I keep coming across wrong thinking about the fat burning zone in multiple areas so someone upstairs must be telling me something.
There is a sliding scale from 100% fat, which is being burned at the very low end of exertion off the chart above, all the way up to 100% carbs which are being burned at the top of the exertion chart in the anaerobic zone. But let’s put this guy back on the treadmill and have him move twice as fast at around 6mph.
To top it all off, he burned twice as many calories as he did in the fat burning zone, which will help him lose fat faster. So the bottom line is, in general, ditch the idea of a fat burning zone and learn to work at higher intensities.
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). Proper nutrition addresses blood glucose control, macronutrient proportion (the amount of fat to carbohydrates to protein), and caloric restrictions based on your goals of maintaining lean body mass, building lean body mass, or reducing body fat.
The zone diet is recommended as a base guide that addresses these issues, specifically the issue of quantity: including portion control and daily caloric intake, as well as a macronutrient ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% Fat. This next pdf, entitled 'Myth of the Fat Burning Zone', describes the long standing misconception that low intensity workouts can lead to greater fat loss.
The usual recommendation is to keep your heart rate really low like around 50-65% of your maximum heart rate and if you can still hold a conversation then you’re at the right level.
At the one end you can think of walking or slow jogging and at the other end imagine full out sprinting.
So working out in the fat burning zone for 20:00 got us 64 calories of fat burned and working out above that burned 90 calories of fat — nearly 50% more fat calories burned!!


A workout in the fat burning zone would have to be twice as long to get this caloric expenditure. From experience I can tell you that if people can work out 3x a week or 6x a week, they’re more likely to actually make 3x a week because of their busy schedules. 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.
Simply stated, world class nutrition can be summed up as: "Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. The Whole 9 Resources cover more in depth look at Primal & Paleo Diets, Why Grains are bad, as well as discussions on Dairy, Legumes, Peanuts, and more.
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These better sources are like a ligthhouse on a stormy night — they help you navigate your way through all the ignorance. All the ranges in between show a split of fat and carbs being burned with the percentage of fat going down and the percentage of carbs being burned going up as the exertion increases. About 67% of those calories are from fat so that would be 64 calories of fat burned and 33% are from carbs, making that 32 calories from carbs burned. So the percentage of fat burned is lower, making this seem like a worse option than the fat burning zone.


And there’s always the option of working harder 3x a week and doing 2-3 recovery workouts at a lower heart rate each week. 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.
The Whole 9 resource page includes even more web sites and discussions including Mark's Daily Apple, which is another great site full of information. Since the percentage of fat is higher than the percentage of carbs, this looks like he’s burning crazy fat. 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. My grandmother's high intensity will be drastically different from a college athlete's high intensity; it's all relative. Your body will need time to adapt to the stimulus, as it is vastly different from watching tv on a stairclimber.



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