Walking vs Running: Which is better for weight loss?

This is an argument that I see happen both in person and of course on the internet where everyone is an expert. I do not claim to be an expert but I am going to detail some common sense shit coming up here in a minute.

Which is better for weight loss: Running or walking?


Now first off I am going to hit you with something that if you don't already know it, you probably can't read the words on this page: Of course running is going to provide more weight loss if it is done for the same amount of time as walking. You don't need a PhD in kinesiology to figure that one out. So whenever someone says to you that walking burns just as many calories you can respond with "sitting on the sofa burns just as many calories or even more than both running and walking! You can make this absurd claim and be correct because most people who try to have this discussion are merely attempting to justify or defend what their preferred method of cardio happens to be rather than understanding the most important part of any cardio exercise: Time.

A 5-minute run is not better than a half hour walk

I was talking to a guy yesterday that was inspired by my weight loss and keeping it off and he is actually a bit fatter than I was when I started this journey. He is, I am guessing, about 240 lbs whereas at my worst I was around 230. I was able to drop to 185 over the course of about 18 months and I have kept it off by a exercise and diet routine that for the most part I stick to.

I was flattered that I inspired him and today actually, he told me that he is starting to run 1 minute in the first week (this week) and next week he will increase this to 2 minutes followed by week 3 involving a 3-minute run and so on. It will be very interesting to me to see if by the time that he hits week 20 if he is actually capable of running for 20 minutes. I don't mean to be a pessimist, but I seriously doubt it because I feel as though his baby steps are too big.

Early on in our discussion I mentioned to him that it may actually be better for him to walk a km and each week up that distance 100 meters. He fired back at me that walking doesn't burn nearly as many calories as running and he is correct: but his fat ass is looking at the equation incorrectly.


When you run for one minute you burn a grad total of 13 calories - woo hoo! Given this man's size, this is already a bit of a struggle, not to mention the fact that he is really opening himself up to injury that walking would not have really any chance of achieving. If he were to take my advice and instead go for a 30 minute walk, he would burn 150 calories. Of course this value changes from person to person but I am sure you can see the math here.

The fact of the matter is that weight-loss in terms of exercise rests basically on one thing: How long will you have an elevated heart rate? For someone like him, walking at a "fast" (this is subjective) pace will keep his heart rate elevated yet he isn't going to hate the exercise.

I can see already, in the way that he struggles with a 1 minute run that the idea that he is going to be able to do 20 minutes, even 20 weeks from now, is a pretty far-fetched idea. I sincerely hope that he proves me wrong but honestly, I doubt we are going to see him progress past week 5. 1 minute of cardio simply isn't enough to prepare you for DOUBLING that amount in the following week.

At the end of the day I think that cardio and weight loss can be summed up in the following sentence.

The best cardio for you is the one you are going to stick with

If you choose an exercise that you consider to be a back-breaking chore, guess what? You are not going to do it with regularity. When I first started getting my fat ass on the bricks to do some cardio I focused on OVERALL time rather than intensity and just kept moving for 30 minutes. Gradually, I started to realize that I could run some of it and later i could run all of it. Some days were better than others of course yet at the end of the day I was doing 30 then 40 and later and hour of cardio every day and the reason why I didn't quit was because I knew that if I was having a lazy day, I would just walk the entire thing and listen to a podcast. It is still better than the nothing that I would have normally done and this is the reason why I don't think that running is a good idea for people that are just starting. They are attempting to go from zero to hero and they are going to burn themselves out and then quit.

I am going to let my friend do his own thing and just hope for the best in honestly, I hope that he proves me wrong but I honestly do not believe, based on what I know about him, that he is actually going to stick with this beyond say... the 5 minute mark. His 1 minute increase in cardio per week is definitely better than the nothing that he was doing before but in the end I feel as though it is a bad program with steps that are far too large for any beginner to actually stick with.

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From athlete, to fatty, and back

Do you have any weight loss stories to share? One that personally affected your life? If so I would love to talk about them!


I hope that guy can achieve some weight loss as that is what actually matters rather than how long he can run for. Obviously the running will get easier when he does lose some. I was never really overweight, but I was getting a gut and that is part of what got me to start running. Now I'm down to something reasonable and just try to stay there. Eating a lot over Xmas, but then I am running each day for now. It's taken me a long time to get to where I can do that.

Here's to great things in 2021.

well he experienced success by doing 1 pushup on week one followed by 2 etc, he is on week 10 now and he says it is tough but he is doing it. Something is better than nothing, that is for sure. It does seem to me that he is really going to struggle with the running say 10 weeks in though. I feel as though he would be better off by walking a certain distance and maybe just jogging 1 minute of it on week one and then perhaps upping it by a minute in week 2 and so on. I think that it will probably fail in its current form but I am proud of the dude for trying nonetheless.

I feel you as far as the running during the holidays. While my distances have been dramatically reduced I'm not letting my ideals towards fitness get in the way of having fun and spending time with family. I don't wanna be that guy that tells Aunt Janet that I can't have her homemade pumpkin pie (which is awesome) because I'm dieting. :)

Lol. A 1 minute run and up it by 1 minute a week. He is kidding himself and just do a 5km walk every evening as how hard can that be? I have no choice and have to get active again as some of my Christmas presents don't fit me and I like them. Not sure if it was done on purpose as I have to lose a whole pant size on my waist line which will be tough.

ah... not fitting into clothes is a very strong motivator indeed. It is probably a bit humbling as well. Best of luck and I'm sure you can pull it off!