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. People aiming for weight loss and accelerated fat burning, are often asked to aim for the ideal heart rate, to burn fat during exercise. Weight loss is all about losing the excess baggage we carry around, through regular exercise, designed to achieve an optimal heart rate, to burn a maximum amount of calories in general. The rate at which we burn fats and calories in general, is dependent on the heart rate achieved during exercise. However, at a given point of time, the percentage of fats burnt, depends on the heart rate, the carbohydrate reserves of the body, and basically the overall energy requirement.


However, for weight loss, what matters is how many calories you use up during exercise everyday. For people who cannot exercise at high intensity due to age or health reasons, a low-intensity exercise for longer duration, at a medium heart rate can be effective. There is an established formula called the modified Karvonen formula, devised for this purpose.
The main thing to understand is that regular and consistent exercise will lead to a faster weight loss. Staying in the fat burning zone of the heart rate range, through low-intensity and long workouts, will enable you to burn fat more efficiently and rapidly. 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 rate achieved, is in turn, directly proportional to the degree of intensity achieved during exercise.
It has been observed that during low-intensity workouts, the degree of fats burnt, is slightly more than carbohydrates. Be it a high-intensity exercise in a short time or low-intensity exercise for a longer time, as long as you are burning a sizable amount of calories every day, your weight loss program will be on track. Those who can, should aim for a high-intensity exercise as it contributes to greater burning of calories.
To do that, count your pulse for a minute after waking up or after you are sufficiently relaxed.
The percentage of weight loss is directly proportional to the effort you put into it, on a daily basis.


However, you could also aim for a high-intensity workout, which also leads to the same output, in a shorter period of time.
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. Of course, there is no absolute range at which more fats are burnt as it varies from person to person. To design an exercise routine, that is customized to achieve your weight loss target, taking your physical capacity into consideration, consult a qualified fitness trainer.
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. Adding my RHR to both these high-end and low-end limits of the target rate to burn fat, will give me the range.
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.
Medical research has revealed that the ideal burning rate would be in the range of 65% to 85% of the maximum. 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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