Monday, October 18, 2010

Your Fat Burning Zone And Why Its Bogus

Many aerobic zealots as I like to call them refer to the fat burning zone whenever someone brings up the point that slow, boring, cardio is not the best way to lose body fat. They go on and on about all these studies that show your fat burning zone is the ideal condition to lose weight. But, often times they do not understand how to read a proper study nor understand proper exercise physiology.

Basically, your fat burning zone is when your body primarily burns fat as fuel during exercise. This happens when your heart rate is working at 65% of its predicted max. To get this stat, take 220 and subtract it from your age. This is your age predicted maximum heart rate. From there, multiply that number by.65 and you get your ideal fat burning zone heart rate.

Now here is the interesting point. If you look at any exercise physiology text book, you will find that the entire process for your body to start burning fat as fuel during exercise can take up to 20 minutes and the better shape you are in, the faster this process can be. Now, another thing is the longer you perform steady state cardio, the less calories you are going to burn each time. Essentially, your body adapts to the demand that is placed on it. The only way to combat this is to run for a longer period of time or increase the intensity, but there is a ceiling on both of these factors.

So how can you side track all of this stuff, get better results in a shorter amount of time? Simple, its high intensity cardiovascular exercise. By performing cardio routines such as sprints, or intervals, you are revving up the body's metabolism and fat burning capacity. During this type of exercise, the primary fuel used is carbohydrates. However, once you cease exercise, your metabolism will be at an increased level for some time as compared to steady state cardio.

This means you will be burning more calories at rest as compared to steady state cardio which will burn only a few calories in comparison. This type of phenomenon is called elevated post oxygen consumption, or EPOC. EPOC is positively correlated with metabolism. When you perform high intensity exercise, you create an oxygen debt within your body. Therefore, you need to consume more oxygen. When this happens, metabolism increases. This all goes on so that the body can return to homeostasis.

All in all, high intensity exercise kicks butt when it comes to losing body fat as compared to your typical cardio junkie trying to get into his or her fat burning zone. It's just not worth it.

View the original article here

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