What Counts as a Workout?

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Ever since colitis flare #2, I’ve taken it easy with workouts by scheduling more rest days into each week and completely nixing my twice-a-day sessions. With that said, I woke up this morning feeling pretty sore (and just kind of blah) after last night’s CrossFit workout, so it was no-brainer to take a rest day today.

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Murphy had a lot of energy this afternoon (and was driving me nuts), so I took him for a long “adventure” walk in the woods near our house.

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I knew we’d be out for awhile, so I grabbed my Garmin to keep track of how far we walked.

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I also took my iPhone and headphones so I could listen to music.

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Murphy and I ended up walking for a little over an hour and covering nearly two miles.

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Our time out in the woods got me thinking about whether I’d count it as a workout. I mean, I brought my Garmin and headphones and threw on my sneakers like I would for any other workout, but I never broke a sweat. I got my heart rate up at few times since the pug and I walked up a bunch of hills, but it didn’t seem like a workout since we were just wandering through the woods.

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What do you think? Did my walk in the woods count as a workout? What do you count as a workout?

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I ate lunch at NuVal today. I packed leftover Israeli Couscous with Chickpeas, Brussels Sprouts & Asparagus and sweet potato wedges. Easy, delicious, and nutritious.

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After my walk with Murphy, I snacked on a vanilla Oikos Greek yogurt and some more sweet potato wedges, which I didn’t snap a photo of, but you know what they look like.

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And, for dinner, I ate a big plate of whole wheat pasta with roasted broccoli, marinara sauce, and grated Parmesan. Woah, surprisingly filling meal.

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Now, I want something sweet. Perhaps some butterscotch chips? Mmm! I think so.

Enjoy the evening! I’m off to veg-out on the couch!

P.S. Local runners: You still have time to enter my giveaway to win a free entry to the Tory Row 5K! I’m picking a winner in the morning!



  1. Wow Tina, that is a really flattering and pretty photo of yourself! I know you joke around with the “funny” photos, but they seem forced. This one looks more genuine to me 🙂

  2. I usually count a workout as anything that makes me break a sweat, but I guess under that definition, a swim wouldn’t count! Honestly, sometimes I feel that just moving your body counts!

  3. I think it counts. There’s a beautiful park not too far from my house that I walk in all the time. During the summer I’m there almost every day because it’s so pretty and it gives me the space and time to think about things, as well as get moving. I always come home feeling so much more relaxed. For me I think it’s a combination of walking, being in beautiful surroundings, and giving myself permission to relax.

  4. LOVE the f-bomb on the tree trunk. Too funny.

    I think of long walks as more of an active recovery than a workout. Sure, some non-workouts can be workouts (When I taught, I counted playing with my kiddos at the park as a workout since my heart rate was UP and I needed to refuel after!) But all in all, the walk in the woods = active recovery day.

  5. I think it counts as a workout because it’s something you intentionally did and went out of your way for. Maybe it wasn’t the most INTENSE workout, but still, it’s going out with the intention of moving. You got some steps in and covered a good distance. Somedays you just have to take it easy, and that would be an easy workout choice.

  6. I used to feel I had to sweat to consider the activity a workout. But not now, as long as I am moving and active it is a workout for sure. This summer a goal of mine is to have less gym days and more active days – hiking, bike riding, walks, golfing and of course, yard work!

  7. It’s a workout if you’re on your on your feet for an extended amount of time. Reading the other comments I may have low standards lol but in my defense I have a little one so I try to mix workout and play ground.

  8. if it were me, i’d count your walk as an active rest day. i like to take long walks to get my blood flowing and increase my energy, but i don’t usually consider them a workout unless they’re a little higher in intensity or if i’m incline walking the whole time. that’s just me though! everyone has their own definition of a workout and something that is pretty relative. for someone that’s hardly ever worked out before, and they took a walk like you did, that would most likely be a pretty good workout for them.

  9. I think anything that keeps you moving is a workout.

    I love to go for walks and now that i got my fitbit i try to get at least 10000 steps in everyday but is it a work out. Maybe not for everyone but for me it is even if it means that i walk the airport 2 times for work or a big store where i work the other day.
    Personally i like to walk a bit faster even when at work to get a bit more bang for my buck but i still think anything that keeps me moving is exercise

  10. If you are new to exercise or find walking any distance is challenging, then I would consider it workout. If you are relatively fit and walking is an easier task, then I would consider it “activity” but not necessarily a workout. Workout, to me, suggests a challenge to the heart and muscles. Either way, I think both activities and workouts, no matter how you define them, are beneficial. I think it’s all about movement. If you’re moving, you’re doing your mind and body a favor!

