20,000 Steps a Day: My Exhausting 30-Day Step Challenge

Last Updated on July 22, 2021

Screenshot of the Sweatcoin app saying "20,000 total steps"

20,000 Steps a Day: My 30-Day Challenge

 

Disclaimer: My step challenge ended up lasting 31 days, the full month of July.

Since I started The Packable Life, I have spent crazy amounts of time sitting and staring at a computer screen. Yes, I enjoy working on my website, but damn, I need to get off my ass more often. I just started a travel blog after all.

I’ve become a bit… round. My belly is expanding, and my energy levels are sinking. I’m like a loyal husband that’s putting on sympathy weight for his child-bearing wife (but nobody is pregnant).

So, I’ve decided to test out 20,000 steps a day as my weight loss and mental health refreshing strategy. Will it work? I hope so.

For my challenge, I’ll lace up my brand new Tesla running shoes (yes, Tesla makes running shoes for some reason) and I’ll count my steps with the Mi Band and that my generous girlfriend gave to me. Her motives are unknown, but I suspect she wants to keep tabs on my step stats from China.

FAQs

A hiker walking down a trail during a fitness challenge

Was this a good idea? What have I gotten myself into?

Before I start the challenge, let’s dive a little more into the numbers side of this thing. Let’s answer a few quick questions before I start walking.

How many steps a day does the average adult take?

According to VeryWellFit, studies in the US conducted in 2010 and 2016 concluded that the average American adult takes between 5,000 and 7,000 steps a day, or between 2.5 and 3.5 miles (4 and 5.5 km).

What is the recommended number of steps per day for the average adult?

While there is no universally recommended magic number of steps, 10,000 steps a day is widely viewed as the standard amount to aim for when trying to maintain an active lifestyle and reduce health risks, although studies have raised questions about that magic number.

How far is 20,000 steps in miles/km?

For a person with an average walking stride length between 2.2 feet and 2.5 feet, it adds up to roughly 10 miles (16 km).

Running and jogging produce longer stride lengths, which vary significantly between people. Male Olympic distance runners log about 23 miles (37 km) per 20k steps!

How many calories are burned while walking 20,000 steps a day?

On average, a 180-pound adult burns 100 calories per mile walked, meaning that walking 10 miles (16 km) a day will burn around 1,000 calories.

What kind of weight loss can one expect from taking 20,000 steps per day?

Everyone is different, so that’s a tough question to answer. I lost five pounds during my 30-day step challenge, and there’s a Canadian guy who dropped 130 pounds (59 kg) while taking 20k steps for a year. Weight loss is all about calories, so use a calorie calculator to monitor your intake during your step challenge if your goal is to shed pounds.

Here’s what I gather from all that info:

This is going to be quite the daily challenge to take on for a month straight without a break. If I end up reaching my goals, I’ll spend around three hours walking every day, and I’ll take nearly four times the steps as an average American.

I guess I’m going to attack this non-father-dad-bod I’m developing.

So, follow along with me. It’ll be fun. I’m bound to push this challenge down to the very last hour of the very last day. That’s just how it’s going to end up. I know myself.

Gear & Sportswear I Used

Before I dive into my exhausting and emotional step challenge, here’s a look at some of the gear and sportswear I used along the way. Thanks to this quality setup, my journey was as comfortable, rewarding, and pain-free as possible.

My Step Challenge Journal

The fine print: My objective is to average 20,000 steps per day for the entire month of July. Sometimes I won’t hit my daily goal, but that’s okay. I’ll just have to walk a little more the next day.

Starting weight: 177.2 pounds | 80.4 kg Starting Body Mass Index: 24.7 (on the verge of ‘overweight’)

No More Procrastinating

July 2nd, 12:20 a.m.

Blue Tesla running shoes on a wood deck

My ridiculously affordable (and comfortable) Tesla running shoes

 

So, I had been planning all week to push this challenge back to August. My reasoning: this blog isn’t public yet, and this challenge will likely get lost behind others once I finally launch this website of mine.

That would be a cop-out, plain and simple. Why should I care if nobody’s watching? If I make excuses for myself not to follow through on my goals, I’m setting a dangerous precedent.

So, I decided to go for it. What do I have to lose?

That said, I got off to a bit of a slow start. 10:45 p.m. rolled around, and I had still only reached 11,000 steps. Damnit, I couldn’t dig myself into a hole on my very first day. I put on my fancy new running shoes and started moving.

My first big race against time was a mixture of jogging, wheezing, pitch-black sidewalks, staggering with my hands on my hips, coughing up god knows what, and generally feeling really out of shape.

11:50 struck, and I was still short of my goal. I sprinted as fast as I could but fell short by 53 steps – or 19 more seconds of running. I am sore and achy but full of hope. This challenge is never going to be a walk in the park.

