The SparkPeople Blog

13 Questions with 'Walk at Home' Expert Leslie Sansone

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/13/2013 6:00 AM   :  38 comments   :  85,323 Views

A few weeks ago, we asked you if you had any questions for legendary walking expert Leslie Sansone. Today, Leslie is delivering answers and giving some great insights on fitness! We're a HUGE fan of Leslie's work (you can see our past interview with her here), and we're so honored that she took the time to answer questions again, both from us and from YOU! Take it away, Leslie! 

LS: First, let me give a BIG SHOUT OUT to the SparkPeople team!  Thank you for being one of the all time BEST choices for health seekers to find support, inspiration, tools, etc. to keep walking strong each day we are blessed to live! WALK ON, my friends at SparkPeople!

1. SP: How do you continue to innovate your workout programs and DVDs to keep them new and interesting for your tried and true fans?
LS: What every group exercise leader LOVES is to create new and motivating ways to keep people active and strong!  Since my early years of owning a fitness club and leading thousands of  ''live'' classes, I have always incorporated the latest trends, and more importantly, ''exercise science'' into my walking-based workouts. 

I just filmed a new DVD that introduces High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to our Advanced Walkers. HIIT is defined as very short ''bursts'' of cardio (30 seconds or less) rotated in between the brisk walking.  We have so many walkers that ask for more intensity, and HIIT is one of the most popular methods in fitness clubs today!  When Pilates was exploding, I incorporated Pilates techniques into one walking workout; you can really train the core while walking!  In many of the DVDs, we also also introduce stretches that are similar to yoga, etc. I keep ''walking'' as the foundation, but add what is new and popular in fitness clubs to each new routine. I crave what is new and fresh, both for me and for the Super Walkers that join me!

2. SP: What makes your newest DVD special?
LS: OMGoodness!!!! I just LOVE, LOVE (double LOVE!) our new title, Walk It Off in 30 DaysThis one is beyond a workout … it’s a 30-day PLAN!  No guessing when or how will you exercise; I plan it all out for 30 days!  Super Fans get the 30-minute cardio session (lots of brisk, new, walk-based combinations). This is called the ''BURN'' session and it’s equal to 2 miles of advanced walking! 

But the big, BIG feature on this DVD is the 30-minute ''FIRM'' session!  I introduce the best strength training exercises for all major muscle groups and add dumbbells for extra firming and toning.  It’s TOTAL fitness--50% cardio & 50% strength training is what I feel is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to spend your fitness time.  The plan is to do one of the 30-minute sessions each day for 30 days. Especially as the years fly by, I really see the need for basic strength training in my own routine … it really keeps a body working at its best! I am planning a 30-Day Challenge on Twitter in late September featuring this DVD!  Join us, everybody!

3. SP: Do you have an all-time favorite title from among all of your walking DVDs (and why)?
LS: Hmmmmm…. now that is like asking me which one of my children is my favorite!! I can’t choose… Oh, wait … I LOVED the very first time we put a camera on my class in my fitness club in Pennsylvania. We filmed it because of a request from one of my class members (Jean). She was going on vacation and didn’t want to miss a class (this was in 1985). Jean’s request is why I am here today, and I'm so thrilled to be the Walk Coach to millions! 

That video and class was titled ''Walk Aerobics'' and it went on to be released nationally at the same time that Jane Fonda released her first VHS workout.  I walked into our local K-Mart that year and couldn’t believe my eyes; our workout was on the shelf right next to Jane’s!  That is my all-time favorite because it was a real group of good people from my community. No one knew it was the beginning of a Walk Movement that would last decades and impact many!  (By the way, our endless testimonies support the effectiveness of our walk method!)

4. SP: Why does ''walking at home'' appeal to so many people?
LS: WALKING RULES!  Above any other form of fitness, FITNESS WALKING serves each of us for a lifetime of good health! Extreme exercise is good for some stages of life, sure. But walking will always be a smart choice for long-term wellness and weight loss! And working out at home rules, too! The convenience of walking ''miles'' in your living room, without a treadmill or any other equipment needed, is excuse-proof. You can walk any time, day or night!

Finally, affordable fitness is so important for everyone to have an opportunity to choose an active life. Can a DVD really impact your cost of living?? You better believe it! People that exercise have fewer health care costs, fewer sick days, etc. It’s cheap to be well, and it's expensive to be out of shape and de-conditioned! We have to WALK more, people!
 
