Will I lose weight while walking the Camino? Can I reduce my body fat? Will I slim down from all that walking?
Many people want to know how the Camino will affect how they look, but as with most things, it very much depends on the person. Some people will see substantial weight loss, and others may actually weigh more at the end of their trip due to added muscle mass and many lovely desserts.
The Camino is not a place where the intention or goal is to lose weight. Most people come back saying that most of the weight they lose is the baggage they mentally carried before the trip.
Many hikers will lose weight on the trail whether intentionally or not. Walking for kilometres on end will definitely help your body to burn calories.
However, there are many factors involved in whether or not you will lose weight on the Camino. From what trail you are doing and how many kilometres are you planning on walking a day to what you eat and drink.
Food and wine are plentiful all the way along so there is no “semi-forced” diet, which some may expect. There are so many food places along the way and many hikers come back saying they have consumed more bread, wine, and ice cream on the trip than they have their whole lives.
Those who lost weight credited it to the “clean” foods of Spanish cuisine, though that is relative.
If the Camino is a big increase in your daily exercise or the only big workout of your year then you are more likely to see a change. It seems that the Camino helps those who don’t do much daily physical activity lose weight, feel healthier, and encourage them to develop healthier habits for the rest of the trip and when they get back home.
It’s all about your body
Walking 15 to 20km every day for a week or more will undoubtedly have some impact on your body and fat reduction is very common, especially on longer trips. In fact there are a whole host of health benefits from longer trips!
If you are fit and healthy and normally do plenty of exercise every week then the Camino may not be much of an increase in activity for you. That, plus all the extra tasty food and wine could end up adding a bit to your waistline temporarily.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you are less healthy though. Extended periods of walking are good for many aspects of your health, from your heart to your muscles. Your weight is far from being the only way to judge how healthy you are!
Ultimately, the answer varies. You may lose some weight or you may not. But the most important thing is the experience.
The journey is life-changing – people do not regret their trip, and many plan on doing the hike again!
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Originally published on 18th May 2020