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Staying in the Fat Burning Zone

Staying in the Fat Burning Zone
21 Mar

Staying in the Fat Burning Zone

One very useful tool for training that presents itself once you start tracking your fitness and your training is the optimum ‘fat burning zone’.

The fat burning zone is a somewhat controversial topic, as some people will claim that it doesn’t exist. Is this true?

Well yes and no. The argument really surrounds the perfect pace at which you should be training in order to burn the maximum amount of fat and while some people say you need to train more intensively, other people say you should train less intensively.

Maximum Heart Rate

The level that most people tell you to train is at 75% of your MHR. MHR is ‘Maximum Heart Rate’ and to get this figure, you just need to take your tracker, heart rate monitor or CV machine of choice and then train as intensively as you can (while remaining safe). You’ll find that your data shows the point at which you peaked and if you take that number, that is your MHR. 75%, according to many, is your optimum fat burning zone and the zone at which you should try to stay within when training in order to shed pounds.

Interestingly though, it seems that a higher level of intensity is going to be more useful for burning the maximum number of calories. Note here the distinction between calories and fat.

Burning The Calories

You see, it all comes down to the way in which your body burns the calories. When you work out at above 75% of your MHR, you enter an ‘anaerobic’ type of training, which means that you’ll need energy more quickly than your body can burn it for fuel. That means that the only source of energy is the glucose in the blood and at this point you’ve then stopped burning fat and started burning carbs.

But that doesn’t mean that high intensity training is useless. Because once you exit that high intensity training, your body will then start to get more of its energy from your fat stores because it has nowhere else to look. This means you actually burn more calories overall and more fat in the long-term because you change the metabolism of your body.

What Counts As High Intensity Training?

That’s about 90-95% of your MHR. But of course not everyone is going to want to train at 90-95% of their capacity as it will pose health risks if you’re elderly or if you have heart problems. For those who are willing to go intense, the next section on HIIT will sort you out. For everyone else, training in the 70-80% range is still useful and will still burn lots of calories. Either way, taking a look at your wrist will let you know how heart your body is working and whether you need to increase the intensity or lower it.

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