The fat burning zone is one of the most pervasive myths in the fitness industry that just won’t go away.
This article will teach you 2 specific reasons why the fat burning zone is a myth so you can workout to optimally burn fat if that is your goal.
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 here’s what the breakdown looks like assuming 30 minutes of exercise for a low vs.
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. When you exercise at low exercise intensities, you burn very few calories after the exercise is completed.
Estimates of the afterburn effect vary wildly depending on the exercise method, the intensity of the workout, and even how its measured.
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. You can also do it every day without concern, if I walked an hour every morning before breakfast that would burn a lot of calories over a month. Would the cardioprotective benefits be the same for moderate cardio, high intensity cardio and HIIT ?
Your writing always make a clear difference between all what’s posted on the internet. It’s been 8 months now that I tested various Hiit methods and grabbed data with a cardiofrequence meter. Very long and efficient EPOC, I could feel I was kinda breatless for hours after the workout. Using low intensity I achieved the same result in about one hour (static bike) but then no EPOC at all. On a search I saw you can damage your heart doing HIIT but I was not able to find out much in the way of details. I do wear a HR monitor (which is why I knew where I was at) and I know my HR tends to run a bit high anyhow (I think I am one of those high beaters?). Hi Ben (sorry I’m not Mark) but the elliptical is not as high impact as running, which is why it is not as hard on your knees. I used to be down on extended periods of strolling for exercise, but I have come to realized that one of its most underrated functions is to get people in the worst shape out of the house and away from easy snacking when they are most bored.
Agreed Katherine, going for a walk is definitely a good way to curb the desire to mindlessly snack and get your body moving.
Does low-intensity, long-duration exercise really "burn fat" at rates higher than highly aerobic exercise? So, if one is fat, wants to lose it, does not have a lot of $ to buy extra food, and has all the time in the world (e.g.
At 9 times the fat burning power of low intensity exercise I know what i'm going to be doing to lose weight! High impact workouts are better at reducing body fat than low impact workouts and the point of this study was to debunk the conventional wisdom given by health professionals.
This is a perfect example of how studies are not read carefully, and then some extraordinary claims are based upon this. Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged medical-science or ask your own question. Now, if you go on an all day hike or four-hour bike ride, you will burn a significant amount of body fat (that is, if you don't sustain an overuse injury in the process). In last month's CrossFit Journal, I said that we must always focus on performance when assessing fitness. One of these supposedly scientific nuggets of accepted "wisdom" is the belief, espoused by many personal trainers and reflected in the preset programs on most cardio machines, that the best way to lose fat is to work at a moderate intensity. This month I want to discuss the energy balance equation in relation to diet and CrossFit training. Hi Jared, I perfectly understand the concept of burning more fat at 70% vs 50% over the same amount of time.
The CrossFit Journal is a chronicle of the empirically driven, clinically tested, and community developed CrossFit program. If you are trying to lose weight by burning fat, it is important to monitor your heart rate while exercising.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends an exercise intensity range of 55-69% of the maximal heart rate for beginners and 55%-90% for experienced exercisers. Mode: Continuous rhythmic, aerobic exercise- may include low level cardio respiratory activities and light muscular endurance exercise. Below is a chart you may use to determine your maximum heart rate in relationship to your age. Calculating your target heart is one of the methods used to show you the intensity you are working out at.

One the most important tools these days to achieve a great physique and lose fat as fast as possible is a Heart Rate Monitor; it helps keep accountability in workouts and gives trackable data when following any diet and workout. If you are trying to burn fat and you are 30 years old, if your Heart Rate goes above 133 then you are possibly burning muscle instead of fat, if you keep it below the 133 at like 130 or so, you are burning the most amount of calories from fat and avoiding the muscle being used as fuel. Muscle and sugar are used when your Heart Rate goes above your fat burning zone, this is why I like everyone to wear a watch; the watch allows you to check by the second or minute what your heart rate is enabling you to control it. I have labeled each zone so you can easily recognize where you should be training based on what activity you are completing. If you are going HARD CORE or following a workout called Hard Core at the gym — you would want your heart rate to go into the yellow zone many times during your workout and possibly pop into the green when you are hitting maximum effort or for example performing  a HIIT session.
If you are already in great shape, you might want to keep your heart rate just above the black line and if you are a beginner, keep your heart rate just below the line. Using the exercise zones graph and keeping these numbers in the back of your head will help your train SMARTER and really use your time in the gym to your advantage.
I created this graph to give you an idea of where your heart rate should be while training specific muscle groups. I have trained for thousands of hours and I have coached others for even more helping me come up this graph; it is to be used as a reference for your talk with yourself about effort, accountability and your goal. While training anyone of the muscle groups above, your heart rate should at some point after you are warmed up hit far into the red in each set. If you want a your legs to be tone and your butt to lose fat and your heart rate averages 105 during your leg workout; you are not trying. You have to push beyond that pain threshold and uncomfortable heart rate reading by the heart rate monitor to earn what you are saying or believing you want. If you want great arms and you are training biceps and your heart rate does not hit well above 115 on the heart rate monitor sometime during your set, you are not trying!!!! You will not grow your arms and you are wasting most of your time; unless of course this is just an excuse for time away from the family, if that is the case, go to another site.
Standing bicep curls use a lot more muscles because you are standing; if you are seated, less muscle groups would be working. If you need to get your hr into the zones and you are having a hard time, watch some videos and learn some tips. This graph was made to help members know if they are trying hard enough while training with resistance. Everyones heart rate drops at a different pace and because the rest times differ on the workouts, the red part of the graph is not intended to represent a zone you have to stay in, it is a zone you must hit as far into the red as you can, for as long as you can, while training a specific muscle group.
The blue part of the graph is not important, you do not have to wait until your heart rate is back into the blue to start again; but if your heart rate does drop back into the blue after being very high in the red with a 30-25 second rest, you are getting into great shape. If you have any questions, email me or ask the question in TEAM DK, the closed facebook support group for heart rate monitored Kimmerleplan members only.
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 two places: fat or glycogen stores. You burn a lot more calories when you workout intensely than you do when you are sitting on the couch. When you exercise intensely such as during a HIIT workout, there is a metabolic disturbance that burns calories after the workout is completed. Christopher Scott and the University of Southern Maine, the total calorie burn of low intensity exercise vs.
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.
Personally, I’d stick with what does not cause you pain (your knees are probably telling you something). The relative fraction of energy from fat is higher in the fat burning zone, but the total number of calories burnt is much lower.
The people you see who religiously do 30-60 minutes on the elliptical machine look about the same as they did months ago, don't they? After finishing an intense (but short) workout, your metabolism may be higher for up to 14 hours afterward. If you have limited time to workout, interval training will help you reach your goals faster.