Digging Myself Into an Early Hole

July 5th, 1:46 a.m.

Fine, I’ll admit it: I didn’t give it my best effort yesterday.

I finished 10,000 steps short of my goal. Oops. It might have something to do with me staying out crazy late and drinking beer with an old friend the night before. Who knows? There’s no way to measure these things.

I was starting to panic when 11:00 p.m. came about, and I had taken less than 5,000 steps. So, I did what any other exhausted, dehydrated, and hungover person would do: I got off the couch and ran across town on the 4th of July. Fireworks crackled overhead as my dog panicked and I moved slightly slower than usual.

Did I mention that taking 20,000 steps a day is not easy?

I’ve dug myself a bit of a hole early on, but I’m excited to see how I dig myself out. There will be more days that I fall well short of goals, but there will also be 30,000 step days. They’re coming, I promise.

Getting Steps in at 14,000 Feet

July 8th, 1:03 p.m.

I took some quality steps yesterday, and almost all of them happened before 9:00 a.m. On the night of the 6th, I drove up to Kite Lake Trailhead (outside of Alma, Colorado) parked my camper van, and slept.

I awoke at 3:30 in the morning, ate a cold piece of pizza, fed my dog, and gathered my gear. I groggily poured myself out of my van and was met with a quiet moonlight. My friends, Matt and Antonio, were waiting for me by the trailhead. We yawned and stretched together and began our hike.

Silhouettes of hikers against a pale sunset atop Mount Lincoln

Summiting Mount Lincoln at sunrise

 

Now, these were hard-earned steps that we were taking. We huffed and puffed to the top of three different mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation: Mt. Bross, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Cameron. My friends completed a fourth, Mt. Democrat, but I ducked out because Bubba’s paws were starting to get tender.

The first week is in the books!

I’m slightly behind pace but have more big hikes planned later this month. My step challenge has already shown positive results. I feel lighter on my feet and full of energy at all times. Bubba and I are exploring the world together and enjoying every moment.

Enduring the Brutal Heat of Summer

July 9th, 2:53 p.m.

A 7-day weather forecast for Colorado displaying highs of over 100 degrees

The relentless Colorado sun doesn’t care if I have step goals

 

I picked the wrong week to start sleeping in.

After slacking off yesterday and putting off today’s steps until 2:00 p.m., I was forced to take a run in Colorado’s triple-digit Summer heat. I still have 13,969 steps to reach my daily goal. Today has been a bit of a learning experience.

Did I mention my house has no air conditioning?

TIP: Start Your Steps Early!

If you’re trying to hit a personal step goal, try to complete at least half of your steps before noon, especially in the summer. Procrastinating will force you to exert yourself during the hottest part of the day or rush yourself late into the night. I’ve made a bad habit of doing both.

Now, excuse me while I stand near my wide-open refrigerator.

Half Inspiration, Half Desperation

July 10th, 12:30 a.m.

I just finished power-walking, jogging, and sprinting around town for 15,000 steps in the final two hours of the day. That’s how my night went.

I feel great, though.

My new motto: ‘Half Inspiration, Half Desperation’

Trimming Up: My Midway Update

July 16th, 12:00 p.m.

Ah, the halfway point. It’s been an absolute grind. The steps don’t care if you’re tired, burnt out, hungover, have shit to do, or 100 degrees (38° Celsius) outside.

The steps are always waiting, screaming to be taken.

The last few days, my legs have felt heavy and taxed, especially when I’m running. My body has hit a wall. In spite of this, I have made some very noticeable progress.

Here are some of the physical differences that I have seen:

Midway weight: 172.6 pounds | 78.3 kg Midway BMI: 24.1

I’m slimming up, and it feels good. I’ve shed almost five pounds so far. My legs, although often fatigued, feel stronger and more stable. My energy levels are up, and my stamina is climbing. The blisters on my feet have turned to callouses, and I feel like I’m getting back towards ‘trail shape’ again.

Mentally, I feel sharper and more focused. I can organize my normally jumbled and erratic thoughts when I’m walking or running. Many future ideas for this website have come to me while I was racking up my steps.

A dog looks curiously at a frog being held up to his face

Keri introduces Bubba to a frog while we get our steps in late at night

 

Bubba is thoroughly satisfied and exhausted regularly, something I never thought possible from a yellow lab. Instead of anxiously following me around the house waiting to be exercised, he is continually recharging for our next set of steps.

It’s safe to say that this challenge was a great idea. Here’s to the second half, where I must now average 21,437 steps a day.

A Furious Finish Ahead

July 25th, 1:20 p.m.

So, I have some good news, and I have some bad news.

Let’s start with the good news: my girlfriend recently got back in town from China. She’s visiting for three weeks, and we’ve been having a great time! We even went to Las Vegas and ate at our favorite restaurant in the world.

