BEAUTY + FITNESS + NUTRITION + WELLNESS
|How to burn max fat|
Yesterday, I was of setting up one of my client’s new heart rate monitors when we started discussing his target heart rate zone. I was showing him, based on his age, what heart rate would put him at 65 percent and 85 percent of his heart rate maximum. Then he asked the question, “Why would you want me to aim for the higher percentage when it says right here that 65 percent is the fat-burning zone?” Good question.
First of all, here is the formula to estimate your maximum heart rate: (220-Age) = Maximum Heart Rate
This may seem like common sense to some, but I still get this question on an almost daily basis. Most of us want to burn fat. When you get on a cardio machine and you have the choice to hit the weight loss/fat burn option or the cardio option, I would 9.9 times out of 10 choose the cardio option. Why? At this higher percentage of your heart rate, you will burn so many more total calories that it won’t matter if you weren’t in a “fat-burn” zone. Let me explain.
Fat burn zone: “Lower intensity”: The theory is that you burn more fat when you exercise at a low intensity. This would be at about 60-70 percent of your max. That is, walking is better than running, and cycling slowly is better than cycling fast, and so on.
Cardio zone: “Higher intensity”: The theory is that you burn more carbs in this zone when you exercise at a higher intensity. This would be about 70-85 percent of your max.
The idea is that your body uses carbs more and more as exercise intensity rises--this is the basis for target heart zones and the fat-burning zone you see in books and on gym equipment.
Knowing this alone can be very deceiving and can have you wasting countless hours on the treadmill getting nowhere in your fat loss goals. In the fat burn zone you might be using up to 50 percent fat sources for your fuel but burn only 200 calories. The same duration of workout in the cardio zone might use only 40 percent fat sources but you might burn closer to 250 calories.
I don’t know about you, but I lead a busy life and if I’m going to workout, then it better be efficient and effective! This is the question I pose to my clients: “Would you rather have 50 percent of my money or 5 percent of Donald Trump’s money?” I think we all know the answer to that question! So, although the fat burn zone uses a higher percentage of fat for fuel, your total calories burned will be much much lower. At the end of the day, this is what matters. You are going to get a much bigger bang for your buck by working at a higher intensity and firing off more of those total calories!
Want to try a fun higher intensity cardio workout? Check this one out!
Treadmill Interval workout:
Warm up by walking 3-5 minutes
Pick a speed. If you are currently not much of a runner, then maybe your speed will be somewhere between 3.5 and 4.0 mph. If you are a runner, start somewhere between 5.0 and 6.5 mph depending upon your fitness level. Whichever speed you choose, alternate every minute between a 1.0 percent incline and a 5.0 percent incline. Your goal is to maintain your chosen speed each time the incline increases. You would repeat this alternation for a 20-30 minutes your first time, working up from there.
Then, cool down for 5 minutes.
Courtney Thomas is part of the team at Excel Wellness Studio that provides health, fitness and wellness tips exclusively for Good Health KC.