5. SP: Besides the walking component, what is the #1 thing you'd recommend people do to get the most results from your programs?
LS: Rotate! I add strength training and flexibility in each workout  to get the best overall conditioning for all muscles, starting with the most important muscle: the heart. I want our fans to choose 3 or 4 DVDs to rotate through the week. That is a sure way to get all 600+ muscles awake and involved!

I believe atrophied muscle is one of our biggest health concerns. It creates a whole host of problems, from disease to weight gain!  It wasn’t only the ''super-sizing'' of food and drink that caused the AMA to declare obesity as a disease.  I am sure it also has something to do with the explosion of technology. Our bodies don’t MOVE most of the day--we are all on screens! Speaking of that… I must get up from my computer right now and run (or walk!) around for some circulation!!!!! Be right back…

6. SP: What do you prefer for your own workouts: walking inside or walking outdoors?
LS: I created effective walking workouts that we can all do on days when exercising outdoors is not an option.  I LOVE my occasional outdoor walks, but I need the type of walking that is in my DVDs because it moves in all planes of motion (very functional fitness). It's much more science-based fitness than a stroll around the neighborhood. These workouts operate at the speed we need for aerobic benefits. They challenge muscles in a way that outdoor walking doesn’t.

My own plan each week is to do 3 or 4 workouts from the DVDs. Then, on the weekends, my sister and I go for a walk at one of our favorite parks or ride bikes if weather allows. We all need variety and I love the extra time on weekends to do some fun activity!

7. Aimee M.: When I was at my heaviest, this was the first real exercise I did...walking with you, Leslie! Somehow a walk seemed less intimidating. 120 pounds down, I still revisit your videos when I can't go for a run or make it to kickboxing. I would like to know if you've ever considered having larger people in your videos to show that this is a workout that could be done by anyone at any fitness level.

Kathi B.: Where do you get the people who do your workouts on the DVDs with you? I really like Carl in one of them. He's so funny and you pick on him and he picks right back. Look like nice people.
LS: AIMEE & KATHI!!!! Thank you for the kind words and questions! I am so happy to hear you mention Carl! He was one of my fave walkers on the DVDs! It just so happens that he is married to Regina (also in the DVD Active Adults 2 Mile Walk. Regina is a BEAUTIFUL example of all sizes and shapes taking good care of her health!) I love your suggestion, Aimee. We so often show the ''afters'' of our walkers' journey. So many have transformed their health, and maybe we are due to show the many stages of an active life—all sizes, all ages. Thanks for reminding me!
 
From our early days of production to now, the process of casting the DVDs has really evolved. I am so happy that we work with the best fitness production companies and collaborate with our distributors to bring at-home walkers the BEST experience on video. Today, choosing the cast involves both recruiting from our Walk Fans (our Walk Leaders) and also from the fitness community.  Many of our walkers are also fitness professionals. We have had a children’s dance instructor, a kickboxing leader, and a Zumba instructor in the DVDs. We need ''all walks of life'' to give the best presentation!
 
8. Shundea A: How are the miles calculated in your different workouts (1, 2, 3, 4 mile walks, etc.)?
LS: LOVE the question, Shundea!  Our ''Steps to Miles'' system is based on the BPM’s (beats per minute) of the music!  We know that for an average stride, it takes about 140 bpm’s to equal a speed of 4 MPH (miles per hour). I engineer the music to average about 15 minutes of exercise to be 1 mile of exercise. It’s what makes our walks so effective--we keep you at a speed to get results!
 
9. Angela C.: What's your advice for a busy mom on how to stay motivated? Or rather get up off my butt and turn the DVR on?
LS: Angela! Did you know that even five minutes of brisk walking can impact your blood pressure, improve your mood, improve energy, carry nutrients to cells for healthy skin, hair and nails, communicate to core muscles for a trim tummy… shall I continue??? Would you put on your walking shoes this minute--lace up the kids, too--and give me just five minutes?!  Love to you, mom, and hug the kids for me!
 
10. Patty O.: I would like to know approximately the number of calories burned during some of your DVDs. I am currently doing the 4-mile workout. When you say these 4 miles will work off a meal, approximately how many calories per meal would you be referring to?
LS: Hi, Patty!! I love an opportunity to remind all health seekers to BURN MORE CALORIES--that really is the secret to a healthy life!  If we are only manipulating food to lose or maintain weight, it becomes so challenging. So, finding workouts that give the best calorie burn is important!  Calorie burn has many variables: age, weight, gender, fitness level, even medicines affect how we burn calories, and we all burn at different rates. HOWEVER, exercise science allows us to offer a range of calorie burn that is pretty close to what would be the ''actual'' amount of calories burned by the human body! 

