The importance of a wearing step tracker is all about awareness. When you wear one and you monitor your activity, it shows you how active or inactive you are.
Most of us think we are active, until we see start using step counter and we see how far off that 10k really is. And I’ll get to how many steps you should really be taking in just a bit but first I wanna tell you a little story…
I remember when I first started wearing my fitbit charge and found that my steps on the days that I would work as a personal trainer in a gym were always way higher than then days I was off. And what’s worse, was I found my steps were crazy crazy low the days I would work as a substitute teacher. [There’s a fun fact for you. I was actually working 3 part time jobs at the time. The 3rd was painting with a twist and on those days I was pretty active as well. But back to subbing….] You would think that being in a school, standing in front of a classroom full of kids and monitoring them that you were constantly on your feet – especially because at the end of the day I felt so exhausted – but I would come home from a 7 hour day having walking only 3000 steps and sometimes even less. Before wearing a watch, I would come home and veg out on the couch thinking I deserve this after a long day but that’s probably the worst thing I could have done.
That all stopped when I started wearing my Fitbit because it would actually encourage me to try to move around more during the subbing days. And I found that by coming home and going for a walk, not only did I get my steps up, but my energy levels picked up and I felt capable of finishing out the day productively rather than just watching netflix for 6 hours.
And I know most of my clients who have never worn a step tracker have this same amount of shock when they first start monitoring their activity. It just brings this whole new level of self-awareness about how active you really are.
Now the awareness is great. But it’s what you do with that information that matters. You see most people who wear a step tracker because it’s the trending thing to do, tend to not do much with this information. They look at and say “oh cool, I did 9k today” or “oh nice, I did 16k on Saturday, so now it okay that I only hit 4k today.” All that is is collecting data. Which is a great first start to wearing a step tracker, but here’s where you can become the advanced step tracking rockstar you should be…..
It all comes down to consistency. Just like counting macros, just like working out, just like drinking water and taking your supplements and everything else in the health and fitness realm, your steps should be consistent. The reason for this is super simple. Having a consistent amount of steps ensures you have a consistent calorie burn throughout your week or months and so on.
When your steps are consistent, it’s much easier to manipulate the pieces of the weight loss or muscle building puzzle to initiate further response from the body. I think the easiest way to understand this is the same way you understand water intake. If you drink a lot of water one day you might feel water heavy and then if you don’t drink much they next day you’ll feel dehydrated. And if you keep this up and down cycle, you feel different each day. But if you were to drink a consistent amount of water for a few days, you’d feel very much the same all week right?
It’s the same with steps, if you take a lot one day, your step tracker will even show your calorie burn was higher than the day before in which you only took half the amount of steps. Whereas if your steps were consistent throughout the week you’d have a more even amount of constant calorie burn over the course of your days. Which makes your body almost like a well working machine.
When you pair that with a consistent calorie intake, you’re much more likely to be in the correct energy balance in which you could manipulate to be either a deficit, maintenance, or surplus. It’s much easier to manipulate these things when everything like steps and water at a constant and consistent level. When your calorie intake and your calorie output and your water and your supplement and so on are so sporadic and all over the place, it’s so much harder to understand what’s causing hurdles or what’s causing success. But when you have control over them, you become the one in control of your body -and that’s where I want you and all my clients to be.
So when I coach my clients, the first things I have them do is get consistent with these puzzle pieces – the macros, the water, supplements, steps, workouts. And what often happens is it takes them quite a while to fall into the groove. And that’s okay. Having everything consistent takes effort but the more you try, the better and easier it gets. And once everything becomes consistent then I can manipulate the other pieces to push them in the direction they want to go.
But when it comes to steps, I always start them at a realistic number. See if they came to me only having walked 3k steps per day, asking them to do 10k per day like the standard recommendation is going to feel so hard and impossible and when it feels impossible, they are goin to get discouraged and most likely feel like this program is too hard and probably give up before we even get anywhere. I don’t want that to happen because that looks bad for both of us. Instead, I set them up at a challenging but achievable # of steps. In this particular example this client would start at 5-6k steps per day. What this does is increases her calorie expenditure with still room to grow. Rather than if she just started at 10k and stayed there, her body would respond really quickly and then plateau forever.
