Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mythbusters: Fat Burning Zone

A new lil' segment for y'all. Our PhitPro, Be Well workshop on Thursday was AWESOME. I work with some amazingly knowledgeable and talented people. I hope some of you guys can make it next time. Super motivating! Carlee did an awesome workshop on bringing truth to light on a lot of the fitness myths that are out there. As I was listening to her I realized that so many of these myths are common beliefs of the general public, and I felt it might be helpful to correct some misconceptions.

Myth: You should only work out in the "fat burning zone"
Fact: You will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat when you are working out in the fat burning zone, but you will burn more calories over all if you you increase your intensity.

We are talking efficiency here. We are all busy people. I'm guessing that you don't want to spend endless hours a day in the fat burning zone trying to get your calories burned count up there. There is a better way people! I hope I can explain this in a way that will make sense to goes.

Let's say you are working out in your fat burning zone, which is 60-70% percent of your max heart rate. (To find your max heart rate calculate 220 - your age, then figure out the intensity percentages from there.) In the fat burning zone you will burn about 50% of your calories from fat, but a lower total amount of calories. If you were to work out in the aerobic zone which is 70-80% of your MHR, you will burn less calories from fat when looking at the percentages, but because you are burning more total calories over all there will be the same amount of calories from fat. Does that make sense?

Maybe this chart will help...This represents the calories burned by a 130 lb woman.

So, what is the take home from this? Work harder! :) If you only have a short amount of time to get some exercise in. Get that heart rate up! You'll burn more calories in a short amount of time. I recommend using a heart rate monitor to gage where your'e at while your'e working out. They are pretty nifty as far as calculating your total calorie burn as well. High intensity exercise should have you breaking into a sweat within the first five minutes of exertion. Another way to judge if your intensity is hard enough is to evaluate your breathing. If you can easily control your breathing through your nose, and you aren't required to breathe through your mouth at all your heart rate is probably on the lower end of the spectrum.

This principle is why I praise intervals so very often. It may be super hard for you to keep your intensity up for a constant workout, but if you can bump that intensity up for a few minutes and then give your self a lower intensity active recovery you'll be burning more total calories than if you were to stay in the lower intensity zone. Kapeesh?

Sooo...push yourselves. Burn some calories!


Karrissa Winward said...

Hey thanks! I have been wondering about that!!

The Monahan's said...

I have a question- how do you know when it's okay to work through some pain. I have a sore groin muscle, but once I get running the pain pretty much goes away. Is cutting back and extra stretching and ice okay, or is complete rest required for all aches and pains?

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