All that said, you can expect to burn 100 to 125 calories per mile. (I believe our miles have more intensity, especially when using ''Walk Boosters''--our bands, hand weights, walk belt, etc.--so you can expect a higher calorie burn during our walks and even after the workout. There is continued muscle activity for hours after any challenging workout!)  If you burn about 400 to 500 calories in a 4-mile walk, I can promise you that you have made a big impact on the calories of a meal, and it will show up in weight loss or weight maintenance. Just keep walking, Patty… you’ll love the results!
 
11. Teri B.: How about exercises for active people with arthritic knees?
LS: Hi, Teri! Don’t ever give up seeking the exercise program that helps you to feel strong and pain-free, or at least relieved from the discomfort of achy joints!  Please, work with your doctors and other health professionals to find the best plan for you.  I am happy to be your Walking Coach but I am not a medical professional. I can say that science supports the fact that a regular physical activity routine is critical to how we will all live out our future days.

You are making an AMAZING choice to be active, even with a condition that challenges you! Ask your doctor about mild fitness walking combined with strength training. It's so important to keep muscles strong to support the joints; many report that conditioning muscles eases discomfort and can stop the progression of joint disease!  Keep seeking solutions to be an active person, Teri!
 
12. Kathi B.: I would love to get some of your workout clothes… love the black shirts that say ''Walk'' with pink lettering! Will you ever have a line of ''Walk at Home'' clothing?

Karen U.: When will the sparkly ''WALK'' shirts come out?
LS: LOL!!! Kathi & Karen, you are so precious!!!! See www.walkathome.com/store for some Walk Wear!
 
13. Christine L.: Any chance there will be a Leslie Sansone for Wii [or any other format other than DVDs]?
LS: Oh, Christine!! That would really be the point that my kids say, ''That’s enough, mom!!! Now you are walking on my Wii!!'' Thanks for the suggestion, sweetie … I am always up for some fun new ways to deliver a walk!
 
Thank you so much for answering our questions, Leslie! Get moving with Leslie's latest DVD, Walk It Off in 30 Days. You heard the woman--get out there (or in your living room) and walk! 


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Comments

  • 38
    Great! - 5/2/2014   12:22:07 PM
  • 37
    I love your workouts, especially right now because I bruised my knee bone and can't do anything real high impact. - 2/3/2014   10:30:40 AM
  • MARIESUAAVA
    36
    i love ur videos me and my co worker walk every morning at work, we sit all day so its nice to have something to keep us active - 10/28/2013   10:16:37 AM
  • 35
    Leslie got my mom and I are walking in 2003 and I have not stopped yet.I am a big fan. - 10/5/2013   10:04:58 AM
  • 34
    I love walking with Leslie! - 10/1/2013   8:21:58 PM
  • 33
    I love Leslie and her videos. They are a life saver, for real. I would get so frustrated with other workout videos that I tried. I felt like an utter failure when I couldn't follow the complicated moves, got too winded and had to stop to catch my breath and couldn't make it to the end of a workout. NOBODY had ever told me to go at my own pace, that it's okay to start where you are and only do as much as you can. That it's okay to slow it down, pause, or only do 5-10 minutes until you are stronger and more fit. UNTIL Leslie. She motivated me, encouraged me and made me feel like a success even if I was slow and couldn't do an entire mile. Not to mention the steps were so easy. I didn't have to put all my effort into nailing them just right. I could just walk and it was fun. Now I find myself making my own little routines up while reading, watching TV or listening to music. WALKing with Leslie or on my own is just part of me now and I couldn't possibly thank her enough. God bless you Leslie Sansone. I'm sure Jesus will have many crowns for you in heaven for all of the lives you've touched and improved. I've lost 40 lbs total, was up to 58 down, but due to a fractured patella and surgery to repair the damage my weight has crept back up. Now that I can walk again it's time to start back up with Leslie and gradually improve my fitness and lose some weight. - 9/19/2013   10:36:28 AM
  • RDMILLSTONE
    32
    Leslie, my sister Deetzah, loves you!!!!!!!! Thanks to her, I do your walks all the time. You are a very inspirational person! Thank you for all you do! - 9/19/2013   3:45:54 AM
  • ORANGETHUNDER
    31
    Hello everyone, my name is Doug and I am from Oregon . My ex wife introduced me to Leslie and WATP back in 03 and I lost 15 pounds before I had to stop due to tendinitis in my feet . After that , the walking and weight loss went by the way side until early last year when I got fed up wit not fitting into clothes and not feeling good in general so I started back with Leslie and Weight Watchers Online . I kept at it until a few months ago when my feet started hurting again and I had to stop so of course the pounds came back on and where I had lost almost 30 I put back 15 and my clothes got tight again and my health waned again and guess what ? I got fed up and started again last month both with WWO and Leslie and haven't turned back yet and don't plan to . I am almost back to the original 30 pounds down that I was before. It has helped that I finally forced myself to stop walking in my socks and am now wearing shoes . I have had no problems with my feet .