We don’t want that. We want small changes overtime to keep yielding results. SOOO when she can easily hit 5-6k per day which usually takes 2-3 weeks for most people who are just getting started with this kind of routine, then we can increase her steps a little more. I usually jump up about 1k steps which is like an addition 10 min of walking per day which again is a little bit more challenging but totally achievable. Then I keep progressing clients this way, a little bit more every few weeks. But they have to be consistently reaching their goal before I advance them.
So for you, if you want to know how many steps YOU should be taking I encourage you to try this approach instead of reaching for that unrealistic 10k right off the bat. Now if you’re a superstar and you’re already averaging 12k per day. GO YOU! but let’s just double check. Are you consistently reach 12k everyday? or is it some 9s, some 15s and kinda scattered in between? If so, I want you to try getting as close to you can to 12 every day.
IF you are really close to 12k every day GO YOU FOR REALS! Now try increasing by 1k.
The goal isn’t to keep increasing until you’re at 26k per day. that’s super insane. Honestly, once my clients get to 16k or so, I try to ween them back down while keeping their calories where they are at. The goal is to be at a challenging amount of steps for you! And that varies depending on what stage of life you are in. Maybe you are like me who used to work a very physically demanding job where you were at 16k per day but now working from home at a desk most of the day, 11k is perfectly challenging enough for now. It really all depends on you.
I will say that my most successful petite clients move around a lot each day. Not only do they complete their 30-60 min workouts throughout the week, but they are moving all day long. I’m not talking about a 10-mile hike everyday. But just getting up from your work desk periodically to get water or coffee, standing up when you’re on the phone (instead of sitting on the couch), and parking furthest from the store entrance. You’ll find that all of these things increase your step count. And every step counts towards the overall lean petite product.
So if you’re truly trying to alter your body composition, you definitely don’t want to be that person who’s like “oh I average 12k per day but some days you’re hitting 4k and others 18k.” It’s so inconsistent! And again, when you’re trying to lose or gain weight, that inconsistency makes it much harder to manipulate anything to get your body to change.
But what if you go over? Okay there’s nothing wrong with having some extra steps some days but if you find yourself constantly going way over then maybe it’s time to increase your goal. If it’s just a few random days, give yourself the reward of chilling out on those days. For example, every Sunday my boyfriend and I go on a hike. We usually get anywhere from 8-10k steps before 9am. So on these days, I actually take the rest of the day really easy because I know I’ll easily hit my 11k just by moving around the house like I normally do. I owe myself that rest for how much I do throughout the week and I don’t feel guilty for it because I already met my step goal. But I will also say, it’s not ideal to do everyday like this. And that’s because you want a consistent calorie burn throughout most of your days – especially as a petite – and besides, it helps keep your energy levels up when you’re moving throughout the day. I know you know what I’m talking about because I always feel way more exhausted on the days that I still around inside. [That’s why I could never live in a cold snowy climate. This girl NEEDS TO MOVE! It’s honestly when I feel most creative and I have a clear mind. I take a walk once or twice a day because it helps me think or I listen to a podcast because it helps me learn and be more creative.]
As far as step trackers go, I’m obsessed with my fitbit Versa. It looks very much like an apple watch and has some apps without being a full on phone on my wrist. Some of my clients love their apple watches but I’m just not there yet. Maybe one day. In my opinion, these are both the most accurate options. Plus they sync with my funsized program app so it just makes it easier for the both of us to use one of those brands. Speaking of my program, I do have an app to deliver my clients unique macros and training program and everything else that comes along in my coaching. You can check it all out on my website at HERE and be sure to fill out the application there so we can hop on a phone call to see if we’re a great fit to work together.
P.S. if you have a Fitbit or Apple watch, I suggest you turn the movement reminders on! Every hour your watch will buzz and remind you how many steps you need to take that hour. I love this feature because it’s an accountability partner on your wrist! Just imagine me in your ear next time it buzzes saying “go get your funsized steps!”