Recently, several new studies revealed that long, slow and boring cardio workouts actually SABOTAGE your natural ability to burn ugly belly fat. The fat burning zone is not the optimal heart rate to be burning fat. More overall fat loss occurs by exercising outside of the fat burning zone. See how. The Fat Burning Zone is a myth at best, or completely misleading and blatantly false at worst. Don't trust the labels on cardio machines.
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The Fat Burning Zone Myth: Don’t Be FooledClick here to download your book. So sure, burning calories low intensity is OK, but in addition to…not in lieu of the real workouts. The addition of volume that surpasses your offseason efforts is a recipe for disaster. To find the MHR: Ironically enough, the cardio zone, with its higher intensities will help you burn more calories in a shorter duration. Sree Apr 02, -
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. Well this, my friends, is why the fat burning zone myth is so attractive. 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. To keep things simple, during exercise your body draws energy from two places: Glycogen is stored carbohydrates in your muscles and liver. The fat burning zone was conceived because at lower exercise intensities more fat is burned relative to glycogen. Now you can hang out on the couch and lose a bunch of fat. I hope you are starting to smell something fishy with this idea of a fat burning zone.
You burn a lot more calories when you workout intensely than you do when you are sitting on the couch. The high intensity group will likely burn double the calories as the lower intensity group, or vs.
So now you can see you burn more fat calories at a higher exercise intensity than a lower exercise intensity vs. Not a good tradeoff. 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. When you exercise intensely such as during a HIIT workout , there is a metabolic disturbance that burns calories after the workout is completed.
This is known as the afterburn effect. Estimates of the afterburn effect vary wildly depending on the exercise method, the intensity of the workout, and even how its measured. In a study by Dr. Christopher Scott and the University of Southern Maine, the total calorie burn of low intensity exercise vs. A low intensity exercise group cycled at a steady rate of 3. The higher intensity exercise group required three 15 second sprints as fast as the subjects could run.
The cycling group burned 29 calories vs. 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.
This is the crux of the fat burning zone myth and the afterburn effect. 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.
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. 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. 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.
Want to burn fat without losing muscle fast? Then start my Week Body Transformation Program. But even in that I do quick flow Vinyasa which can be intense. I always see people walking on the treadmill at some steep inclines…somebody should tell them, its all about the HIIT! Suffice to say, I am a firm believer in incline training for several reasons: Increasing the strength of the hamstrings and glutes helps to strengthen, support, and stabilize the knee.
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. So sure, burning calories low intensity is OK, but in addition to…not in lieu of the real workouts.
HIIT is promoted as being one of the most effective cardio-based workouts for fat loss. Is this the way fat loss is supposed to work? Sree — Fat loss works by eating less calories than you burn.
HIIT can assist with this by helping you burn more calories in a shorter period of time and helping increase your metabolism post workout. The fact you feel 2x more tired is because the workout is more intense.
Did he say in the article that you burn more fat when your do lower intensity training? Your body burns more fat during lower intensity exercises, and more glucose during higher intensity exercise. It also encourages your body to maintain lean muscle, so that you mostly lose fat while following a reduced calorie diet. Personally, I think that doing days of HIIT and 1 lower-intensity cardio day is ideal in combination with strength training x per week.
This combination helps you build a solid cardiovascular base of fitness while also challenging your speed and power. At the end of the day, nutrition plays the biggest role in fat loss.
You have to eat fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose fat and weight. With the right combination of exercise and nutrition, you can absolutely get lean and strong. If you have more questions, feel free to ask. I was quite lean one year from doing a lot of walking and having less than enough sleep. Except for the walking to and from work, I hardly did any exercises. So it is possible for me to do low intensity exercises and lose weight. On the positive side, the 14 mini-workouts per week lowers my stress level.
I would think if the goal is fat loss, on top of the calorie deficit, the best exercise beyond weight training would be hours and hours of slow walking. To minimize the muscle loss. Am I missing something. I think HIIT would be better to increase your fitness level when you are not in calorie restriction. I used to worry about getting huffy and puffy and tired….. A lot of of people take up exercise not necessarily to get lean.
One of the benefits of regular moderate intensity cardio 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 think this effect is independent of the effect of cardio on fat loss. Would the cardioprotective benefits be the same for moderate cardio, high intensity cardio and HIIT?
Any studies which provide a clear answer? Best Cardio to Burn Fat. Yet Another helpful article Marc, you seem to have answered almost every question there is in fitness. Thank you for this article Marc. What I discovered that was pretty well working for me is the following: Using low intensity I achieved the same result in about one hour static bike but then no EPOC at all.
Thanks for the references Marc. A few times I got it up to ! 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. I assume this is true? Or does the body protect itself? I wonder if going to is too high, but I have never suffer any repercussions. Also, thanks again for another great article! I think intensity really depends on fitness level and age. In my opinion, if you are concerned about your workout intensity, I would wear a heart rate monitor and cross reference how you feel with your heart rate.
Also consider as you get in better shape, it will be harder to maintain a higher heart rate. I am new to workouts, started them a couple of months ago. 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.
I am on my 50s, lots of work, no time to lose with unnefective techniques. I can tell you that your site and your propositions, methods are the most logic I ever found. They really are bringing me results. I subscribe to your site with another one as the basis for information for my workout programs. Thank you for that.
I do not want to get out of the subject of this article, but by reading your comment above on the nausea feeling. I used to practice karate when a teenager. I remember having strong nauseas at that time when doing the aerobic exercises. As I grew older, nausea reduced and since 10 years ago disappeared no matter how much I do aerobic exercise, including HIIT. Is that something I should check?
Thank you for your advice. Thanks for the kind words regarding the site and happy to hear you are doing well with the workouts! I gave you a new topic to write on ;b The Max Heart Rate article slipped under my radar. That explains everything, and I think I am good for my high end zone. I had my V02max and lactic threshold tested not too long ago. Doc said I could improve on the lactic threshold a bit but but the VO2max looked fine.
Hey, there is another article topic.