Calories Burned Walking Vs. Running | Q&A Weekly Roundup

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To walk or to run? If you want to know the science behind how you’re burning the majority of your calories, this week’s Q & A should help you out! We also have some great answers regarding strength & reps, more about how to get that lean physique through BuiltLean workouts, and as always, how to make sure you’re staying right on the fitness track you want!

Here’s the short list of questions based on topic:

  • Calories Burned Walking Vs. Running
  • Max Strength & Rest Between Sets
  • BuiltLean Program & Looking Toned
  • Recommended Calorie Intake Below Maintenance?
  • Total Body Bodyweight Workout to Get Lean
  • Question #1 | Calories Burned Walking Vs. Running

    Question: Hi Marc,

    Can you clear something up for me? As I understand it, if I walk 5 miles at 3 mph, I burn x calories and if I run 5 miles at 5 mph, I burn y calories. The calorie expenditure of x and y are absolutely equal. The only difference is time, it takes longer to walk 5 miles than to run it. Now I know this sounds like a math word problem we all had in grade school, but I assure you it is not. Can you explain this? To my scientific and mathematical brain, this seems ‘illogical’. Can this be true? Please let me know your thoughts, at your leisure!

    Best Regards,

    Patrick McGlynn (The first member of the Marc Perry Fan Club)!

    Answer: Hi Patrick,

    In short, the answer is “No”, it’s not true. I remember hearing this growing up and being very surprised.

    First, calculating calorie burn is notoriously difficult. In fact, we can only estimate calorie burn, not measure it. This especially applies to calculating the afterburn effect of interval training exercise.

    A recent research study looked at calorie burn of walking vs. running and found that the average calorie burn for the men and women in the study was 88.9 calories/mile walking and 112.5 calories/mile running. This study and others like it debunk the myth that you burn the same amount of calories walking vs. running one mile. I think it’s safe to say that generally, higher intensity exercises will burn more, if not substantially more than lower exercise intensities for similar distances/durations.


    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #2 | Max Strength & Rest Between Sets

    Question: How many sets should you be able to do at certain reps and percentages? Example: Should you be able to squat 4×5 at 85% or are you only supposed to be able to do one set of five at 85%? – Tyler

    Answer: @Tyler – That’s a great question. I hope I can clear up the confusion.

    Using a one rep max chart, 85% is equivalent to 6 reps. Let’s say you can bench 225lb for 6 reps (your max is roughly 270lb). It is not expected that you can do 225lb of 6 reps, rest 1 minute, then do another set for 6 reps. You’ll probably get somewhere around 2-3 reps on your second set. Typically, it takes 5 minutes of rest in between sets to recover to max, or near max strength. That’s why powerlifters take such long breaks in between their lifts. The topic of rest between sets is easily worthy of a separate post, so I’ll make sure to write one. You can play around with your rest periods to see how it affects your strength on subsequent sets.

    I’m assuming you don’t want to be a powerlifter, but do want to get strong and fit. With this in mind, you have a couple primary options if you are concerned about lifting hard and heavy. First, keeping with the above example, you choose 210lb and complete 5 sets of 5 reps with maybe 2-3 minutes rest between sets. See if you get all 5 reps on all 5 sets. If you do, you can increase the weight. This is classic 5×5 training. Second, you can use a pyramid structure where you start out with let’s say 205lb, get 10 reps, then increase the weight and decrease the reps. By the time you get to 225lb, you may only get 3-4 reps. How much weight you can lift depends on a number of factors, with rest between sets being a very significant factor. Hope this is helpful!

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #3 | BuiltLean Program & Looking Toned

    Question: I want to get a lean and toned body. I don’t want to get bulky. Can the BuiltLean Program work for me? – Steve

    Answer: Yes, I think it can. If you strip your body of fat while retaining your muscle mass, it’s extremely unlikely you will appear “bulky”. The BuiltLean Program is designed to help you achieve your natural potential, the best body for you. BuiltLean is not a muscle gaining program and will not make you look like a Bodybuilder, but instead help you develop a lean, toned physique by helping you lose fat without losing muscle.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #4 | Recommended Calorie Intake Below Maintenance?

    Question: Is it okay to drop 500 to 800 points below your daily calorie target intake? – Johnathan

    Answer: By points I’ll assume you mean calories, and in that case, it’s recommended to drop around 30% of your daily recommended caloric intake to make sure there is not that much of an abrupt change in what your body has been used to. Your body always wants to be in a state of homeostasis therefore if you alter the caloric intake too much, it can cause functional problems from the lack of calories. If altered slightly, you’ll still be getting the required amount of calories to facilitate your basal metabolic rate while being in a deficit to promote weight loss. So depending on your daily calorie target intake will determine how many calories to drop below.

    For more information on calorie intake, check out this article => How Many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Weight?

    – Kwesi (Kwesi Peters, CPT Community Manager)

    Question #5 | Total Body Bodyweight Workout to Get Lean

    Question: I need a total bodyweight workout to get lean….is it possible? – Sid

    Answer: If you’re interested you can check out the BuiltLean Program on if you do have access to dumbbells, or check out our YouTube channel where we have a few workout videos as well.

    You can try out a metabolic conditioning circuit. Here’s the link to the videos explaining what it is and also an example of a type of circuit. There are a few difference levels, but mainly your body weight is used.

    Metabolic Training 101 –

    Metabolic Conditioning Circuit –

    Remember, working out is only part of the process. Don’t forget about nutrition!

    – Kwesi (Kwesi Peters, CPT Community Manager)

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    2 Comments on “Calories Burned Walking Vs. Running | Q&A Weekly Roundup

    1. MIGUEL
      September 8, 2012 #

      Hi Marc,
      I am having great results with the information from your website, but I have a question. Do I need to cut salt from the food to look more ripped? Is it necessary?

      1. September 12, 2012 #

        @Miguel – Really happy to hear you are doing well. Yes, cutting salt and drinking more water will make you look more ripped, but it’s only temporary because that does not affect your body fat, only the water in your skin, which will inevitable fluctuate. If you are working out consistently, drinking enough fluids, and eating mostly natural foods, my guess is you will likely not retain much water at all.

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