Now, for the bad: Since, Las Vegas, I’ve put my steps on the back-burner. They haven’t been a priority, and my averages have dipped severely. I’ve dropped down to an average of 17,894, which doesn’t sound bad (but really is bad this late in the game).

During my last week, I will have to average 26,912 steps a day, which I have only surpassed once this month. I anticipate lots of late-night sprinting and early morning jogs. My sleep will suffer, but I will reach my goal. Maybe.

This Step Challenge is Brutal

July 29th, 12:08 p.m.

My calves are shot, and my legs are jelly. Pain is shooting up my IT band. My dog thinks I’m crazy. We’re exhausted.

I reached 30,000 steps for the first time this month (just as I promised I would). A few days ago I’d felt utterly pessimistic. I thought I had dug myself into a hole too deep, but yesterday’s total gives me new hope.

An exhausted yellow lab on a pillow

Today Bubba got excited and took twice the steps I did. Now he is tired.

 

I feel like a different person than when I started this challenge, but I guess that’s the point. In years past, I’ve gone months without ever running. Now, my days feel incomplete without it. The late nights exercising alone in the darkness are soothing and therapeutic, and I’m beginning to see how people get addicted.

Three days left — time to finish strong.

Never. Stop. Walking.

July 30th, 2:43 p.m.

This morning I paced back and forth around the light rail station as I awaited my train. I followed that up with more aggressive marching around Union Station as I stacked up steps waiting for my bus. I looked like a madman with a million things racing through his head, furiously storming around and trying to make sense of it all.

And who’s to say that I’m not?

I have 32 miles (51.5 kilometers) left these final two days to reach my goal. Sometimes I’m just going to have to act like a lunatic along the way.

A man facing the camera standing on top of Mount Lincoln in Colorado

Mission Accomplished

 

IT’S OVER.

August 1st, 12:23 a.m.

That’s it. Thank God it’s over.

My exhausting step challenge is done.

This last week my existence was consumed with reaching my goal. If I wasn’t working, I was walking. If I wasn’t walking, I was running — steps, steps, steps — all day long.

The grind is over, what a relief. My legs are spent, and I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed. Bring on a new challenge.

Daily Step Log

July 1st: 19,947
July 2nd: 21,158
July 3rd: 17,357
July 4th: 9,915
July 5th: 29,263
July, 6th: 12,885
July 7th: 23,348
July 8th: 5,311

July 9th: 25,850
July 10th: 20,662
July 11th: 20,750
July 12th: 15,751
July 13th: 16,769
July 14th: 20,665
July 15th: 18,952
July 16th: 23,225

July 17th: 21,232
July 18th: 11,574
July 19th: 20,596
July 20th: 10,054
July 21st: 8,639
July 22nd: 23,506
July 23rd: 14,037
July 24th: 20,168

July 25th: 27,148
July 26th: 23,103
July 27th: 19,580
July 28th: 35,793
July 29th: 18,675
July 30th: 37,093
July 31st: 27,627
Average: 20,021

Noel: Before and After

Without question, I took more steps this month than I ever have in my life. This challenge forced me to break out of my sedentary routine and get out in the world. I now feel lighter on my feet and healthier. My mind slows down, and my creativity blossoms while I’m on my feet. I lost five pounds, trimmed up noticeably, and created better habits for myself.

My future goal will be 12,000 steps a day. 20,000 steps a day is a bit much for now. I want to be active, but I don’t want my life to revolve around steps. Balance: that’s what I’m looking for.

Noel Before the Challenge

Noel After the Challenge

A roundish figure, sluggish, constantly staring at the computerActive, energetic, and physically fit
Ran sparingly and inconsistently for short burstsA daily runner with the best stamina in his life
Bored, unfulfilled, and under-exercised dog (Bubba)Bubba constantly experiencing the best day of his life
Had a hard time focusing, jumbled and disorganized thoughtsClear mind, natural and flowing creativity, focused
Unsure about achieving the goal, lingering self-doubtConfident, motivated, and goal-oriented

Noel’s Step Stats

Total Steps Taken/Average Per Day620,637/20,021
Kilometers/Miles Traveled480.89/298.81
Most/Least Steps Taken in a Day37,093 (July 29th)/5,311 (July 8th)
Time Challenge was Completed11:17 p.m. on July 31st
Weight Loss5 pounds | 2.3 kg
Calories Burned19,880
Total Mi Band Battery RechargesTwo

Try Your Own Step Challenge

A man hiking towards a mountain range during a 10,000 step challenge

When will you begin your own step challenge?

 

I recommend the 20,000 steps a day challenge to anyone who wants to become more active. Steps are effortlessly countable, easy to achieve, and take you places you may never have gone otherwise.

You will notice changes both mentally and physically and will find yourself out in the world, thinking clearly and moving freely.