Specifically, I argued that body fat measurement not only is futile (from an accuracy standpoint) but, more importantly, is irrelevant to athletes focused on what they can do rather than how they look. A version of the graph above appears on the walls of innumerable gyms and training studios across the United States and Canada, graphically illustrating the supposedly "right" exercise intensity (as a percentage of an individual's mathematically estimated maximum heart rate) for maximizing fat loss. The light breathing will consume more fat per litre, while the heavy breathing will consume less per litre. My question is, if an average crossfit workout is say 15-20 minutes how can it burn more fat calories than a usual one hour work out at the gym. Our mission is to provide a venue for contributing coaches, trainers, athletes, and researchers to ponder, study, debate, and define fitness and collectively advance the art and science of optimizing human performance. The maximum heart rate in beats per minute (bpm) can be estimated by subtracting the age from 220. How the heck do I know if I am really trying as hard as I can, how do I really know that this was a 1000 calorie run or workout, how do I really know if I gave it my all?
The high intensity group will likely burn double the calories as the lower intensity group, or 200 vs. 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. But when you take into account the calories burned after exercise, or the afterburn effect, the numbers look much different – 39 calories burned for the cycling group vs.
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. Before starting, I made a meticulous research on how to do it and methods in more than a hundred sites (I am not exagerating), papers, and other sources. 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. He's thus better off doing the low intensity workout as his benefit per session is improved. A smaller percentage of a bigger total can be better than a larger percentage of a smaller total. But if you don't have 4-8 hours every day to work out, high intensity is the way to go (assuming a level of intensity that is safe for you). But at the end of a slow, steady jog, your body will be back to it's steady state within an hour and you will be right back where you started.
That said, fat loss is still a major and valid concern for many trainees out there, and the fitness industry is full of schemes and strategies for burning body fat. So it makes sense that if you burn 2.43 kcal of fat per minute you will burn 73 kcal of fat in 30 min. For example, a 20 year old college student has an estimated maximum heart rate of 200 (220-20).
I thought it was an error the first time, but it happened a second time and both times I was so tired afterward I slept for the rest of the day. Another site commented that it is hard to know one’s true max heart rate as it is really hard to get your heart to max out, and the estimates are broad estimates.
You should be doing something like weights though to counter not doing high impact cardio to keep your bones strong.
And why are we, CrossFitters, getting such amazing results while our workouts last a mere 20 minutes? A higher metabolism post workout means you are burning more calories, even if you're sitting at a desk most of the day.
The higher intensity exercise group required three 15 second sprints as fast as the subjects could run. A surprising 95% of the total calorie burn occurred after the sprinting exercise!2 Keep in mind the cycling group exercised for almost 5x longer than the sprint group (3.5 minutes vs.
I can tell you that your site and your propositions, methods are the most logic I ever found.
My grandmother's high intensity will be drastically different from a college athlete's high intensity; it's all relative.
It is important to remember that whenever intensities are estimated, the duration of the exercise session and the initial fitness level must be considered.
Your body will need time to adapt to the stimulus, as it is vastly different from watching tv on a stairclimber. I subscribe to your site with another one as the basis for information for my workout programs.
I do not want to get out of the subject of this article, but by reading your comment above on the nausea feeling. As I grew older, nausea reduced and since 10 years ago disappeared no matter how much I do aerobic exercise, including HIIT.

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