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Is there a fat-burning zone?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Have you been told to keep your heart rate within a specific range to burn fat? Will you not burn fat and lose weight if you exercise outside of this magical zone?

Exercise is mostly a carbohydrate activity. While you use both fat and carbohydrates for energy during exercise, these two fuels provide that energy on a sliding scale - as you increase your intensity, the contribution from fat decreases, while the contribution from carbohydrates increases. Although the percentage of calories from fat is small when you're exercising at high intensity, the total number of calories burned per minute is much higher than at lover intensity. Research has shown that exercising at or slightly below your lactate threshold (the maximum aerobically sustainable intensity) elicits the highest rate of fat oxidation. But even that doesn't matter because it's the total amount of calories burned rather than the amount of calories consumed - not whether the calories come from fat or carbohydrates - that determines weight loss. That's why interval training is so effective.

I hate when people in the gym, sometimes trainers/instructors tell people to exercise in the "fat-burning"zone. Most people take that at face value and thus, end up not getting the most from their workouts. While I'm on the subject of what bugs me at the gym: people who don't wipe off the equipment when they are done; people who don't put the weights they use back when they are finished; people who come late into class--on a regular basis...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELLELEON 3/1/2009 11:51AM

    Lactate threshold is the most important determinant of success in endurance-related activities and events, and the main goal of endurance training programs should be the improvement of this parameter.

Above is the thoughts of one below

My thoughts about fat burning zone...YES there is one. Basically what it comes down to is what you do during the day dictates your homeostasis activity at night. Glycolysis, which includes the formation of pyruvate to lactate in an anaerobic environment. In an aerobic environment pyruvate enters the mitochondria and undergoes aerobic respiration. Based on your blog it sounds like you would understand all this that is why I am typing it (hehe).

A persons goal when they are during activity during the day is to really put themselves in a position to utilize the glucose (carbs) taken in during the day and tap in to glucose stores during the day and at night. Now when one works out in their cardio zone it takes a lot of energy (ATP) to keep up. The body goes straight for glucose to make ATP then the next back up is amino acids, which make up protein and most of our protein is stored in muscle. So sugar then protein.

However if you stay in a heart rate zone that keeps you below proteolysis and forces your body to utilize glucose, run glycolysis, move on to glycogenolysis (glucose stores in the liver) one is putting them self in a great position to under go lipolysis when body is in recovery mode (this is fat burning zone). Recovery mode = sleep.

When we are sleep, this is one of the many reasons why sleep is so important, you have hopefully eaten the deficient amount of calories needed for the day, that is right deficient because a person is trying to loose weight. You have already used those deficient calories up for the day let's say it is between 1300 -1500 (like mine are) Then you exercise at an optimal level to use up glucose and glucose stores then at rest homeostasis kicks in. Your body has to work, repair, grow, optimal time for cell division and the list goes on and on. All this needs energy, all this needs ATP, if you have less stores and you are at rest your body has no choice but to go to lipolysis.

Why lipolysis (fat breakdown) because fat breakdown yields the most energy. It also takes the most energy to undergo beta-oxidation (fat breakdown) Your body is saying...she burned off the glucose she ate and tapped in to some stores let's breakdown this adipose tissue molecule and use all that energy...she is not moving around so we don't have to go to proteolysis.

So what trainers could say (but it would just be confusing if they did)...Stay in a zone that allows you to maximize the use of your daily carbohydrate intake and carbohydrate stores. So we say fat burning and WHO doesn't know what fat means.

Sorry such a long response I am really passionate about human physiology, hopes this answers your question.

Comment edited on: 3/1/2009 6:14:58 PM

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Exhale, Joy is not in things; it is in us--Richard Wagner

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nobody trips over mountains
It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles and you will find you crossed the mountain. Author Unknown

This is particularly appropriate in relation to the the journey to health and fitness. If we continue to take each day and make our way through instead of trying to focus on ow far we have to go, we will be surprised to realize we've reached our goal. Of course we may face challenges and not always handle them in the way we intended, but that doesn't mean we've failed, we just hit one of those pebbles and need to get passed it. SP calls it the two steps forward one step back mentality, but no matter how you say it, the point is to keep picking ourselves up and moving forward no matter what happens along the way.

We may not always believe we can make it to our goals, but we can, we have the ability to do whatever we want to do, we just have to find it within ourselves and utilize it.

Today's workout:
Yoga 60 minutes
Once again yoga was heavy on balance poses and we did a lot of lunges and squats, all of which means my legs, which I worked hard on Friday, got worked again...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LWINTER 3/1/2009 9:55AM

    What's the old proverb, "Slow and steady wins the race", most often characterized by a turtle passing a tired hare! (That's why I have a turtle as my weight pointer on my tracker!)

Fully believe like you that the application of perserverance will get us to our goals. Even we can just keep going every day, even with a little stumble now & then, soon we will look around and say "Boy, I'm getting to the place I want to be".

Thanks for your "broken record" words of inspiration!

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Friday--true test of will

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lifting 4 days a week is very taxing and by Friday's spin class (the 5th of the week) my legs have about had it! Particularly since my Friday lift works legs right before spin class, I have no legs by the time we get 15 minutes into the class. Fatigue in my legs definately makes me test what I'm made of and how badly I want it. If I wasn't in a class setting I know I'd give myself a pass and not push to my limits. It's challenging and when I'm done I feel very pleased with myself and the fact that I pushed through a difficult situation.