Some days the challenge will feel more like a chore. You may doubt yourself and struggle at times, but you will come out on the other end, a stronger and more determined person.

Even if you look like a maniac as you pace around the occasional bus station.

50 Comments

  1. It’s neat to see all of this data in one place! When I was 18, I got a job working nights at a Home Depot, and it involved A LOT of walking, climbing up the ladder (it’s a staircase on wheels that someone decide to call a ladder one day) with up to 80 pounds of freight. I was walking, and sometimes sprinting, 25,000 a shift, but only about 2,000 total on weekends. My diet was highly irregular, as well as potentially dangerous for my health. I would consume at most, 5,000 calories from monday night through Saturday morning, and up to 8,000 during the weekend. Go ahead, judge me. I was a disgusting cow on weekends. In addition to the low calory diet and vigorous exercise that was 20%-30% cardio, my caffeine intake [in the form of the white, sugar free Monster, which later developed into a pre workout addiction (3 servings of a caffeine potent preworkout per night)] was intense to say the least.

    Now that that’s out of the way, I have always been in the 175-195 pound range, standing 5’9″. Within 6 months, I had hit 140 pounds, but with all of the water I was taking in, there’s no telling how much water I was holding. I would typically be up 5 pounds on a Monday morning (let’s just say 160 pounds), and by Saturday morning, I’d be down below 150. Wow this probably seems like meaningless, jumbled nonsense, but I guess I just… nevermind. It’s time for me to go to sleep.

    1. Marshall, sounds like the crazy amount of steps you were taking really shed some pounds for you, even if your lifestyle was a bit erratic, bingy, and unhealthy at the time. No judgment here, as I’ve been known to live life on both ends of the spectrum also. Thanks for the honest feedback. I enjoyed reading your story.

      1. April 1, 2020 began by walking/intermittent jogging. Each day until April 18th built up to 15,000 steps per day. This included steadily increasing weight training in my home gym daily. 4x per day. 15 minutes per session.
        April 19 through May 12, 21,000 steps per day. Increased weight training by total weights lifted, rowed, crunched 16,000 lbs total per day. Now increased to 20,000 lbs per day.
        Each day I have added an additional 100 steps per day. Just completed my first 23,200 step day (May 12, 2020). My objective is to add 100 additional steps per day for the next 23 days. June2, and thereafter I will be Committed to putting in 25,000 steps per day.
        In addition to adding additional weights to resistance training, I intend to migrate from walking/running combination to running the Entire 2500 steps. That’s approximately 62,500 feet or 11.837 miles per day. After doing this for less than two months, I went from 188 pounds to 183.4. My muscles and stamina have also noticeably increased. Bares mentioning, I eat few foods containing saturated fats (other than that contained in nuts. Eat a daily portion of fish, lean beef , turkey and pork.
        Complex Carbohydrates are about 30% of my daily good intake. Lots of fruit and vegetables. I treat myself to a candy bar every other day. No alcohol or smoking. Still can’t resist two cans of coke a day but plan to reduce that to one every other day. I have already begun to substitute with more water and fresh fruit ? ? ? Juice.
        I know this isn’t for everyone.

        1. Bob,

          It sounds like you’re becoming quite the force to be reckoned with! I like that you started at 15,000 and are slowly building up to 25,000 a day. You’re gathering more and more momentum by the day. The strength training and diet is important too, which will tie it your fitness together. If you’re looking at ditching coke, try buying some flavored sparkling water. It won’t offer the irresistible sugar and delicious flavor of coke, but will at least give you the fizzy refreshment you’re looking for. I love La Croix, watermelon flavor to be specific. Thanks for commenting, I loved reading your story. Keep it up!!!

      2. Hi Noel I have reduse 6kgs in a months and eat all types of foods and I walk for 20000 to highest 50000 steps some day

  2. Hey Noel, great blog! I noticed you lost most of the weight in first half of the month, although walking more in the latter half. Did you change your diet? Does the body lose less over time? Please compare the first and last 15 days if possible. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hey, thanks so much for the response, Pradhi.

      To be honest, I didn’t pay close attention to my diet at all throughout the whole process. I guess since I was taking so many freaking steps, I decided I was going to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. In hindsight, had I focused more on my diet I probably could have lost much more weight, but the whole challenge wasn’t about shedding pounds for me.

      I’m guessing I did trim some of my fat and add on muscle, though, which wouldn’t be reflected in my before and after weights. My advice to you, if you’re going to try the challenge, would be to test your body fat percentage before and after in addition to implementing a healthy diet along the way. Some days will be tough, but you’ll see some very positive changes. Take care, and thanks for reading!

