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. I haven’t read the other comments yet, but I think that the real question is: Why does it really matter what “counts” as a workout? Isn’t it enough to enjoy nature?

    Is it so mentally so you can feel good? Or so you can say confidently “I worked out today”, without feeling guilty?

    I have asked myself the same question before. I’m not trying to be judgmental, I’m just curious as to what you think.

    1. I think it’s an excellent question. Americans’ obsessions with working out is both hilarious and sad. When I lived in the UK, I loved the attitude of keeping your body well by walking everyone and not this crazy obsession w/ CrossFit/marathons/working out twice daily!

  2. I consider that a work out. When I take my dog for a long walk I try and take long strides and walk fast. We do an hour long 3 mile walk around the lake sometimes and that will count as my work out for the day instead of my 20 minute elliptical daily work-out.

  3. As someone with a very large amount of weight to lose, that would count as a workout. For someone in great shape…? It all depends on the person. That is a fantastic picture of you, by the way.

  4. It was better then sitting on the couch eating Mcd’s I don’t think every workout needs to be a ” do or die” situation.

  5. I used to not count it as a workout and probably still wouldn’t, however these days, I’m more about eating clean and just being active, period. I think that’s better than working out like crazy and eating mediocre which I used to do, which didn’t work.

  6. i get that you’re posing a question here and aren’t necessarily invested in the answer one way or another, but my initial response is – who the f*ck cares if it’s a workout or not? why categorize like that? it seems to me that the message of this blog is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which is ultimately about taking care of your body — not about fretting over whether something is a workout or an “active rest day.” in fact, i’ll hazard a guess that the people who are spending their time figuring out what counts as a workout and what is better understood as an active rest day are actually *unhealthy* in a larger, philosophical sense.

    1. I wasn’t “fretting” about it. I mean, it’s a walk with my dog. I just thought it’d make an interesting discussion question.

      1. i didn’t assume that you were fretting — that’s why i started by acknowledging that you weren’t necessarily invested in the answer. some people definitely are though, and it was for those people that the fretting mark was intended. sorry if my irritation seemed directed at you; it certainly isn’t!

  7. If its activity I don’t usually do in my day, I usually count it as a workout, if it was over 15 minutes. Walking to the post office that.s 0.6 miles up the street I would record, but walking to Wienerschnitzel that’s 0.1 miles up the street I wouldn’t even remember. I might break a sweat doing both of them if I kept up a good pace, but why mark down something where I only burned maybe 15 or 20 calories? Now if I jogged there and back- I would count it, because jogging is mega-hard work for me. I guess it really just depends on the thing.

  8. Sounds like you really enjoyed your time with Murphy and were active during your time with him…so, who cares, count it as a workout. It certainly beats laying on the couch watching Jersey Shore re-runs, which I may or may not be guilty of 😉

  9. I don’t always think you need to work up a sweat in a workout. Your walk definitely counts as exercise! You need to tailor your activity to how you are feeling at the time energy wise. Sometimes it’s good to push yourself, but other times it’s just as important to take it easy. I count things like walking or yoga or pilates as workouts. I may not sweat as much, but it’s still exercise. But more importantly it makes me feel good and that’s what counts!

  10. YES!!! Walking is definitely a workout (for most people anyways)! My parents walk 2 hours *every* day…my dad started doing it to keep his diabetes in check ..on the slim chance he doesn’t walk a day – his blood sugar goes up! If he walks every day, his weight stays down, his blood sugar remains regular and he feels good! 😀 Walking is great for the tush too 😉

  11. I think a walk or a little hike is considered a workout/active rest. It’s important to get the blood flowing a little to stay healthy and keep the health of ligaments and tendons.. plus it’s an active way to keep everything loose for that next intense workout 🙂

  12. Definitely count it as a workout….I think sometimes we forget that not every workout needs to be super intense and super hard…in fact i think varying the degree of intensity is key for us to really get the most out of our workout program in general….for me it keeps me coming back for more if that makes any sense. For example, I ran on Tuesday morning for speed…trying to break a personal PR, which I did (woohoooo!)! Today, I just wanted an easy 4 mile run which mentally after Tuesday was perfect. If you ask me activity is activity…walking your (adorable 🙂 little pug definitely “counts”.

  13. I definitely count it as a workout. My commute just more than doubled recently and I am spending way too much time in the car, with little time for weekday workouts 🙁 so I am considering walking the dog as my workouts during the week. I tend to walk really fast (cover 1 mile in about 15-20 mins even with the dog) and my neighborhood is decently hilly. I am not dripping sweat, but I do get out of breath on the biggest hills.

  14. I totally count my dog walks as a workout. Eddie even helps make them one since he’s half pitbull and adds resistance to the leash from pulling haha

  15. LOVE this discussion. I had the same feeling yesterday. I went to yoga in the morning and then my pup and I went on a l-o-n-g walk in the afternoon. Did I have more of an “active” rest day? Does it “count”? Then again, like other people have said -who cares! 😉 I was sore as all get out from spin and bootcamp the day before and yoga/walking just felt so good. Personally, I need to do a better job of listening to my body rather than feeling guilty about not getting in a drenched in sweat session type of workout each day.

  16. I think we as Americans also feel pressure due to mags like Self, Shape, Fitness, etc. I have noticed more and more their articles touting intense workouts ALL.THE.TIME. in order to make exercise “worth it.”

  17. I think a workout is in anything! Some days it’s cleaning, some days it’s just walking to and from meetings, and some days I’m kickin it on the treadmill…no matter what, I’m staying active!!

  18. I’d call it active rest…still a workout and an excellent way to get some low key activity! I like to move a bit on my rest days, especially if I’m feeling any soreness.

  19. In general,yes it can be ‘counted’ as a workout.for me however,I need something more strenous esp when it comes to cardio {walks dont exactly help strengthen lungs {i have asthma} unless its on hills and more than 1 mile.Also,being in shape for ballet for me is more hardcore than otherwise. 😛

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