Today's lift:
wall sits/ball 4x15 25lb
smith machine squats 3x10 50lb
hip thrusts 4x15 25lb
plie squats 3x12 25lb
calf raises 4x20 45lb

60 min spin class

Today's report about diets and the key to losing weight being eating fewer calories than you burn is not really news at all. But if it keeps people from trying all the latest/newest diets than it was worth th 18 months or so spent studying the subject. It's interesting and more than a bit upsetting to hear people try to interpret the findings. In fact, here on SP's daily spark a blogger wrote that it meant we can eat what we want and still lose weight. Again, I must say that's a very dangerous way t go about the process and it always makes me angry that people/programs continue to propagate that myth. It's a disservice to people who are supposed to trying to change their lifestyle. As I've stated before he type of calories we consume are more/as important as the number of calories. Choosing empty sugar(yes even sugar substitute) calories over nutritious food that has fiber and a healthy dose of vitamins/minerals, etc. is not only a bad idea and unhealthy, but it certainly isn't changing the bad habits that got us to this point in the first place.

I know I sound like a broken record on this topic, but I wholeheartedly believe it's the only sure way to not only lose the weight, but to keep it off.

Another observation I've made is that crunches are a total waste of time! I've been doing crunches for over 2 years now, and have never gotten the type of workout I got from just three exercises that I did on Thursday. Those three took no more than 15 minutes and I'm still feeling the after-affects today. The exercises were core exercises: The first one was the ball roll-out of which I did 2 sets on my knees-hard and then 2 sets of 15 from the plank position -- arms on ball legs extended and on toes...then I did a superset of pendulums with the ball and leg ups with the ball...believe me if you want a really effective ab/core workout do this!

Yoga tomorrow...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LWINTER 2/27/2009 7:00PM

    Good for you, glad you are past yesterday's low with your friend's crisis enough to go to your spinning and give it all you got! Best therapy for depression anyway!

Good health to you today!

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sometimes something happens that makes you just count your blessings and all to often that moment comes when you watch someone else going through a really difficult time. Today, my friend from the gym found out her mother had lung cancer. It's so difficult to see her have to deal with this. I'm not in the mood to write at the moment. Perhaps I'll feel like it later.

Today's workout:
cardio 60 minute spin class

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCAUDI 3/2/2009 12:09AM

    That is really sad. Best wishes.

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LWINTER 2/26/2009 5:07PM

    You're right, that is hard.
My sympathies to you and your friend.
Will hold her in prayer today.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Routine is good, but I might have gotten a bit carried usual morning goes like this: alarm goes off, get up, brush teeth, make bed, get dressed, grab packed gym bag and out the door I go. Once there, I get my spin bike set up, then go directly to the weights and begin lifting. This week M-Tu-Th-F were the lifting days, Wednesday was supposed to be cardio only. But, I forgot it was Wednesday and I just followed my routine and lifted. I wasn't until after I returned home and showered that it dawned on me that I wasn't supposed to lift today! I guess that's a true sign of my acceptance of exercise as a daily part of my life...either that or it's a sign that I'm getting early senility! LOL

3 years ago when I did as millions of folks do every Jan 1, I certainly didn't expect to have maintained my efforts over this length of time. Like all those other millions, I thought I'd last a couple of months lose a few pounds, and then of course like most folks, go back to my old ways. So how did I arrive at this point? A place where I'm happy in my skin, finally, empowered by my abilities, a place where I exercise, without thinking and am glad to do it each day.

To put it simply, I thought in terms of getting healthy vs getting skinny. I viewed nutrition as a way to fuel my body for the exercise I knew I needed to adopt, instead of "dieting". Since the mind is a powerful, perhaps the most powerful, tool in this equation, that allowed me to focus on long term (eternity) instead of temporary changes that I had no intention of maintaining or the long haul. The funny thing is that I never quite saw myself as being as obese as I was, and perhaps surprisingly, as I lost even moderate amounts of weight, I was able to see the difference in my body/face/way clothes fit, rather quickly. That could also explain why I sustained my focus, and stayed the course. For those milestones allowed me to build momentum and continue to work on my new healthy habits.

Changing my mentality from one of ‘dieting’, which always meant deprivation, to one of healthy living, has kept me on this journey through for 3 years without fail. Dieting, suggests a temporary situation and when I get to a certain number on the scale I can go back to how things used to be. That's what has always kept me from embracing all the healthy life habits that I so enjoy now. But not anymore, now I am living a healthy lifestyle that sometimes has me lifting weights on my day off!

Today's workout:
bent over row/barbell 4 x 12 65 lb
wide grip pulldown 4 x 12 70 lb
bent over row dumbbell 3 x 10 18 lb
seated row 3 x 12 65 lb
close grip pulldown 3 x 15 55 lb
incline bicep curls 2 x 25 25 lb
hammer curls 4 x 12 25 lb

60 min spin class

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LWINTER 2/26/2009 8:44AM

    Hi, Di,

Know what you mean, I didn't think my weight really affected my life--until it did! Then I knew I had to change or give up the joy of walking . . . wasn't ready to do that because of "fat", so I say that I "reached my bottom"--well known in the addictive world as being the last straw, the catalyst to change.

It's also so amazing to me, that once I set my course, with no turning back allowed, how easy it is to change my body & my lifestyle. All I have to do is set a plan & follow it. So I wouldn't worry about doing your workout routine without thinking! It's ok!

Good health today!

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