  3. Thx to our new normal of being quarantined. I figured I start doing 2 hrs a day walk. Ranging from 10 thousand -18 thousand steps. If I jog it goes up higher. Every week they push back the prison sentence of quarantine. I started in mid April thinking We would be free in May. Well we got pushed back to June 15th… all I can say is! “I may get that super model body hiding behind my 176lb fat suit lmao! I use to be 276lb. I’m 5’7… it took me 2 years to loose 100lbs… I did frequent sauna 3 times a week for a hour at the gym. I did more sweat laying down than on a treadmill and I didn’t eat after 7pm… I figure with a extra month to walk/ jog for 2 hours is great for my body. I have the skinniest hands and feet. I look like a beautiful green peanut M&M. If I can just let the round part get with my slim limbs. This article was motivational! Thx ?

    1. Sindy, The quarantine may be maddening, but at least you’re getting some serious steps in! Congrats on losing 100 lb in two years, that’s absolutely incredible! Keep up the good habits, take it one day at a time, and you’ll continue to shed weight. Good luck on your journey and thanks for stopping by!

  4. What a challenge you put on yourself. You are impressive taking that 20000 steps. I remember I walked more than a thousand step going down the mountain to see the view of a waterfalls and I felt so tired. Then, another more than a thousand step going up again where we park our car. I can’t imagine how you manage the 20,000. But i think you enjoyed it because you can eat whatever you want on your journey each day.

  5. I am 64 and list some weight on keto this past year but kind of plateaued. I decided during Covid lockdown to start walking daily. Started at about 3500 steps ( yes, I was sorely out of shape). I am now doing about 14000 to 17000 5 days a week. I have plantar fasciitis so it is a real challenge but reading your success story had motivated me. Thanks

    1. Sherry, it sounds like you’re on your way to a success story of your own! Has the constant walking helped the pain associated with your plantar fasciitis or made it worse? Interested to know if all the walking has strengthened the muscle and tissues on the bottom of your feet. Keep it up and thanks for your feedback!

  6. Hi Noel, About three weeks ago I started my daily walks again. It was somewhat easy to start. I can now easily walk 7 miles 4 days a week. Occasionally I put 10 lbs in my camelback to increase the effort. I am thinking of adding some indoor rowing to my fitness plan. I’m 68 and lowered my resting heart rate by about 10 BPM in just three weeks. 20,000 steps seems a like a good goal. Thanks for the article.

    1. Bob. Seven miles four days a week is huge! And lowering your resting heart rate by 10 BPM is remarkable as well. Keep it up. I imagine rowing would help take your fitness to the next level, so I say go for it. What’s there to lose? Keep up the good habits you’re forming, because we all know how easy it is to fall out of good habits and make excuses. Stories like yours are an inspiration. Keep walking!

  7. Hi Noel,
    Thank you for posting such a well documented 20 000 step day challenge. I am about to start one myself, so am doing some research to see other people’s experiences (and to see if it’s a crazy idea!) so it was extremely helpful to find your blog post. It was very honest and realistic, which I appreciated. Just wish I had a doggo to come on my walks with me too! Thanks again–Isabella

    1. Isabella,

      I’m glad you enjoyed my account of 20,000 steps. I tried to make it as honest as possible. It’s a very ambitious goal, but not crazy by any means. Maybe this challenge will be the excuse you need to go get a doggo! I think you should go for it! Come back and update me during your challenge once or twice, I’d love to hear your story. Take care and happy steps!

  8. Hi Noel! I’m a 15 year old female interested in gaining muscle (not weight loss) and your blog was so inspirational! My parents recently purchased a FitBit and it has made a world of difference in my clarity of mind, focus, and happiness! In addition, I am taking about 25,000 steps a day for two weeks and can already feel a difference in muscle tone and strength! It’s amazing what extra movement can do for you. Thank you so much for writing this inspiring blog–I’m glad to see that people are willing to do challenges such as these and push their minds and bodies to the limits, unlike my friends who say I must be “crazy” for walking/running so much! I don’t know about you, but when my muscles feel sore I feel like I’ve accomplished something during the day and that makes me happy, lol! Keep writing and posting!

    1. Hey, Sarah! Thanks for commenting. I’m so happy that you found my blog post to be inspirational. The 20,000 step challenge was such a long and arduous commitment, and I’m thrilled that people like you appreciate the effort.

      Crazy how a little device on your wrist can completely change your mindset, right? Our little watches hold us accountable.

      25,000 steps a day?! Great work. How are you getting those steps? Walking, running, hiking, etc.? You might be ready for a 30,000 step challenge by the end of the summer! And yes, I agree with you… sore muscles = progress.

      Thanks again for the super thoughtful comment, and keep crushing it!

