What matters isn't the percentage of fat burned, but the overall calories burned. By not challenging yourself, you are wasting valuable time! If you're like most of us, you don't have hours to spend at the gym. Working out at a lower heart rate burns fewer calories in the amount of time you have, and thus you lose less weight (and consequently, less fat) overall. If you burn only 100 calories in the "fat burning zone" versus 200 in the "cardio zone", you will lose weight more slowly... and thus, fat more slowly. Make sense?
If you want the absolute BEST fat-burning workout, you need to do two things:
1) Intervals! Intervals challenge you, get your heart pumping, and are far more effective and interesting than steady-state cardio. No one wants to run on a treadmill for hours. Intervals engage your brain and challenge your muscle.
2) Strength training! No matter what kind of cardio you are doing, no matter what your heart rate is, you will burn muscle as well as fat. This is tragic, because less muscle = less fat loss. Strength training preserves the lean muscle you have, limiting your muscle loss, and even better, boosting your metabolism by strengthening your muscles! This means more calories burned all day... and more fat loss!
If you do NOT strength train, you could find yourself in an unpleasant state known as "skinny fat" - where you don't weigh a lot, but you have a high body fat percentage. IF you're not strength training, it's time to start, no excuses. And don't worry about that whole "I don't want to get bulky" thing... you're a female (I presume, forgive me if I'm wrong) and therefore you do not have the ability to get bulky. Even most men don't, unless they specifically train like a body builder, eating at a calorie surplus, and lift extreme weights for long periods of time over months and years.
Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 2/6/2013 (11:22)
Heather Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.
The "fat burning zone" is a myth, so far as I know. You burn calories, you try to create a deficit, you do strength training to preserve muscle/lean tissue and you (hopefully/eventually) lose fat. Diet is the most important thing in this euqation.
I am 5'4". Starting Weight (4.6.11) 164.6 First Goal 130 - Reached September 2011 Currently maintaining under 120 and working on changing my mental image of myself!
Fitness Minutes: (0)
78 2/6/13 10:25 A
My goal is fat loss.
My cardio options are pretty much working out on elliptical machines at this point. The machines I use have built in heart rate monitors ( in the handles )
I recently started paying attention to my heart rate.
I was previously working out for 30 min 3 times a week and just going as hard/fast as comfortable, letting my heart rate go as high as it could.
I got serious about fat loss and remembered what I read in that old Covert Bailey book "Fit or Fat" so I looked up my target heart rates ( I'm 47 years old ) on the web.
---------------------------------------- -------- Heart Rates For A 50 Year Old ---------------------------------------- -------- 102 - 120 - 136
My last few workouts I have been experimenting with keeping my heart rate lower than 130bpm ....even if I had to make an effort to slow my pace and pulse down........which I did.
I felt energized after my workout instead of comfortably tired, I felt energized for much longer, and I retained less water the next day. All good things.
I've been trying to extend my workout to 40 minutes. I've noticed that around 30 - 35 minutes my heart rate, even at the same pace, will start slowing down. I have to push myself to get it back up whereas earlier in the workout I had to control my pace to keep it down.
Is this a sign that my heart is getting tired?
If so, how should I train to get my heart rate up after 30 minutes and keep it there? Increase the length of my workout 5 min at a time, wait until my heart rate becomes easy to maintain and then increase another 5 minutes?
I've also read that people can go at a more intense pace than the fat burning or even the cardio training range and still lose fat by burning calories ( controlling their caloric intake is assumed ).....the point being the calories have to come from somewhere.
Is this true?
If so, is there any advantage to it other than a workout time shorter than a longer fat burning workout?
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