• October 28, 2021

Fat burning zone vs. cardio training zone

Too often I have seen gym members spend countless hours on the treadmill walking waiting for the fat to melt off their bodies.

The belief is that if you are in the “fat burning zone” you are maximizing your fat loss. To get a clear idea of ​​whether this belief is true or false, we must first define the “fat burning zone” and what the “cardio training zone” is.

The fat burning zone is ‘Low Intensity Cardio’, where your heart rate is between 60 and 70% of your maximum heart rate. This heart rate range is achieved by getting up, walking briskly, or jogging. Will you burn fat, yes, but only 50% of the total calories you eat come from fat? If you maintain that level of intensity after 20 minutes, 70-80% of calories now come from fat and only 20-30% from carbohydrates. But this is the time that most people stop anyway.

The cardio training zone is ‘High Intensity Cardio’ and your heart rate is between 70 and 85% of your maximum heart rate.

Maximum heart rate can be estimated using the following formula:

(220 – Age) = Maximum heart rate

Example: (220-28) = 192 b.pm (beats per minute) is the maximum heart rate.

fat burning zone – low intensity zone 192 x 60% – 70% = 115 – 134b.pm

cardio training zone – high intensity zone 192 x 70% – 85% = 134 – 163b.pm

So is the “fat burning zone” the best way to lose fat?

You better sit down for this one … the answer is no.

Although the “fat burning zone” uses a higher percentage of fat for fuel; you need to take into account the big picture of calories burned. Below is a table comparing the two training zones.

Low intensity training burns 50% fat for fuel, for example: 100 calories x 50% = 50 calories from fat

High intensity training burns 40% fat for fuel, for example: 160 calories x 40% = 64 calories from fat

Say, for example, you burn 100 calories in 20 minutes of low intensity exercise compared to 160 calories in 10 minutes of high intensity exercise, you have still burned more total fat when doing high intensity exercise.

The bottom line:

For people new to exercise, it is recommended to start in this low intensity zone (60 – 70% of maximum heart rate). There will be some benefit in the first 2-3 weeks, initially you may experience even some weight loss.

But after this initial stage, little by little we need to increase the intensity of our routine. Remember, this increase corresponds to 70 – 85% of the Maximum Hart Rate. Maintaining a higher intensity of exercise for longer can be very challenging at times. In these cases, what is called interval training represents a powerful tool. This means that we can increase the intensity level for a short period of time (30 seconds – 2 min) returning after each interval to a basic intensity level. For example, an initial intensity corresponding to 60% of the FCM. First interval with an increase to 80% of the FCM, maintaining this level for 1 minute, returning to a FCM of 60% for 2-3 minutes. and starting a new cycle

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