Fat Burning Zone Myth
Many of those who start a new aerobics routine are curious as to their body’s target fat burning heart rate. But, those individuals need to understand that maximum fat burning really does not occur within the supposed fat burning zone. What caused such as misconception to take root? The easy answer is that there is a small degree of truth in the concept, but it has been twisted by those hoping to find a easy way out of more rigorous workouts.
Prior to disproving the theory of the fat burning zone, I want to talk a bit about calculating heart rates. The initial step is to determine your body’s maximum heart rate. Subtracting your chronological age from 220 is the easiest method for doing this. Therefore, someone aged 30 has a maximum heart rate of roughly 190 beats each minute. Typically, the fat burning zone is said to fall somewhere in the range of 60-65% of the body’s maximum heart rate. So, a 30 year old female would have a heart rate target falling between 114 and 124 beats per minute.
Those exerting themselves within the fat burning zone will indeed burn the greatest percentage of calories from fat stores. But, that type of more rigorous activity works to burn a greater number of calories and fat as a result of the after-burn phenomenon in which the body keeps burning after the aerobics routine has ceased. Unfortunately, the truth is that there is no way to achieve effortless fat loss.
Hold the phone! Exercise as vigorously as possible? That’s all I need to do? Indeed, that is all you need to do. Rigorous exercise is the key to burning a greater number of calories and greater amounts of fat. Is there any relevance whatsoever to the fat burning zone concept in this type of regimen? My opinion is that there is. Performing lower intensity cardiovascular workouts within the zone gives the body a rest and recovery window. It simply is not feasible to do high intensity exercise every single day, though it is possible to incorporate lower intensity cardiovascular exercise such as walking, and also include fat burning cardio work in conjunction with interval workouts.
As I have mentioned before, my preferred cardiovascular exercise regimen utilizes high intensity interval training (HIIT). Following a warm up period, I like to do 10 minutes of brief interval training (15 seconds of sprinting, 45 seconds of jogging), 10-25 minutes of consistent fat burning cardio work (lighter jogging), and 10 minutes of more intense interval training (a full minute of fast running then a one minute jog). By performing this type of workout three times weekly, I can get a sufficient amount of cardio work. If I have an opportunity, I stick to walking on alternate days.
The premise of the fat burning zone misconception is that more fat can be burned by performing less rigorous exercise routines. The bottom line, however, is that there are no shortcuts. It simply is not possible to burn a greater number of calories if you exercise with less vigor. Though the fat burning heart rate is useful as a target range for your lower intensity cardiovascular workouts, any effective aerobics routine must incorporate higher intensity workouts in which the body’s maximum heart rate is approached. Only then will the true fat burning zone be within reach!