How to Find (and Use) Your Fat-Burning Zone


Using the diagonal sled-type leg press machine.
Image via Wikipedia

Reblogged: from Huffington Post                                                                                                                           Your body’s most efficient energy source is fat.

Just one pound of stored fat can provide about 3,600 calories of energy, which is far more than most people actually burn in a single day. In comparison, a pound of storage protein or carbohydrate provides less than half that much energy.

Since it’s so efficient to use as energy, your body relies primarily on fat during rest and during relatively slow and easy physical activity. But once you begin moving quickly, your body begins to burn more carbohydrates, since fat doesn’t provide energy as quickly as carbohydrates. When you need to get from point A to point B quickly (like a running race), or need to hoist a heavy object overhead (like weight training), your body needs more immediate energy, and that’s where carbohydrates come in. They don’t provide as much energy, but they certainly provide it far faster than fat.

So when you move from a standstill to a walk to a jog to an all-out sprint, your body begins to tap into carbohydrates more and more, while gradually reducing reliance on fat as a fuel.

Of course, it’s important to remember that as you move faster, you’re burning more overall calories, too — so while the percentage of fat used as a fuel is decreasing, the total fat calories you burn might still be increasing since your overall calorie burn is significantly increasing. And this is where the “maximum fat-burning zone” comes in.

If you burn 200 calories per hour while walking, and get 60 percent of those calories from fat, then you burn 120 fat calories per hour. But if you burn 600 calories per hour while jogging, and only burn 40 percent fat during that time, you burn 240 calories of fat per hour, twice as many as when you were walking. You’re burning more overall fat calories, but using less fat as a percentage of your overall fuel utilization. Using this concept, you can approximate the point at which fat burning peaks during exercise — aka, your “maximum fat-burning zone.”

The maximum fat-burning zone typically occurs at 45-65 percent of your maximum heart rate, and that is the calculation ordinarily used by personal trainers or gym machines. They’ll take the number 220, subtract your age to find your maximum heart rate, and then take 45-65 percent of that number to find your maximum fat-burning zone.

But the result you get from this method is highly variable and tends to be inaccurate, primarily because your maximum heart rate is highly variable, and that 220 equation doesn’t pinpoint it very well. So here is a better way to find your maximum fat-burning zone:

Warm up on a bicycle for 10 minutes. An indoor bicycle is better, since there’s no traffic, hills, etc.

  1. Pedal at your maximum sustainable pace for 20 minutes. You should be breathing hard and your legs should be burning, but you should be able to maintain the same intensity for the full 20 minutes. If you’re looking at RPM, go for about 70-90 pedal turns per minute.
  • Record your average heart rate during those 20 minutes by using a heart rate monitor or the handles on an exercise machine.
  • Subtract 20 beats from that heart rate. Add and subtract three beats from the resulting number to get a range, and that is your maximum fat burning zone.

For example, if your average heart rate was 160, 160-20 is 140, 140+3 is 143, 140-3 is 137, and so your maximum fat-burning zone is when you have a heart rate of 137-143 beats per minute.

Compared to the results that I have obtained from hundreds of individuals in a professional exercise physiology lab with all sorts of gas masks and gadgets, this method obtains very similar results.

Finally, remember that the maximum fat-burning doesn’t necessarily burn a high number of calories; and if you do all your exercise in that zone, you won’t necessarily develop strong lungs or muscles, or much fitness or athleticism. As a matter of fact, because they burn so many calories and boost your metabolism so much, hard cardio bursts and weight training help you lose fat much faster than exercising in your maximum fat-burning zone.

So your ideal workout program should combine cardiovascular exercise in your maximum fat-burning zone (for example, in the morning or on easier, recovery days) with a combination of resistance training and cardio intervals that go above the fat-burning zone (for example, on afternoons or alternate days). Here is a sample workout week that incorporates the fat-burning zone:

  • Day 1: Strength training — 30-60 minutes
  • Day 2: Peak fat-burning zone cardio — 30-60 minutes
  • Day 3: Cardio intervals — 30-60 minutes
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: Strength training — 30-60 minutes
  • Day 6: Peak fat-burning zone cardio — 30-60 minutes
  • Day 7: Cardio intervals — 30-60 minutes

With the workout above, you give your body a chance to burn fat fast with the resistance training and cardio intervals, but you also get to utilize easier days to burn fat in your maximum fat-burning zone, without quite as much strain on the body.

So now that you know how to find your maximum fat-burning zone, it’s time to head to the gym and do your test!

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “How to Find (and Use) Your Fat-Burning Zone

  1. mythineats says:

    This is great advice. I think that everyone knows that this is the best way to burn fat, but we always just forget and then you read and article or a blog and you are reminded. So thanks for the reminder….always much appreciated.

  2. Skinny Gal says:

    mytopweightloss,

    Thank you regarding the post titled How to Find (and Use) Your Fat-Burning Zone « mytopweightloss. It so happens that in these days I just had been talking to friends and neighbors regarding this theme and for the most part We are in agreement with what you are expressing. I happen to be talking about this kind of issue a great deal not too long ago together with friends and neighbors so that with some luck this will help me make my position.

    I would need to make a request and that is that it would be great if you could get into a little more depth. Or perhaps you are able to point us to a few additional sites where we are able to read more about this.

    One last thing, Have you come across anything concerning MUFAs (Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids). If so then would you please publish an article about it?

  3. Hibartito says:

    I have discovered this content that they are truly insightful, nevertheless the information and facts are not at all prefer to different. I happen to be your current long-lasting site visitors finally!You wished the best quote into your information site? I have faith that Keeping it! It is rather appropriate for your needs. Despite the fact probably some more color. Hi there! Adore it. My girlfriends adore it toooo. You should earn the exact Sammy’s. Very good give good results and also appreciate your goods Now i am Mika, newer on this page! That have good luck. gee, expectant mum, you are the ideal! i appreciate bringing you to help you new jersey. Attractive undertaking together with the changing. My wife and i written any critiques.Using you the greatest contributing factor to transfer to help Big apple.
    http://uscm.03b2.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=4691
    http://www.swish-designs.co.uk/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=26542
    http://www.janbazaar.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=15264
    http://femflex.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=345971
    http://www.onestopgamerz.com/forum/profile.php?id=2515

  4. Toney Meche says:

    Appreciate it for helping out, good information.

  5. I noticed that many visitors think the same way I do regarding your article.

  6. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to present one thing again and help others like you helped me.

  7. Perfectly pent articles, regards for information. “The earth was made round so we would not see too far down the road.” by Karen Blixen.

  8. Parker Valle says:

    Hello there, I found your website by way of Google at the same time as searching for a similar subject, your web site came up, it seems great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  9. I have recently started a website, the info you provide on this website has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  10. Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  11. hybrid cars says:

    Great post, I think blog owners should larn a lot from this weblog its rattling user genial. So much great information on here :D.

  12. Thanks for this post. I definitely agree with what you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my father so hopefully this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s