10,000 Steps a Day

Me after a grueling, hot run yesterday.

Let’s just cut to the chase: you can’t out-exercise a poor diet.

There. I said it. Now I’ll explain.

I ran in the heat yesterday. It was 94 degrees and sunny, and it was a tough run. My average heart rate was above my target heart rate for my age: it was at 160 BPM. That’s putting a lot of strain on my heart, but I’ve been exercising for three years, so I’m in better shape than most my age. With that said, it was still a wake-up for me that I need to keep my target heart rate in mind when I run because ignoring it could be disaster. Anyway, at the end of that run, I looked at the data tracked by the Garmin and Strava apps, and I found that for that hellish half-hour, I only burned 436 calories.

436 calories.

Here are some foods in the 400 calorie range:

  • Veggie and Hummus Sandwich
  • Chicken Avocado BLT Wrap
  • Crunchy Mexican Salad with Spicy Cilantro Vinaigrette
  • Salmon Salad-Stuffed Avocado
  • Greek Salad Wraps

Most of those aren’t Paleo, but you get the idea.

In comparison, here are some common fast foods:

  • Slice of Pizza: 320 Calories
  • Whopper: 770 Calories
  • Five Guys Burger w/cheese: 610 Calories
  • Quarter Pounder: 510 Calories
  • Burger King Medium Fries: 440 Calories
  • Baja Fresh Chicken Burrito Ultimo: 880 Calories

There is NO WAY I could ever out-run a meal of fast food and live to tell the tale!

That brings me to walking 10,000 steps a day. How many calories does that burn? As compared to being in a chair, it’s good, but mostly it’s good to keep your blood circulating properly. To get any real gain from exercise, you need to get your heart rate close to your target heart rate. That means some sort of cardio. Walking just won’t cut it.

I know people who have been walking their 10k steps for years and they’ve lost no weight because they haven’t changed their diets. You lose weight in the kitchen and get fit in the gym/on the road/in the pool/etc.

Get those 10k steps in each day if you want. It’s good for you; much better than sitting all day. But don’t think you will lose weight from walking those 3 miles over the course of the day. It’s not realistic.

3 thoughts on “10,000 Steps a Day

  1. Hey there! So I have a question, I’ve been trying to figure out what goal to start with step wise. Do I choose 5,000 or is 10,000 a better starting point? My Apple Watch I think tracks movement calories not steps? Idk I’ll have to look into that more. Regardless, it’s such a good point you’re making. That we can’t our exercise frivolous food diets. It’s the mindful food diet paired with some hard working body movement that’ll make a dent in weight loss. I’ve finally gotten my food diet down and now am looking forward to jumping on the step counting and workout train!


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