The Biggest Loser trainer Libby Babet reveals why you need to walk 12,000 steps for weight loss

The Biggest Loser trainer Libby Babet has revealed why you need to forget about walking 10,000 steps per day if you want to lose weight, and instead up your goal to 12,000 steps. 

The 38-year-old personal trainer and mum said the number is the key to changing the shape of your body in a lasting way:

‘In my dozen or so years of experience [as a trainer], the biggest point I see transformation is around that 12,000 plus mark,’ Libby told the Body & Soul podcast, Healthy-ish.

‘That is my golden standard. It takes a little bit of effort to push towards 12,000 steps, but it’s when I see the biggest difference in the easiest way.’

The Biggest Loser trainer Libby Babet (pictured) revealed why you need to forget about walking 10,000 steps per day if you want to lose weight, and instead up your goal to 12,000

The Biggest Loser trainer Libby Babet (pictured) revealed why you need to forget about walking 10,000 steps per day if you want to lose weight, and instead up your goal to 12,000

Libby (pictured) explained low-impact exercise like walking is one of the best ways to target stored fat, as it is 'so underrated in terms of body shape and body performance'

Libby (pictured) explained low-impact exercise like walking is one of the best ways to target stored fat, as it is ‘so underrated in terms of body shape and body performance’

What is Libby Babet’s ‘double dozen’?

* The ‘double dozen’ idea requires clients to walk 12,000 steps daily and then fit in a 12-minute workout.

* The idea is you don’t need to be smashing it in the gym every day for hours on end to get a toned physique, but rather can get the same results with some low-intensity exercise and then a jolt of something more high intensity. 

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Libby explained that low impact exercise like walking is one of the best ways to target stored fat:

‘It’s so underrated in terms of body shape and body performance,’ she said.

‘I live and die my by 12,000 steps and often suggest the idea of the “double dozen” to my clients whereby they do 12,000 steps daily and fit in a little 12-minute workout.’

The trainer said by doing this, you’ll ‘probably get better results’ than you would if you were paying $100 a month for gym membership and doing six or seven hours of workouts each week.

Libby isn’t alone in saying that 10,000 steps per day isn’t the gold standard for weight loss.

Earlier this year, Sydney dietitian Susie Burrell revealed five reasons why aiming for 10,000 steps per day isn’t enough.

Susie also revealed what you should be doing instead. 

'I live and die my by 12k steps and often suggest the idea of the "double dozen" to my clients whereby they do 12k steps daily and fit in a little 12-minute workout,' Libby (pictured) said

'I live and die my by 12k steps and often suggest the idea of the "double dozen" to my clients whereby they do 12k steps daily and fit in a little 12-minute workout,' Libby (pictured) said

‘I live and die my by 12k steps and often suggest the idea of the “double dozen” to my clients whereby they do 12k steps daily and fit in a little 12-minute workout,’ Libby (pictured) said

1. We sit down far too much 

How many steps do you actually need?

* 10,000 steps equates to roughly five miles or just under 10 kilometres. This is a number said to help certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

* The CDC also recommends we get 150 minutes of exercise per week, which walking contributes to.

* A 2011 study found that healthy adults can take anywhere between approximately 4,000 and 18,000 steps/day, and that 10,000 steps/day is a reasonable target for healthy adults.

* Inactive is considered to be fewer than 5,000 steps per day, average is 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day and active is more than 12,500 steps.

* While the exact number is based on factors such as your age, gender, and diet, one study found that getting at least 15,000 steps per day is correlated with lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

Source: Healthline

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While walking 10,000 steps is all well and good, what many of us forget is that the rest of the time we sit down for between eight and 12 hours each day.

‘Walking for 60-90 minutes per day, or the rough equivalent of 10,000 steps for the average person, will support weight maintenance but in order to actually burn extra body fat and lose weight, we need to compensate for all the sitting and in addition burn a significant number extra calories each day,’ Susie said.

Try standing up and walking around as much as possible to counteract all of the bad things that happen to us when we sit down for long periods of time.

2. Your heart rate is rarely elevated when you walk

According to Susie, if you want to burn calories and ultimately increase your metabolic rate when you walk, you’re going to need to walk pretty quickly.

But, she added, the average person rarely elevates their heart rate for the required 30-40 minutes when they’re walking – and so this will never lead to weight loss.

‘A stroll is good for us, but you are unlikely to see significant drops on the scales unless you are significantly overweight and have many kilos to lose,’ Susie said.

3. We eat more when we think we are being active

How many times have you gone for a ‘big walk’, only to come home to treat yourself to an extra piece of chocolate or biscuit?

Susie said we always eat more when we think we’re being active as we give ourselves permission to eat higher calorie foods, but we have rarely burned off as much as we think.

Try to keep your calorie intake under control if you have walked 10,000 steps and feel like reaching for the treats cupboard.

If you need to snack more, reach for something that is energy-dense but satiating like mixed nuts.

Earlier this year, the Sydney dietitian Susie Burrell (pictured) revealed the five reasons why aiming for 10,000 steps per day isn't enough - and what you should be doing instead

Earlier this year, the Sydney dietitian Susie Burrell (pictured) revealed the five reasons why aiming for 10,000 steps per day isn’t enough – and what you should be doing instead

4. It’s easy to eat more than we burn

In a similar vein, the dietitian explained that it is all too easy to eat more than we burn.

Susie said we typically burn between 60 and 80 calories per hour when we’re sitting down, and 100-120 calories per hour when walking.

This should mean you end up burning an extra 100-200 calories per day.

When many have achieved this, they think it’s okay to eat what they want, but the reality is that a single Tim Tam has more than 100 calories.

5. You’ll only get maintenance from 10,000 steps

Finally, Susie explained that 10,000 steps is good for weight maintenance rather than actual weight loss.

‘Moving to promote fat burning and to burn a whole lot more calories means actual exercise, with an elevate heart rate and a step count of 15,000-20,000 per day, then you will start seeing results on the scales,’ Susie said.

It’s also always good to unite walking with a slightly more dynamic form of exercise, whether that is HIIT training (high intensity interval training), running, cycling or swimming.   

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