  9. Hello Noel!!
    Thanks for sharing this. I’m a married mom of 2 who works 50 hours a week and am trying to do the same type challenge. 3 days in so far:
    Day [email protected],000-ish
    Day 2 @20,000-ish
    Day 3 is half over @ 8,452
    I was planning to hunt down some mac and cheese and take a nap on my lunch break because I’m EXHAUSTED!! After reading this I grabbed a sugar free Red Bull and plan to WALK!!!!
    I walk twice around the block before work…trying to hit 5000 steps before leaving the house.
    I walk at lunchtime for 30 minutes
    I shoot for walking on the treadmill at home after work
    AND I walk the pup in the morning and when I get home .
    At 4’11 I’m trying to reach a goal of dropping 30 lbs (to weigh 110lbs) before Christmas but I’m SO TIRED!! BUT NOT GIVING UP!!!
    THANK YOU!

    1. Hell yeah, Miranda!

      Reading how determined you are, regardless of the exhaustion, put a smile on my face. I love your attitude. If you can pull off 20,000 steps for a month with two children and a 50 hour a week job, then you deserve far more credit than I do!

      It makes me so happy that you’re working hard to change your life for the better and I’m thrilled that you found some inspiration in this post. Keep the momentum rolling, and keep shedding the pounds. Christmas will come sooner than you think, and I’m rooting for you to reach your goal. Keep me posted with your progress, I’d love to hear how your journey is going a month or two down the road.

      Keep kicking ass!

      1. Will do! I weighed 183 when I first started my weight loss journey in 2015. It’s been slow and steady..losing and regaining some due to life obstacles. I’m looking forward to being out of the ‘overweight’ category by my 45th birthday (oh man…did I type that out loud?)
        Step count currently @14,332.
        Later!

        1. You got this! 183 to 110 would mean that you lose 40% of your body weight, which would be remarkable. You’re in the midst of a life-changing journey. Keep it up, I’m rooting for you.

  10. UPDATE!!!!!!!!
    Step goal is placed on hold. I am currently dealing with a sick Dachshund/Jack Russell mix and my father who is in the hospital with pneumonia. And mom in law is staying with us until AC is fixed. So….priorities.
    Hope y’all are doing well!!!

    1. Thanks for the update!

      Yikes, seems like you’re dealing with a lot all at once. I hope things work themselves out and everyone starts feeling better! Godspeed. I hope you can start getting your steps in again soon. Take care and stay strong!

  11. I stumbled across this as I am going nuts trying to figure out why, despite having gotten my steps to 20,000+ (featuring a daily 8-10-mile, 4:30 a.m. jog around Dallas) I am up 7 pounds. We are talking a previously 118-pound frame so 7 is a LOT. Is it because I am a woman?! It seems men only need to get off their butts (just paraphrasing you ;)) and lose whatever, like THAT. But me, I am KILLING myself, and those who live with me, trying in vain to lose this weight. I have never before had this problem. I am also getting old . FML. Just venting, really, because you seem cool, with lotsa cool commenters too

    1. Oh, damn! I wonder why you’re gaining weight as well. My first guess would be that you’re putting on muscle during your jogs, which weighs more than fat. Have you noticed positive changes in your body, despite gaining weight? Has your diet changed? Have you noticed more muscle?

      Regardless, weight is just a number. If your life has improved, you have more energy and your body is healthier, the weight gain shouldn’t be viewed as a negative thing.

      I just got back from a month-long backpacking trip of 485 miles, and only lost five pounds. I expected to lose more, but I feel healthier and happier than before.

      Keep up the exercise and I’m happy you felt comfortable venting here! Take care and keep me posted.

  12. Hi Noel,
    Nice Blog. It is exactly what I was looking for.
    I am a postpartum mum of a 5 month old. I have also started my weight loss journey from the last 2 months. I started with mild walk coz of low energy initially, then tried dance . Last 15 days I have been walking 15k steps average. I dont weigh myself but check on inch loss. So far its 3.5 inches lost from the waist.(postpartum belly). I would love to share my update here and check on your blogs to keep my motivation up.

    1. Hi, Tanu. Really inspiring to hear that you’ve already shed 3.5 inches from your waist! Keep up the steps, make a good diet, and stay active. I’m happy for you! Take care and keep it up!

  13. Hey Noel, what a good read this is.

    So I’m over in the UK and another lockdown started on Thursday, I decided to just get out and walk 2 times a day.

    I’m going to try to keep it up for the full 4 weeks and see how it goes.vim currently midway through a diet that I started in August after seriously letting it all go earlier in the year and hitting 268lbs, in 217lbs right now and it will be interesting to see what I will be in 4 weeks!

    Here is the amount of steps I’ve done during the first 3 days, I will bookmark and update on December 12th.

    Day 1 21656
    Day 2 20063
    Day 3 19468

    I’m using an Apple Watch to track the steps, no idea if it’s accurate but the rings look pretty.

    Ahh, just had an alert and finally Biden has won…

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Simon! Thanks for sharing your story with me.

