This article will teach you 2 specific reasons why the fat burning zone is a myth so you can workout to optimally burn fat.
To understand the fat burning zone myth, you need to understand how your body uses energy during exercise. The fat burning zone was conceived because at lower exercise intensities more fat is burned relative to glycogen. So now you can see you burn more fat calories at a higher exercise intensity than a lower exercise intensity (140 vs.
There is something important we are missing in these calculations, which you will learn in the next section. While low intensity exercise certainly has its place within an exercise regimen, relying on exercise in the fat burning zone to burn fat is not an efficient approach.
It’s been 8 months now that I tested various Hiit methods and grabbed data with a cardiofrequence meter. First, the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) says that fat is metabolized greatest when the body is at rest. The body does burn a higher percentage of calories from fat in the fat burning zone, however, at higher intensities (80 or higher), you burn more calories. This review aimed to evaluate high intensity interval exercise and moderate intensity continuous exercise to see which improved the lifestyle of individuals with chronic cardiorespiratory diseases.
This entry was posted in Fitness Training, Resistance Training, Weight loss and tagged caloric burn, Cardio, cardiovascular, fitness, weight loss on September 4, 2014 by Joshua Stone.
Magazines constantly promote workouts in the fat burning zone as an effective way to burn fat and most cardio machines around the world have some type of sticker, or image clearly visible (see image to your right). The truth is at best, the fat burning zone is very misleading, and at worst, it’s complete misinformation.
To keep things simple, during exercise your body draws energy from primarily two places: fat stores, or glycogen stores. Contrary to popular belief, getting up early in the morning to do low intensity cardio on an empty stomach will not help you lose more body fat versus other more intense methods. In the context of a fat loss program, exercise helps you keep your muscle, stay fit, make modest increases to your metabolism, and burn some fat. I loathe cardio so I do it all as HIIT & I rest as little as possible when strength training.
So sure, burning calories low intensity is OK, but in addition to…not in lieu of the real workouts.
At the end of an HIIT session, I see that I burn about 25-30% more calories than a normal cardio workout but I feel more than 2X tired.
One of the benefits of regular moderate intensity cardio ( 20-30 minutes of high heart rate exercise at least 3 times per day) is supposed to be a reduction in the risk of coronary artery heart disease and also prevent hypertension, metabolic syndrome etc.
I can get my heart rate up to 182-184 (Which is over 100% according to the max heart rate calculators ;b) and always do when doing HIIT.
Basically the idea is that if you exercise at around 70% of maximal heart rate for prolonged periods your body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat. In other words, the person who does a short and intense workout will burn more total calories from fat than the dude who cruises on the treadmill at an easy pace – although the treadmill zombie may burn more proportional calories from fat. Comparison of two-hand kettlebell exercise and graded treadmill walking: effectiveness as a stimulus for cardiorespiratory fitness.
It was designed to determine whether kettlebell exercise would produce similar cardiovascular stress to that of walking. But I know you need more convincing because the higher intensity exercise represents only a 20% difference in fat calories burned for a 50% increase in intensity. For busy people, interval training and circuit training workouts are substantially more efficient to help you burn far more calories in much less time, and burn more fat in the process.
Because it’s a scientific fact that you must eat less calories than you burn to lose fat, nutrition has a much more powerful impact on this equation and consequently, it should be your main focus. As long as your heart rate is getting up to where it should be on the elliptical, your cardio system isn’t going to know the difference. If I had a dollar for each time I heard the phrase, “… but I need to do cardio so I can burn fat and lose weight…” I’d be rich. However, the aforementioned wellness companies misinterpret this and say that the closer the exercise level is to low intensity, the greater the fat loss.
A meta-analysis compared the mean difference between High Intensity Interval Training and Moderate Intensity Cardiovascular Training.
You should be doing something like weights though to counter not doing high impact cardio to keep your bones strong. The population included had some form of cardiorespiratory disease, such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension, metabolic syndrome or obesity. Have you seen those ridiculous diagrams on cardio machines that say 55%-65% of max heart rate is the “Fat Burning Zone” (see image). We also have trusted magazines like Women’s Health and Fitness that give you a Fat Burning Zone calculator.
The authors concluded that high intensity interval training significantly increases cardiorespiratory fitness by almost double of those who participated in moderate intensity continuous exercise. If you plug data in to the Women’s Health and Fitness calculator you will see that they also recommend you work at approximately 60% max heart rate. But if you want to lose weight and get fit, stay off the cardio equipment and get your heart pumping with some resistance training.
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