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The Fat-Burning Walking Workout Plan

  • Jay Sullivan

    How This Workout Plan Works

    The simple workout you're not doing could be the secret to finally peeling those pounds. Walking burns about four calories a minute, and science says they add up to take weight off and keep it off. Walkers have not only less overall flab than couch sitters but less around their bellies as well. "Plus, little tweaks can make any walk melt more calories and firm more muscle fibers," says Whitney M. Cole, a trainer in Los Angeles who leads popular power-walk workouts in the Hollywood Hills. Cole created this do-anytime, do-anywhere plan exclusively for FITNESS to fast track your slim-down. Mix and match the walks here to reach the 150-minute-a-week target that will whip you into shape. Do the total-body toning exercises on slides 7-11 three times a week to look lean.

  • Jay Sullivan

    Walk 1: 15-Minute Lunchtime Quickie

    Here's why walking is the number-one way to ward off job blob: Burning some 50 extra calories a day, the equivalent of a steady 15-minute stroll, can help determine whether or not you gain weight, experts say. Bonus: Unlike steamier exercise, power walking won't give you the post-workout munchies, a study from Loughborough University in the UK finds. Multitask it in!

    Pick a lunch spot that's about an eight-minute walk away, call in your order, and head out. "Go at a pace of at least three miles an hour, and make a game out of not stopping," Cole says. (If you're moving at that speed, aim for a takeout place about a half mile away.) "When you come to a red light, turn right and keep moving, even if it tacks on another block." Grab your lunch and go. Do this most weekdays to rack up 45 minutes to an hour of exercise without even trying. For a mini butt-firming boost, Cole says, squeeze your glutes while you walk "as if you're holding a diamond necklace between your cheeks."

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    Walk 2: 40-Minute De-Stressing Stroll

    A great tactic for combating brain drain is simply to put one foot in front of the other. Even a 10-minute jaunt eases anxiety and improves mood, studies show. To zone out and prevent your mind from racing, simply repeat to yourself, "One-two," as your feet land. To recharge, Cole suggests, "walk to the beat of the energizing 43-minute playlist I use to keep a steady pace without thinking." Download the playlist below:

    "She Came Along" - Sharam, featuring Kid Cudi

    "We R Who We R" - Ke$ha

    "Crazy on You" - Heart

    "Who's That Chick?" - David Guetta, featuring Rihanna

    "An Honest Mistake" - The Bravery

    "Bang Bang" - K'naan

    "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" - Enrique Iglesias, featuring Ludacris and DJ Frank E

    "Crushcrushcrush" - Paramore

    "White Wedding" - Billy Idol

    "Girl and the Sea" - The Presets

    "Amber" - 311

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    Walk 3: 30-Minute Burner and Butt Firmer

    Psst! You don't always need to hit the gas or the hills to blast more fat. "We tend to walk on our toes most of the day," Cole says, "especially in high heels" — leaving big, calorie-incinerating muscles like our glutes out of the game. "Exaggerating your stride length forces your butt and quads to work harder." Alternate one minute of moderate walking and one minute of exaggerated strides or lunges to rev your sizzle.

    Minutes Activity
    0:00-4:00 Walk at a moderate pace to warm up.
    4:00-9:00 Power surge for one minute, taking exaggerated strides that are six to
    12 inches longer than normal. Maintain a tall posture, looking straight ahead. Alternate with one-minute recovery walks done at a moderate pace.
    9:00-13:00 Power surge for one minute with walking lunges: Lunge forward with your right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees, then rise only slightly as you bring your left leg forward into a lunge. “Stay low to really fry your thighs,” Cole says. Alternate with one-minute moderate-pace recovery walks.
    13:00-17:00 Switch between one minute of exaggerated strides and one minute at a moderate pace.
    17:00-21:00 Alternate between one minute of walking lunges and one minute at a moderate pace.
    21:00-30:00 Repeat 13:00-21:00 sequence; cool down.
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    Walk 4: 20- to 40-Minute Flab Melter

    To double your calorie burn, "replace five-minute chunks of your usual loop with these gradual walk-to-run intervals," Cole says. In 20 minutes you'll torch 147 calories instead of 70.

