Misconceptions of Losing Weight in the ” Fat Burning Zone “

The term ” fat burning zone” has been used by gyms, doctors, magazines and so forth to help guide people into burning fat.  All good intentions but, lets look at the truth and find out why high intensity intervals done correctly and safely are the best way to trim unwanted body fat.

 Our bodies use certain fuel for certain levels of exercise ” movement” intensity.  I use the word movement next to exercise to clarify that we are moving all the time but, we choose to call it exercise only at specific moments that we have scheduled or chosen to “move” more than our “usual”.  My point is that we need food ” fuel” everyday to provide energy for our cells to produce movement and sustain life.  The types of fuel that we ingest have varying amounts of fat, carbohydrates, protein that will equal a sum of calories per day.  Our level of activity will determine how many calories we burn off on a given day.  Over time we create a balance between intake and burning.  If our intake is more than burning .. guess what we have a surplus and storage in the form of fat.

We have been told to burn this fat we need to train in a heart rate zone that uses fat as the primary fuel.  This is known to us as low level aerobic exercise.  Without getting too scientific we have 3 pathways to create energy for our muscles to use.  They are all working to some degree or percentage at any specific moment to create energy.  For instance two individuals go for a 30 minute workout. One of them walk and burns 200 calories 70% from fat totaling 140 fat calories.  The other runs for 30 minutes and burns 330 calories  60% of those calories being fat equaling 198 calories.  So a higher intensity draws less percentage wise from fat for fuel to sustain the workout but, burns more overall fat calories because of the energy demand.  Same amount of time two different intensities.  Take that same 30 minute time period and do intervals of sprints 30 seconds on and 1 minute off and your calories burnt go up to 550 while 45% are being from fat totaling 248 calories.  You can see the difference for a 30 minute workout of increasing intensity.  140 fat calories, 198 fat calories, and 248 fat calories respectively.

It’s clear that intensity plays a key role in burning fat.  While preparing to ramp the intensity of your exercising up, be careful to use a safe progression of volume along with flexibility, stability, strengthening, to prevent injury.  If you haven’t exercised in months perhaps the right place to start would be a 15 minute workout.  Jog one minute and walk one minute 3x/ week.  Next week go for 20 minutes 3x/ week. Next week go for 25 minutes .. and so forth.