How to lose weight on the Camino de Santiago
There are pilgrims who, among the different reasons they find to travel on one of the routes on the Camino de Santiago, is that of losing weight. Most of them, without even thinking about it, return home having lost a few kilos, and that is that doing the Camino de Santiago slims you down, with little effort.
The simple fact of walking along the Camino de Santiago makes us lose weight almost always, and in a fairly easy way. Whether you’re on foot or cycling, you’ll most likely burn up more calories a day than those you eat.
However, there are always some strategies you can use during your pilgrimage to encourage weight loss. Here are some of them, so you can show off your body on your return from Compostela.
But before you go any further, if you’ve already decided to make a pilgrimage on your next holiday, we recommend you to do the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. If you need help with the organization, leave your details and we will contact you to make this adventure a reality.
Control your rhythm
To maximize the number of calories your body consumes on the Camino de Santiago you can vary the intensity of the walk or pedalling, if you go by bike. Especially on the flat sections.
Another option, if you go foot and find yourself in good physical shape is to alternate between running and walking. In this article we tell you that more and more people are doing the Camino de Santiago running, but take it easy, we are not asking you to run to the very doors of the Cathedral of Santiago, but mix in small runs with the walk.
This way, your body will consume more energy and in addition to burning calories it will start consuming fat. In addition, combining walking and running helps to better define your shape because it activates different muscles.
Doing the Camino de Santiago slims you down more on routes with slopes
If you up for it and are in good physical shape, or train well in advance, we recommend that you read our guide to the Camino Primitivo or the post on how to prepare to do the Camino del Norte, as they are the routes with the greatest number of slopes. On ascent, the body consumes 40% more energy, therefore you will speed up weight loss.
On such sections, if you are walking, the walking rate is usually slower, approximately 6 kilometres per hour. Try to keep that pace up throughout the tour.
Another advantage of choosing a difficult route is that along the way your body will generate more muscle, because of the extra effort that slopes entail. That muscle will help you burn more calories, even while resting.
Warm up and stretch to tone yourself
Warm-ups and stretches are key to preventing strains and joint injuries. If your goal is to lose weight on the Camino de Santiago do not skip these routines, both at the beginning and at the end of your day, because in that way, at the same time that you lose weight, you tone your body too.
In fact, if your goal is to lose weight on the Camino de Santiago, you should intersperse the route with stops to stretch. In this way, in addition to being able to take a break, you can work on your figure.
Use poles on the Camino de Santiago if you want to lose weight
Another strategy, if you do the Camino de Santiago on foot, is to use trekking poles. By also using your arms you will get your body to consume more calories. In addition, it will allow you not only to lose weight while traveling the pilgrim route, but also to tone all of the body: arms, stomach and legs.
If you want to know more information, you can consult the article on how to use poles on the Camino de Santiago.
Consume a lot of water
Water can also be a great ally in weight loss. During your stay on the Camino de Santiago consumes as much water as you can, in addition to staying hydrated, it will help you lose weight faster.
Lose weight before and after doing the Camino de Santiago
Take advantage of pre-pilgrimage training to start losing weight. You don’t necessarily have to wait to get to the Camino de Santiago to start losing weight.
We always advise pilgrims, whether they want to lose weight on the Camino de Santiago or if they do so for other reasons, to start training about 90 days beforehand. In this article, you can consult exercise routines and training for the Camino de Santiago.
Do not miss the training routine after returning from the Camino de Santiago. If you want to avoid gaining the weight you’ve lost again, try to maintain a workout routine on your return. Walking about 45 minutes 3 times a week will keep you from putting those extra pounds on again.
Control what you eat
Above all it is important that you keep in mind that doing the Camino de Santiago slims you down, as long as you control what you eat. No matter how many kilometres you do in a day, if every day you eat heavy meals, you will not generate any calorie loss and therefore you will not lose a single gram. Remember, you should burn more calories than you consume.
This is sometimes not easy, because when you go on a trip, you want to try all the regional dishes and enjoy gastronomic tourism. In fact, we always recommend to pilgrims not to miss the traditional cuisine of the regions they cross.
Now, one thing is that and another to binge every day, consuming heavy dishes. Enjoy the local cuisine, but in moderation.
How much weight can you lose on the Camino de Santiago
The number of kilos you can lose weight on the Camino de Santiago will depend on the type of pilgrimage, the number of calories your body needs to develop the basic functions (breathe, digest, think, etc.) and your current weight, sex and age.
Think that at a normal pace it is usual to consume 100 calories every kilometre and a half. Therefore, if you make the last section of the Camino Frances, for example, the one that runs from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, which has a route of approximately 100 kilometres, calorie consumption will be almost 7,000 calories.
According to experts, this calorie intake is equivalent to losing a kilo in weight. But if you use the tricks we’ve given you in the previous section, you can burn more calories. If you need to lose more kilos, you can spend more days on the Camino de Santiago.
However, not everything the scale says is true. Sometimes body fat and even trouser sizes are lost, but the scale does not mark significant weight loss.
This happens because muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, some people go to the Camino de Santiago and have the feeling that they have not managed to lose anything, however, something has changed in their body.
They’ve lost only a few kilos, but they’ve lost a lot of fat and gained muscle mass. Actually, this is the best way to take care of your shape.
Other health benefits
Doing the Camino de Santiago slims you down, but you’ll also get other health benefits. Some of them are:
- Better blood circulation
- Reduce cholesterol
- Speeds up the metabolism, preventing the increase of body fat
- Strengthens muscles
- Improves intestinal health
- Strengthens your heart
- Improves self-esteem
- You’ll take on a multitude of learnings that help to you live happier
We hope that everything we have told you in this article will help you lose weight on the Camino de Santiago or encourage you to do so if you are looking for a way to get rid of those extra kilos. Remember that if you want, you can contact us to help you organize your trip. You can leave us a comment and write on our Facebook page, so that our team will contact you.
However, do not forget to mention that you would like to lose weight on the Camino de Santiago, so that our team will take it into account when planning the stages and coordinating the meals in the hotels.