  11. I agree with Ashley & Heather. I think a 2 mile walk would just be considered a “light” workout, especially when taking into consideration activity level classifications (sedentary, lightly active, moderately active, very active), I believe walking falls into the lightly active category. I like the idea of it being classified as an active recovery/active rest day! I took one of those today too, as I woke up feeling pretty sore from my run outside yesterday!

  12. I agree with you that it doesn’t feel like a work out because I don’t think walking compares to a WOD but it is better then the alternative, sitting at home all day. Be happy you walked 2 miles! That is a lot more than I did today!

  13. More important than the workout/not workout debate is exercise safety! Being alone in the woods with headphones on is definitely not safe. Better to listen to the natural sounds of the woods 🙂

  14. I have a lot of trouble with this subject because i often dont think of things as a workout unless they are measureable, on a machine, etc. I take zumba once a week and my husband is constantly insisting that counts but it seems like it is too much fun to be exercise!
    i think getting outside and enjoying the weather is a pretty darn good way to be healthy though, workout or not.

  15. I would completely count the walk in the woods towards a workout. Throw in some basic squats/lunges/tricep dips on a log, plus some standing abs and it would be a great change up from the gym! Whenever I go for a walk solo or with Lily (toy Chihuahua) I only put one ear bud in and keep the other ear open for noises. You never know who is watching you!

    No offense to your dinner, but that size meal would never fill me up. Maybe it’s the lack of protein since broccoli is naturally fibrous and filling, but I would still be hungry in another hour! Pasta + me= no satisfaction. However it’s nothing that a glass of wine and a handful of chocolate chips can’t cure. 😉

  16. For me personally I would count it as a workout. If I’m moving for 30 minutes or more in a row I consider that a good day 😉 Have a wonderful and restful night Tina!

  17. Walks are supposed to be amazing for your health… I think its really sad if a two and a half mile walk DOESN’T count as something 🙁

  18. I’d count it as a workout! I know many people don’t think of walking as a workout, but I think it’s a great way to exercise – low impact, easy, no equipment needed, etc.

  19. I’d count it! I’ve taken the dogs for a couple of long walks this week (4-5 miles) and have counted them as my workouts. After a long day in the office, I needed the fresh air and sunshine vs. going to the windowless gym!

  20. I say anything over 20 minutes counts. I would definitely count 2 miles and over an hour as a workout. I don’t think sweating matters. What matters is that you got out there and got your blood moving around, your heart and lungs pumping. It counts!

  21. maybe i’ve watched too much criminal minds, but be careful in the woods with your ear phones in! makes me nervous…it’s good to be aware of your surroundings and eliminating sense of hearing is not great when you’re alone.

  22. Yes it counted as a workout. Your walking, your hiking and your moving at a pace without stopping. It’s a relaxed workout. Walking two miles, your still burning calories, more than you would sitting. I think as long you keep your body moving, don’t stop, your doing your heart and body good. Whether it’s really a workout or not it doesn’t matter, you did something good for yourself and Murphy!

  23. I consider walking exercise, but not a workout–but that’s just semantics. To me, a workout is something higher intensity, but walking makes up most of the exercise I get each week, so it is definitely a worthwhile activity!
    p.s. I agree with other commenters, this is a really pretty picture of you!

  24. I often wonder this when I walk to pick up my son from school. We walk whenever the weather allows (unless we have something else to do after school and need to drive). It’s about 2 miles round trip. I usually don’t count it as exercise and don’t look at it as particularly beneficial health wise. I sort of feel like if I’m not running or going hard core at whatever exercise I’m doing it’s not real exercise. But I think it probably does count as exercise even if it’s lower intensity than you’re used to doing. It’s got to be better than sitting on the couch, right? I guess it’s a matter of opinion!

  25. i give myself one restorative/relaxing/non-pushing/no pressure workout a week. i would count this as that one! i workout hard enough most days of the week so i pick a day where i do something just for the fun of it with no pressure or expectations or time limit and i almost never break a sweat but totally enjoy it and look forward to it every week! it usually involves the pug, a bike ride around the neighborhood, leisurely walk by myself or friends or going to the gym and hopping on a recumbent bike with some magazines- otherwise i’d never read them:) good job for murphy going that long, my pug would stop and lawn surf and not get back up so i’d have to carry her home. this is no joke.

  26. That’s why I try to take active rest days. So when I don’t feel like a scheduled workout I just make sure I’m not on my butt for long periods of time throughout the day then I feel like I moved my body but also got adequate rest. I don’t really think “oh I worked out today” or “oh that didn’t count as a workout” I just move and live!

  27. I’d count it! If it’s something out of my daily normal activities, I count it as more than my BMR.

  28. Why does it matter? I keep active because it is enjoyable; isn’t that what healthy living is about? It sounds a bit obsessive if you need to track your workouts for validation.

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