I am currently reading Biochemistry for Sport and Exercise Metabolism, and there is an interesting chart that shows how if your exercise pace is low (e.g. walking), human body is primarily using body fat as a source of energy and glycogen storage is basically kept intact. Since I am currently in the process of building muscle mass, theoretically this seems like a reasonable way to burn excess fat without impacting my muscle gains. Would this work? Also, what would be the best way to approach this, should I go for a walk 2 hours after a meal so my blood sugar is down and then walk for 1-2 hours?

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    No, because your body will use more glycogen stores later to make up for it. The only way to burn fat is to be in a net caloric deficit. Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 11:18
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    Apart from that, who has 2 hours time to walk after each meal? Don't set yourself goals you cannot possibly achieve.
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 10:18
  • @Raditz_35, I find "who has time for x" answers to be extremely annoying: they're just ducking the question, and don't provide useful information for people who do have the time.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 19:53
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    @Mark you are missing my point. Many things work if you ignore efficiency. We have solved all issues in the world if we ignore it. It's not a minor nitpick but a major one, especially when it comes to such topics. If the OP has the time, fine, ignore my comment. If I made them consider that their plans might not be possible, well, maybe that's helping them come up with a better solution. People overthink when it comes to fitness and ignore the easier but no less effective & efficient solutions. If they are the1% that has the time, no harm done, if not, it might help
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 3:25
  • Bear this in mind - the maximum rate of fat burning is typically 0.5g/min. Even in extreme circumstances it won't be more than 1g/min. So your 1 hour walk is unlikely to burn more than 30g of fat, which is a pretty tiny amount. Hence @Raditz_35's suggestion that this isn't a particularly time-efficient solution. But if you enjoy it or can use your walk for some additional purpose, then it certainly won't do any harm.
    – John M
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 14:35

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately the answer to your question seems to be: NO. Layne Norton knows more about this topic than most and here is an article he wrote about it: BEST FORM OF CARDIO FOR BODYBUILDING? As you can see walking falls into the same category as endurance running. Interestingly cycling seems to be far better than walking or running.

It seems the only cardio that does not impact muscle mass is HIIT eg. sprinting. The sledge push or burpees can be done as a HIIT exercises and are gentle on the joints compared to sprinting.

I train strength and walk for at least 30 minutes every day. It is a trade-off. Walking may not be the best for muscle gains but is excellent for general health.

  • That is surprisingly one of the better articles I've read on that subject. Backed with science and intelligently correlated. Good find.
    – JohnP
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 14:07
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    Burpees are gentle on your joints?
    – Chris
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 18:27

Schwarzenegger even quotes that walking is absolutely fine from his book as well as many in the medical world. I'd trust health experts over bodybuilders or random fitness articles as walking is absolutely fine if you keep it moderated and don't walk more than an hour at a time...

Walking at a moderate to high pace(at least 2.5mph) after ten minutes will start to burn pure fat. Walking more than 60 minutes and your body will start to use carbs. The higher intensity the more carbs/glycogen your body uses. HIIT burns a lot of carbs, but your body recovering later will burn fat in EPOC.

According to Schwarzenegger, our bodies were made to walk long distances everyday, due to hunter/gatherer instincts or to conserve energy to fight. There is no harm in walking, and you can walk frequently.. it's so low intensity that it doesn't really affect you.

The argument is if it's efficient. Walking burns about ~100 calories an hour so to lose a pound of fat that's 35 walks you have to take. It's great to walk as a hobby or at lunchtime at work but it's not going to be your biggest motivator.

Walking-low intensity, burns pure fat(not most efficient way, but you can walk as much as you want)

Jogging-moderate intensity, burns mix of fat and carbs(best for heart health but not fat loss)

Running, jump roping,etc-high intensity, burns carbs.

HIIT-burns carbs, burns fat in EPOC.

Combine different cardio intensities and exercises from above to get best results coupled with weightlifting and a calorie deficit. You can either exercise less and eat less, or exercise more and eat more. "Burn the fat, or starve the fat" trust the medical experts that say walking won't affect muscle mass.

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