Stay Away From The Zone!
Posted November 9, 2010on:
Have you ever wondered about the “Fat Burning Zone” label that you see on some of the cardio equipment at your gym? Well… sadly, it’s misleading. Isn’t it weird that you can burn more fat while not in the “Fat Burning Zone”? True!
Here’s the deal: when you’re working at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate (so, not that heavy a workout), your body takes a majority of its energy from fat. At higher percentages, your body will burn a greater percentage of carbs (while still burning some fat). Great, you say, why don’t I just work out at that lower intensity, since I want to burn fat? (Actually, since fat is our major fuel source at rest, why don’t we just lie around all day??!?!)
Simple math, I’m afraid. At the higher intensities, you burn more overall calories, period. So, even though you burn a lower percentage of calories from fat at 80 percent of your maximum, you burn more fat calories than you do at 50 percent of your max… simply by burning more total calories.
Not saying that you have to go all-out in your workouts every single time. There is a time and place for an easy recovery walk, or taking a lighter day when you feel a bit under the weather. A lighter workout (and burning some calories) is better than no workout at all (and burning only the calories you use to press the remote)! But do try to challenge yourself with some workouts that get you huffing and puffing. Hey, it’s a great reminder that we’re alive!
So, what are you doing today? (elliptical/Pilates/kickboxing for me!)