    I have been using Leslies FB page and the walk social page for support and will now be coming here as well looking forward to getting to know others - 9/17/2013   10:58:43 AM
  • 30
    I really owe my health and fitness level to Leslie Sansone! I will always be grateful that at 372 pounds I was able to begin exercise because of her four basic steps. Grant it I was not able to do the arms in the beginning but I kept at it! Now I am at such at great fitness level, I have great endurance, and I owe it all to Leslie and my gastric bypass surgeon. I can now jog, do the stair master, the arc trainer, weights, etc. I'm usually at the gym for 2 hours not out of torture or obligation but because I love fitness. I apply breathing techniques and body positioning techniques that I learned in Leslie's DVDs to my gym workouts. And I still do Leslie's DVDs twice a week. I am forever grateful to Leslie! Thank you Leslie! - 9/16/2013   10:59:54 PM
  • JMZINCT
    29
    Love love love you Leslie!!! - 9/14/2013   10:27:17 PM
  • 28
    Thank you Coach Nicole and Leslie Sansone! I have many of your videos and have gotten many of my major questions answered. I always felt I burned more doing the videos than on Spark Fitness Tracker. It's good to know I've been burning more. No complaints on the tracker about the calories. :) I appreciate your time...both of you! Blessings! - 9/14/2013   8:03:16 PM
  • 27
    For Teri B- I have arthritic knees and my doctor told me to stop walking so much. I took to the pool and swim laps (I am a former swimmer who took a 25 year break from swimming- you know, motherhood and work and all that.) If you have a pool available to you try swimming or water walking. My pool has a lot of water walkers. You and your knees will love it. I still walk outdoors because it makes me happy but I walk less and swim more. Good luck. - 9/14/2013   9:14:07 AM
  • 26
    I really love the Leslie DVDs but now I have advanced past them so I am really looking forward to checking out this new one with HIIT to see if it works for me. During the winter months especially when I can't get out as much, I would love to just throw in a 30 minute DVD and get my workout done! - 9/14/2013   9:07:44 AM
  • GGRAND18
    25
    I absolutely LOVE Leslie's DVDs and use them at least four times a week. - 9/13/2013   9:36:52 PM
  • 24
    I really love doing Leslie's DVDs. I'm a newbie, but I find myself looking forward to my next walking session because they feel invigorating. - 9/13/2013   6:41:39 PM
  • 23
    I love Leslie Sansone workouts.
    I take care of 2 little girls ages 22 months and 3. They walk right along beside me.
    Once I started to put a kid program on and the 22 month old shook her head no and pointed to the Leslie Sansone DVD and said "walk, walk, walk."
    Their mothers laugh every time they pick the girls up and we happen to be
    "walk, walk, walking"
    Maybe they need to make their own kiddie exercise DVD!
    - 9/13/2013   5:06:23 PM
  • JESTRAD2
    22
    How do I email about my inconitence problem when I'm running on the treadmill? - 9/13/2013   4:57:07 PM
  • 21
    I love Leslie! I especially love that she emphasizes that "you can't do it wrong," and "it's the pace that gets you fit, NOT the steps." I am not coordinated at all and have bought so many DVDs over the years that I gave up on because the moves were just too complicated and "dancy." I can always count on Leslie for a great workout! I encourage anyone who thinks they can't exercise to give her DVDs a try--if you can walk, you can do a Leslie DVD! - 9/13/2013   4:11:09 PM
  • 20
    As a person with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), going outside to take a simple walk is out of the question. Because of that, the weight piled on over the years. I'm 45 now and want to be as healthy as I can be.

    I love Leslie's videos. I too, have videos that go back to VHS! I like doing a 3 mile walk from one DVD and another 4 mile walk from another DVD. Leslie, you're a life saver! Love ya! - 9/13/2013   4:04:27 PM
  • 19
    Thank you for introducing me to Leslie! I have found some of her videos on You Tube and downloaded some of them and did one today as it looked like chucking it down with rain, and much enjoyed it. This will be good for when I dont feel like doing anything more strenuous, so may well be an alternative to doing nothing..
    - 9/13/2013   3:56:25 PM
  • 18
    I love Leslie!! Her DVD's make up the bulk of my exercise routine. I try to rotate through a few of my current favorites each week so that it stays interesting.

