Don’t Be Fooled By the Fat Burning Zone

When doing cardio, in order to maximize fat loss and caloric expenditure, spend as little time as possible in the fat burning zone. No, that was not a typo. Most people who want to lose weight see or hear “fat burning” and think that is where they need to be. It makes sense until you realize that being in this zone actually limits fat loss compared to higher intensity interval training.

The “fat burning zone” puts people in a low intensity, steady state. Although this might be beneficial for those who are not quite ready for higher intensity training, the idea that you will burn the most fat calories in this zone is false. What is true about this zone is that you will burn a higher percentage of fat calories in relation to higher intensity training. Confused yet? Let me give you an example.

If you are performing one hour of cardio at a low-intensity (about 50% of maximal heart rate), you will burn approximately 400 kcals. Out of those 400 kcals, about 60% come from fat, which is 240kcals. When training at a higher intensity (about 75% of maximal heart rate), approximately 800 kcals will be burned in total. Out of those 800 kcals, only 35% come from fat, which is 280 kcals,.

From this example, you can see that percentage wise, you burn more fat calories at a lower intensity; however, overall, you burn more total calories at a higher intensity. In order for fat loss to occur at a faster rate, you need to maximize caloric expenditure. High intensity interval based training achieves this result. By training at a lower intensity you will eventually lose weight; but, it will take much longer to achieve it. If you are going to spend the time doing cardio why not do it as efficiently as possible?

To figure out specifically where your heart rate should be in order to maximize your caloric expenditure when doing cardio, contact Dan @ (978) 807-8579.

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About Sea Change Fitness & Nutrition

Exercise Physiologist Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Certified Nutrition Specialist

Posted on September 24, 2011, in Dan's Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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