The fat burning zone is among the most pervasive myths in the fitness business that simply won’t go away. Magazines continuously encourage work outs in the fat burning zone as an effective means to burn off fat and most cardio machines all over the world have some sort of sticker, or picture plainly observable. The thought is if you keep your weight loss heart rate in the “fat burning zone,” that’s about 55% to 65% of your work out to optimally burn off fat. then you are going to magically burn off more fat than at higher levels of exercise intensity.
Why work more difficult, when you’re able to take it easy and burn off more fat, right? Well this, my friends, is why the fat burning zone myth is so attractive. The truth is at best, the fat burning zone is quite deceptive, and at worst, it’s complete misinformation. This post will teach you 2 special reasons why the fat burning zone is a myth so you can work out to optimally burn off fat if that’s your aim.
The Fat Burning Zone, Weight Loss Heart Rate and Slimming
To comprehend the fat burning zone myth, you must understand how your body uses energy during exercise. To keep matters uncomplicated, during exercise your body draws energy from two locations: fat or glycogen stores. Glycogen is stored carbs in your muscles and liver.
The fat burning zone was imagined because at lower exercise intensities more fat is burned off relative to glycogen. Isn’t this amazing? Now you can hang out on the sofa and lose a group of fat. I hope you’re beginning to smell something fishy with this notion of a fat burning zone.
At 50% of your max weight loss heart rate, your body burns a ratio of 60% fat to 40% glycogen. At 75% of your max heart rate, the ratio is 35% to 65%, and at even higher intensities, the ratio is even lower.
So why would you need to work out so hard?
The reason why is because it’s all about calories. You burn off a lot more calories when you work out intensely than you do when you’re sitting on the sofa.
So here’s what the breakdown looks like assuming 30 minutes of exercise for a low vs. high intensity group. The high intensity group will likely burn double the calories as the lower intensity group, or 200 vs. 400 calories.
So now you can see you burn more fat calories at a higher exercise intensity than a lower exercise intensity (140 vs. 120) despite a smaller percentage of fat being burned. However , I understand you want more persuasive because the higher intensity exercise represents just a 20% change in fat calories burned off for a 50% increase in intensity. Not an excellent tradeoff.
There’s something significant we’re missing in these computations of weight losing heart rate, which you’ll learn in the next section.
The Fat Burning Zone Doesn’t Have Any Afterburn Effect
When you work out at low exercise intensities, you burn hardly any calories after the exercise is finished. When you work out intensely such as during a HIIT workout. There’s a metabolic disruption that burns off calories after the workout is finished. This is referred to as the afterburn effect .
Approximations of the afterburn effect fluctuate wildly determined by the exercise process, the intensity of the work out, and even how its quantified.
In a study by Dr. Christopher Scott and the University of Southern Maine, the total calorie burn of low intensity exercise vs. high intensity exercise was examined.A low intensity exercise group cycled at a steady speed of 3.5 minutes. The higher intensity exercise group needed three 15 second sprints as quick as the areas could run.
What was the difference in calorie burn off?
The cycling group burned 29 calories vs. 4 calories for the sprinting group during the exercise. However , when you consider the calories burned after exercise, or the afterburn effect, the numbers seem substantially different – 39 calories burned off for the cycling group vs. 65 calories burned off for the sprinting group. A astonishing 95% of the total calorie burn off happened after the sprinting exercise .
Keep in mind the cycling group exercised for almost 5x longer than the sprint group (3.5 minutes vs. 45 seconds).
If this isn’t enough convincing, one study showed a significant amount of fat was broken down from fat stores in the muscle following high intensity cycling sprints. During high intensity exercise, you’re burning mainly glucose, but after is when you burn off the fat.
So, Don’t Be Fooled!
While low intensity exercise definitely has its place within a workout regimen, relying on exercise at weight loss optimal heart rate to burn off fat isn’t an efficient strategy. For active individuals, interval training and circuit training work outs are significantly more efficient to enable you to burn far more calories in not as much time, and burn off more fat in the procedure.
With all that said, I highly recommend not relying on exercise to “burn fat” to get lean. In the circumstances of a fat loss program, exercise helps you keep your muscle, stay healthy, make small increases to your metabolism, and burn off some fat. It’s a scientific fact you have to consume less calories than you burn to lose fat. That’s why nutrition has a considerably more strong impact on this equation and therefore, it should be your primary focus.