    Minutes Activity
    0:00-5:00 Walk at a moderate pace to warm up.

    Repeat the following cycle five times:
    Walk briskly for 20 seconds.
    Jog for 20 seconds.
    Sprint for 20 seconds.


    Walk briskly.

    12:00-17:00 Continue walk-jog-sprint cycle.
    17:00-20:00 Walk briskly.

    Repeat if you have time for a 40-minute workout.

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    Walk 5: 45-Minute Treadmill Trimmer

    Clip Cole's secret-weapon workout for the gym. "The combo of inclines and faster bursts is an ideal one-two punch for seeing results," she says. Go by the speed cues or the intensity level, where 1 is lounging and 10 is an all-out effort.

    Incline Challenge
    Suggested Speed (mph)
    Warm up 4-5 1.0-2.0


    Speed interval 7 4.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Speed interval 7 5.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Speed interval 8 6.0


    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.6-4.2
    Speed interval 8 6.0-7.0 3.0-3.5
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0


    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Race walk 9-10 8.0-10.0 3.6-4.2
    Recovery 5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
    Cool down 4-5 1.0-2.0 3.0-3.5
  • Jay Sullivan

    All-Over Toning Exercises: Plié Squat and Relevé Combo

    Cole keeps her clients looking lean and leggy with this series of Pilates-inspired post-walk sculptors. "They target the butt, hips, thighs, shoulders, and upper back while working your core," she says. Tack these moves onto the end of any walk, aiming for three times a week.

    Plié Squat and Relevé Combo

    Targets: Butt, inner thighs, and hamstrings


    • Stand with feet together, toes turned out slightly, arms by sides.
    • Step left foot out to side so that feet are wider than shoulder-width apart and toes are turned out. Lower into a plié squat, bringing arms out to sides at about chest level.


  • Jay Sullivan

    After: All-Over Toning Exercises: Pli? Squat and Relev? Combo

    • Step right leg in next to left, then rise tall on toes, squeezing legs together from heel to hip to work inner thighs; bring hands to touch in front of rib cage.
    • Lower heels to start and repeat in the opposite direction, stepping out with right foot, to complete 1 rep.
    • Do 2 sets of 10 reps.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Standing Saw

    Targets: Back, abs, obliques, inner thighs, and hamstrings

    • Stand tall with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, arms extended out to sides at shoulder level.
    • Keeping lower body still, rotate torso to right, twisting head and arms with trunk.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Standing Saw: After

    • When you are rotated as far as possible, hinge forward from hips to touch left hand to outside of right foot and reach right arm directly up.
    • Return to start. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.
    • Do 2 sets of 10 reps.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Sumo Side Crunch

    Targets: Abs, obliques, butt, and inner thighs

    • Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out 45 degrees.
    • Bring hands to touch behind head, elbows bent out to sides, and lower into a sumo squat.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Sumo Side Crunch: After

    • Maintaining squat, side bend to the right at waist to bring right elbow to right knee.
    • Repeat to left to complete 1 rep.
    • Do 2 sets of 10 reps.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Love Handle Leg Lift

    Targets: Butt and hips

    • Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms reaching forward at shoulder level, palms facing each other.
    • Lift right leg behind you as high as possible, toes pointed, leaning torso forward slightly to counterbalance.
    • Lower right leg toward floor without touching and repeat lift. Make it harder: Do 10 pulses at the top of each lift.
    • Do 10 reps. Switch legs and repeat. Do 2 sets.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Leg Circle

    Targets: Shoulders, butt, and inner and outer thighs

    • Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms out to side at shoulder level.
    • Lift right leg forward a few inches off floor, toes turned out, to get into start position.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Leg Circle: After

    • Draw 10 large clockwise circles with right leg, then 10 counterclockwise.
    • Switch legs; repeat. Do 2 sets.