I (Male in his 20s, 5'11'') currently weight about 240 Lbs, coming from 320 Lbs at my heaviest. This has largely been achieved through reduction of calories (around 1500-2000 a day, on average) combined with walking (around 4.5 miles a day at around 3 MpH). I've been doing this for just over a year, with a couple of months gap around Christmas due to life circumstances.

For me, this seems to work out just fine, as can be seen by the 80 Lbs weight loss. However, lots of advice I see on here suggests that walking is not enough.

My current concern, still being about 60 Lbs overweight for my height, is weight loss, not muscle building. Am I doing more harm by only walking and losing weight than I would be incorporating weight lifting into my exercise regime?

I see the virtues of running extolled in various places, but I seriously doubt I could run for more than say 5 minutes continuously, while I can walk for hours, which largely seems to be linked to the stress the extra weight puts on my body.

2 Answers 2


If walking is working for you, I say keep doing it. The chief advantage of cardio in general is that you can do it for prolonged periods of time without wearing yourself out or getting injured. As long as you push yourself just a little bit (which can be anything from varying the terrain to jogging a bit to just walking a bit faster), you'll keep improving your health.

The real problem is exercise that bores you, or that makes you actively feel unwell (as the old joke goes, the healthiest way to run a marathon is to train for it and then skip the race).


The harm isn’t in walking, the “harm” (if you even want to call it that) is the caloric deficit. You’ve lost 80 lbs, congratulations! However, what you have lost is more than mere fat and this is where the problem of the caloric deficit surfaces. Yes, lowering your body fat is a good thing, but you want to lose as little muscle as you can while doing it.

If you started strength training, you would start building muscles that will help to create a stronger and more appealing “shape” for your body. The additional muscle mass requires fuel of course, and because of that (among other reasons) it actually speeds up your metabolism. Know that you will likely see your weight loss slow down if you start strength training, but your goal should be reducing body fat and not overall weight (even if you have a lot of extra weight, the problem is “fat” not “weight”). You should also start eating more if you decide to start strength training, consuming 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of weight along with following a TDEE Calculator will help. You should understand that caloric deficits aren’t linear things, (for example) just because you lose 1 pound a week doing a 500 calorie deficit doesn’t mean you’ll lose 2 pounds a week doing a 1000 calorie deficit.

The bottom line is that you (and basically everyone) can benefit from strength training. The only harm you might be doing to yourself is in having too much of a caloric deficit. As a general rule of thumb, I would suggest doing 1-2x your body weight in pounds off of your TDEE to determine a good number of calories to work with. So in your case, just subtract 240-480 calories off of what the calculator tells you (linked below).


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