      That’s incredible that you’ve lost over 50 pounds this year. If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of diet are you on? It’s going to be a great feeling once you dip under 200 pounds.

      Keep up the good work on the steps. Some days they’ll seem like a burden or an annoyance, but they’re always worth it.

      Be sure to update me along your journey, as I always love a good story.

      Yes, Biden won! What a nailbiter that was. The US will be far better off these next four years.

      Take care, and thanks for sharing.

      1. Hey Noel,

        I started on a kind of Keto diet on 6th August, I must admit I have not followed the macros to a T, more or less just completely cut out carbs.

        I’ve been basically eating one large meal a day, around 1200-1400 calories a pop.

        Whilst I am here I’ll add the last few days of steps since my last post!

        Day 4 21458
        Day 5 21316
        Day 6 20947

        So I’m getting a little credit saved up for a rest day haha!

        Keep the positive vibes out there Noel!

        1. I thought you might have been on the Keto diet. I’ve heard good things about it. Only 1200-1400 calories a day is aggressive! I commend your willpower. How long do you plan on sticking with the diet?

          Keep up the steps! You’re nearly a quarter of the way finished. Good to see that you’re keeping your pace up. I had a couple of 35k+ days during my last week, which was exhausting!

          Keep it up! You’re making huge positive changes in your life.

          1. Thanks Noel,

            I think I might just stay on the diet long term but obviously once I’ve hit my target weight eat more!

            I’ve had a 2 wobbles and eaten Cheetos and 2 chicken burgers, chips etc… Felt utterly terrible afterwords.

            I don’t think my feet could handle 35k steps, that’s amazing!

  14. This is great, thank you for all your honest humorous humanity 😊 I decided 2 weeks ago to start walking more and build up to 20k per day starting in December. I couldn’t walk for a few years, too many broken bits. But a pair of hiking poles helped me stand upright and that day, June 7 2014, I walked for 2 miles in these Vermont hills. Then I slept for 2 days and decided to get a dog. It’s taken me until this year to get my energy and body up to where I feel all right most of the time (I think I’m the only one saying that in 2020, please don’t send lightning bolts) it’s so good to be able to walk again without supports.
    But my anxiety is crippling and it’s so easy to lose my focus. I haven’t made art since February, when I canceled all my classes. After only 10 days of 12-16k steps my anxiety is manageable and my legs feel strong. I’ve even been cleaning the studio and started a drawing.
    I’m realizing that the hardest part of doing more walking isn’t actually doing it, that part is fairly simple. The hardest part is not thinking about doing it: noticing everything along the trail but not thinking about the steepness of the next hill, the ice on the next rock, the distance to the next junction where if I choose to I can turn towards home. It’s a strangely difficult lesson to learn, noticing but not thinking about what I’m doing so that I just do it. And then do it again.
    The dog does look at me quizzically when I’m standing in the living room at 10pm marching in place. But usually he’s all tuckered by then and just snorts a bit and goes to sleep.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Amber! I like your consonance with “honest, humorous, and humanity.” And I’m glad you feel that way about my writing; that’s what I aim for.

      What an incredible journey you’ve been having, and thanks for telling me about your pain, struggles, and triumphs. Honesty like you’re showing takes lots of courage! I won’t pry for details, but just know that your story is inspiring.

      What kind of dog do you have? I imagine they’ve been incredibly helpful during your battles with anxiety (among other crippling struggles) over the years.

      It puts a smile on my face to hear that you’re getting back into art! Getting out and walking around truly awakens the creative spirit inside of us, and setting step challenges will help us hold ourselves accountable. Keep it up, please, as it seems to be helping you get back to your happy place.

      Yes, it can be very difficult to slow the mind down and focus on the surrounding. It’s tough these days with all the distractions around us to be mindful! Have you read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle? It’s a life-changing read; the type of book you’ll want to read every year or so to refresh your spirit.

      I’m grateful for your incredibly thoughtful response to my article, and it truly brightened my day reading it. Keep being honest, vulnerable, and strong as you work through your struggles – both mental and physical. These qualities will help you improve yourself every single day.

      Take care and, please, come back and leave and update or two on my blog. I’d love to hear about your future progress.

  15. I started walking 15,000 steps a day 5 weeks ago. I’m up to 25,000 a day now and I’m 60 years old.

    The weight loss has been about 6 lbs. I thought it would be more. I definitely cut down my calories but I’m not counting.

    Challenges: Non stop blisters. I purchased high quality walking shoes. I’m on my 2nd pair. They help but plan to have blisters. Getting behind and running out of day. Boredom of walking for hours. Swelling knees.

    Solutions: I finally succumbed and did what I knew I had to do; set my alarm for 5:15am :(. I knock out 13,400 steps by 8am. Then the remaining 11k are easy. Bought assorted sizes of bandaids for the blisters. And most importantly bought a $350 set of wireless Bose headphones and started listening to audiobooks.

