land with your feet directly underneath your body rather – this will help you to walk lightly.

      'Overstriding can be the cause of injuries so make sure the steps you take aren’t too big which can add additional pressure to your joints, and hinder your walking for weight loss progress,' Wiener explains.

      4. Use your arms

      Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees, your wrists and hands neither floppy nor rigid and move your arms backwards and forwards slightly across your body.

      'A strong-arm motion can burn 5-10% more calories and add speed, which will again increase calorie burn,' says Wiener. It's a handy hack to walking for weight loss, and one that people often let slip.

      5. Use control

      Take time to practise walking slower than you would normally, so you can be conscious of whether your footfall is light or heavy, whether your head feels poised on your neck and spine, and whether you can sense unnecessary tension in your arms, shoulders and back. This will all help your walking for weight loss advancement.

      6. Nail your foot-strike technique

      ‘Strike the ground heel first and roll through the step from the heel to the toe, pushing back off with your toe before striking the ground again heel first,’ Wiener says. Again, this one will help prevent any injuries that could stop you achieving your walking for weight loss goal.

      4-week walking for weight-loss plan

      McGowan designed this plan particularly for beginners who want to lose weight by walking. That said, even if you're just looking to get your daily steps up, stick around – this plan is an effective way to help you build walking stamina. Plus, it helps to have a plan if you're aiming for a higher step count.

      Fun fact: 10k steps will require about 1 hour and 45 min of walking, McGowan says, but you can lose weight with 30-minute walks, so long as you do them regularly.

      The best bit about this plan is that you don't need to worry about how much walking to do to lose weight, McGowan has it sussed. So, scroll on and get ready for your month of walking more and feeling great!

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      A fitness coach breaks down how to lose weight by walking, in 28 days (8)

      Week 1

      • Monday: 3 x 10-min walks, easy pace
      • Tuesday: 30-min walk, brisk
      • Wednesday: 30-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
      • Thursday: 30-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
      • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
      • Saturday: 2 x 30-min walks, easy pace
      • Sunday: 60-min walk, brisk

        Week 2

        • Monday: 3 x 20-min walks, easy pace
        • Tuesday: 30-min walk, brisk + 1 x 15-min walk, easy pace
        • Wednesday: 35-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
        • Thursday: 35-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
        • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
        • Saturday: 2 x 40-min walks, easy pace
        • Sunday: 75-min walk, brisk

          Week 3

          • Monday: 4 x 15-min walks, easy pace
          • Tuesday: 30-min walk, brisk + 1 x 30-min walk, easy pace
          • Wednesday: 40-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
          • Thursday: 40-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
          • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
          • Saturday: 2 x 45-min walks, easy pace
          • Sunday: 90-min walk, brisk

            Week 4

            • Monday: 4 x 20-min walks, easy pace
            • Tuesday: 40-min walk, brisk + 1 x 30-min walk, easy pace
            • Wednesday: 2 x 30-min walks, brisk + strength workout
            • Thursday: 2 x 30-min walks, brisk + strength workout
            • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
            • Saturday: 2 x 60-min walks, easy pace
            • Sunday: 105-min walk, brisk


              Walk, easy pace: Think of this as one step up from a stroll. You shouldn't be out of breath, and should still be able to hold a conversation.

              Walk, brisk: 'Up the your speed so it feels more like a workout,' McGowan says. Walk with purpose and aim to raise your heart rate.

              Do I need to do other workouts alongside walking for weight loss?

              That depends – how soon do you want to hit your goals? Every little bit of movement helps. Resistance training also has the added benefits of increasing your muscle mass (meaning you'll burn more calories at rest), and helping build stronger bones and joints.

              If walking is all you're after right now, no problem. Feel free to skip those recommendations. Instead, try to keep your daily movement up during the day (take regular breaks to stretch your legs, walk while on the phone, work standing up... you know the drill).

              If you do want to tack on additional sessions, these can be anything from 20 – 45 minutes long. Not sure where to start? Allow us...

              20-min resistance band legs and glutes workout

              28-min HIIT workout

              45-min BBG Bootcamp full-body workout


              How does the 28 day Challenge work? ›

              The 28 Day Challenge is a four-week meal program designed by us to help you develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Each week, we provide you with five days of food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks) and instructions for the other two days.

              How much should I walk to lose weight in 30 days? ›

              People interested in walking for weight loss should consistently hit at least 10,000 steps each day. Some people may even want to increase their total number of steps beyond this amount. However, any steps that a person takes beyond their normal daily step count can help them lose weight.

              What is the best walking routine for losing weight? ›

              Walk five times a week and increase your time, allowing one or no rest day in between.
              • Monday: 18-minute brisk walk.
              • Wednesday: 15-minute brisk walk.
              • Friday: 18-minute brisk walk.
              • Saturday: 15-minute brisk walk.
              • Sunday: 15-minute brisk walk.
              12 Aug 2022

              How can I lose weight in a month by walking? ›

              Here are the tips you need to follow when you are walking to help you lose weight:
              1. Walk uphill. ...
              2. Drink green tea before walking. ...
              3. Consider changing your pace and take one-minute intervals. ...
              4. Walk thrice a day for 20 minutes each time. ...
              5. Walk 15,000 steps in a single day.
              24 Apr 2018

              Can you get in shape in 28 days? ›

              The fact that you can totally remake your body in as little as 28 days is enough motivation to keep your results going through the next coming months. Once you're stronger and more fit, you'll feel so good you won't want to quit.

              How do you start the 28 day challenge? ›

              Download the 28 Day Challenge app from the app store and watch the tutorial video to get started.
              Have veggies cut up ready to use for dinners or as a snack with dips.
              1. Allocate time. ...
              2. Use the shopping list provided in the app. ...
              3. Keep it simple.


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