    I do not like to exercise, and getting up early in the morning to head to the gym does not appeal to me. And after work? It's just not happening. So with Leslie all I have to do is crawl out of bed, put on my workout clothes, and walk to the living room. I can handle that.

    I know some people say that her workouts aren't intense enough for them, but I find them to be good workouts, I work up a good sweat, & I've lost 49 lbs in the last 6 months using her DVD's. So I am more than satisfied! - 9/13/2013   3:56:09 PM
  • 17
    I love Leslie Sansone. I have several of her DVDs. They are fun and very easy to do. I have knee problems, so I do the one mile "Walk Away The Pounds". It is only 20 minutes long and very easy. I just realized I have been doing this since we had a VCR. Then I got the same ones on DVDs. - 9/13/2013   2:24:10 PM
  • 16
    I love Leslie! I don't like walking outside when it is too hot or raining or icy and her walking programs are the perfect back up plan. I have the 30 day program she talks about here and it is what gave me the courage to start working with weights. I do the Firm 30 twice a week now.

    If you don't want DVDs she also has Walk TV. I have a 4 mile walk through that on my iPhone so I can work out in my hotel room when I am traveling for work. - 9/13/2013   1:48:35 PM
  • GAL2202
    15
    I am now trying to get back walking after I fractured my kfoot back in May. I have to wear a walking boot I hope for 2 more weeks. - 9/13/2013   1:11:23 PM
  • AZURE-SKY
    14
    I love Leslie's workouts - the real people, the variety of steps - but no fancy choreography - if you can walk, you can do these workouts!, upper & lower body emphasis. I have over a dozen of them, and I started out with the 1 mile (barely made it through it) , and I even own 2 of her 5-mile workouts - which I can now do while wearing 2-lb wrist weights. By the way, I'm 61 years old! I plan to grow old with Leslie. - 9/13/2013   12:56:30 PM
  • PMELENDEZ2012
    13
    Loved the article, love Leslie. I use her dvd's during my off-days from running. Her dvd's have helped me work up from walking 1/2 mile to walking/jogging almost 4 miles in less than 45 minutes. I always wanted to be a runner but always felt I was too heavy. I couldn't have done it without Leslie and Sparkpeople!! - 9/13/2013   12:41:59 PM
  • 12
    Absolutely love Leslie and her DVDs. - 9/13/2013   12:32:33 PM
  • OBX-CC
    11
    love the vidos have this one its a heart pumper - 9/13/2013   11:36:05 AM
  • 10
    She writes EXACTLY as I imagined she does. Bubbly, bubbly personality. Love it!

    Whenever I get worn out from my more intense routines, yet still want to move around, I like to pop in one of her DVDs. Her sunny disposition keeps me smiling, it's a pretty solid workout without overdoing anything, and low impact. While it isn't an everyday workout for me, it is a great way for beginners to start. - 9/13/2013   11:00:38 AM
  • 9
    I love Leslie! She really helped me start on my fitness path... accessible but effective and you don't have to be a dance major! I still go back to her DVDs when I'm bored with the TM or I just want something to keep me moving. - 9/13/2013   10:34:48 AM
  • 8
    I have many of Leslie's dvds. My town needs this program but I can't afford the walk leader membership - otherwise, I'd be all over it. This was fun reading this!
    - 9/13/2013   10:28:32 AM
  • 7
    Enjoy LS dvds. Soo looking forward to the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) walk dvd. When will that be released? - 9/13/2013   10:23:48 AM
  • 6
    Love Leslie! Big Fan and one day would like to become a Walk Leader. - 9/13/2013   8:54:53 AM
  • 5
    I love the Walking DVDs and they are frequently in my workout rotation! - 9/13/2013   8:39:40 AM
  • 4
    After losing my thyroid to thyroid cancer, it seemed impossible to get back on track. But Walk it off in 30 days and all Leslie tapes along with spark tapes have given me a new hope. Weight loss is still slow , but firming is very obvious. Thank you spark people and Leslie! - 9/13/2013   8:37:15 AM
  • 3
    I am one week into Walk It Off in 30 Days. Thank you Leslie for designing a program that has easy choreography and is definitely working muscles that have not been work in a while. SparkPeople... thank you for leading me to Leslie! Walk! Walk! Walk! - 9/13/2013   8:28:43 AM
  • 2
    She sounds just like her enthusiastic and encouraging self! Good interview. - 9/13/2013   8:13:26 AM
  • 1
    Inspirational. Thankyou. - 9/13/2013   3:11:23 AM

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