The Truth about the 'Fat-Burning Zone' and Weight Loss

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The information on cardio machines can be deceiving. The "fat burning zone" is a myth that is based on a fact, but taken out of context. 

It's true that higher intensity exercise uses more glucose and glycogen (the form of energy your body gets from foods) in proportion to fat, but remember that "high intensity" in this context means exercise that you can only maintain for a couple of minutes before becoming exhausted (i.e. anaerobic exercise). It’s also true that low intensity exercise uses more fat as fuel; moderate intensity exercise that you can maintain for 20 minutes or more is aerobic exercise, and will burn both fat and glucose. 

You're better off exercising in the aerobic zone as much as you can because exercising at higher intensities burns more total calories. The "fat burning zone" business is very misleading. You will burn a larger percentage of fat in relation to glucose when you are working at a lower intensity, but you will also burn fewer total calories and less total fat. 

Bottom line: The relative percentage of fat burned has nothing to do with weight loss—it's the total amount calories burned that counts. So just ignore the machine and continue to exercise aerobically. As a bonus, aerobic exercise also strengthens your heart and cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels

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Comments

BLUEKOI 3/17/2021
Great read! Report
RAPUNZEL53 2/12/2021
Great Report
PATRICIAAK 1/9/2021
:) Report
REDROBIN47 1/1/2021
Thanks for the informative article. Report
SISTERPRETTY 1/1/2021
Nice...thanks! Report
ARCHIMEDESII 1/1/2021
It's true. You can't outrun a bad diet with exercise. Report
CECTARR 1/1/2021
Thanks Report
QUEENFROG 1/1/2021
@maree1953 I also miss Dean's articles. I wish he were still writing them and I hope he is well! Report
NAVA2021 1/1/2021
Great information! Report
RO2BENT 1/1/2021
More calories out burns more energy Report
KAREN_EDMONDS 1/1/2021
Thanks for the information. This is great for us seniors to know. Report
LEANJEAN6 1/1/2021
great to know this--Thank yu- Report
ROSSYFLOSSY 1/1/2021
Great article! Report
FERRETLOVER1 1/1/2021
Thanks. Report
NEPTUNE1939 1/1/2021
ty Report
MAREE1953 1/1/2021
I miss Dean. He always wrote wonderful articles Report
AZMOMXTWO 1/1/2021
thank you Report
AZMOMXTWO 1/1/2021
thank you Report
CD24069739 1/1/2021
Great informative Report
LIS193 1/1/2021
Thanks Report
JANIEWWJD 1/1/2021
Thanks for all the info!!!! Report
PLCHAPPELL 12/25/2020
Good article Report
1CRAZYDOG 12/20/2020
Thank you for this information! Report
Good article Report
NASFKAB
OK Report
EVIE4NOW
Thanks for a very good article. Report
Great Article. Report
ROBBIEY
Great article Report
ROBBIEY
Great article Report
I really liked this one. Report
Interesting points. Worth the second read. Report
Maybe I have gotten cynical after so many years in the gym where I see people who don't work as hard as they claim. I think the "fat burning zone" probably is the only time many people get up to aerobic burn rates. What they consider aerobic the rest of the workout is what I consider moderately sedentary socializing. Report
This is a minefield. Too many gym goers fo not get it and tge wording here is confusing. Report
This is a minefield. Too many gym goers fo not get it and tge wording here is confusing. Report
Great article on the re-read Report
RO2BENT
More work in equals more calories out Report
I use a zone app that uses graphs & simple explanation to make it easier to understand. As long as you’re burning calories you are good. Report
ELRIDDICK
Thanks for sharing Report
EVIE4NOW
Thanks Report
ROBBIEY
Thanks Report
whooo chil'
I'm a little confused to be honest.
I was with you right up to the end, then you lost me Report
Thanks, Great! Report
Thanks Report
I like this statement: The "fat burning zone" is a myth that is based on a fact, but taken out of context."
This statement needs a finisher: "You're better off exercising in the aerobic zone as much as you can because exercising at higher intensities burns more total calories." --- this needs to say something more like, burns more total calories than the fat-burning zone and one can maintain the workout longer than in the anaerobic zone. Report
Clearing up a misconception Report
A little confusing but the bottom line is whatever exercise burns the most calories is best? I think that's the gist Report
CD17960262
Good advice! Report
Good points Report