    Audio books can be 10-30 hours each and I’ll knockout 1-2 books a week. Warning; this seems to get a little addicting.

    I feel better, stronger and more agile. The first couple of weeks were hard mentally because my previous exercise regiment involved walking into restaurants from the valet.

    Good luck to you and good luck to us,
    J. Walker

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, John. 25,000 steps a day is no joke! Keep it up.

      I, too, thought I would lose more weight during my challenge, but I soon came to realize that my weight had simply been redistributed. Fat had burned away and turned to muscle and my legs were bigger and more sturdy.

      Great to hear that you addressed all of your challenges. If blisters continue to be a problem, consider getting your hands on Injinji toe socks. They wrap around each individual toe to keep them from rubbing together and creating friction.

      Audiobooks must help cure the boredom big time! I never listened to any during my challenge, but I did listen to endless podcasts. They’re quite addictive as well.

      Thank you again for sharing your inspiring story. Feel free to come back here and update me on your progress, and keep kicking ass out there.

      Noel

  16. I enjoyed reviewing your story.
    Currently I have at least 12,000 every single day since April 1st…284 days in a row. I made it a goal a few years ago when I got my 1st Fitbit to walk at least 12,000 steps/day. I now average just under 15,000/day. My current streak has become a bit of a fun obsession and a time to decompress in my day. It’s also motivated me this past year to improve my diet , losing 15lbs over the course of a year.

    1. Lefty, sorry it took me so long to reply. That’s quite an incredible streak! I wonder if you can make it to 1,000 days in a row. Step challenges are a great excuse for us to get out and decompress. It’s a great tool to hold ourselves accountable. Keep stepping and shedding weight, and keep me posted!

  17. An inspiring story Noel! I’m just about to embark on my own challenge, walking 1,700,000 steps over the course of 3 months (around 17,000 steps a day) to raise money for Diabetes UK (wondering if I’m mad!). Any advice for doing that many steps over a prolonged period of time? Personally, my goal is to both raise money and keep losing weight. I’ve already lost 16kg this year, and want to see how much further I can take it.

    1. That’s incredible! Please let me know how I can donate towards your cause.

      I guess my advice would be to pace yourself for the first couple of weeks until your body gets used to all the steps. Also, get your steps in early in the day so they don’t become a burden later on. Listen to lots of podcasts and try to walk different routes so you don’t get bored. Bring friends and family along on your walks to inspire them. Enjoy the experience.

      Keep me posted on your progress!

  18. It makes me so happy to hear about the dog having the best day of his life, every day during the challenge !
    I can tell you really love your dog and that warmed my heart a bit, thanks

  19. Hi,
    I have been a keen runner for some forty plus years but this past three months I have had to stop – making my life seem completely out of sorts but, I find walking actually eases my heal pain – plantar fasciitis which has been caused by my running yet seems to be easier when I walk. I’m desperate to start running again but decided to challenge myself with steps. Your story and honesty has made me feel all the more inspired to continue with my 20,000 steps a day challenge. I wondered what you used to think about when walking? I have days when I can accept the silence and enjoy whatever birdsong etc I hear and other walks I listen intently to podcasts and find myself inspired by people who are far wiser than myself. Thanks again for sharing – it’s still a worrying time with the pandemic holding on for all we are accepting some easing of restrictions. Mental health is as important as physical – both intertwined. Walking will never beat running for me, but exercise is exercise and having this steps challenge is something I hadn’t thought of before but it’s a challenge I accept. I won’t be writing like you – but keeping a record is a very good idea. Thanks. Rosie

    1. Rosie, I’m so glad you found my story inspiring! And thanks for the long, thoughtful reply. I hope your plantar fascitis will eventually abate so you can get back to running.

      Oftentimes, when I was getting my 20,000 steps, I had my headphones in and was listening to music/podcasts/audiobooks. But when I left the house without the headphones, I usually found my mind wandering towards how I could improve my life. One day, I’d think about a big backpacking trip that I wanted to go on, the next, I’d think about strategies on how to get more visitors to my blog. The day after that, I’d think about how to change my diet for the better, etc.

      When I start exercising, my mind naturally brings things to the surface and gravitates towards confronting issues that have been in my subconscious. And yes, getting my steps was often therapeutic, but my mind didn’t always wander to happy/inspiring places. Sometimes my thoughts got dark, which is okay too. The important thing is that I had the time and focus to address things within my mind when I got out walking, instead of distracting myself with a screen or something else convenient.

      Wishing you health and happiness as you fight through the pandemic, and thanks again for the response, as it has made me start itching to get outside ASAP.

      Mental health and physical health often go hand in hand, so keep moving (no matter how fast you go!)

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