The Myth of the "Fat Burn Zone"By Jeremy M Jones
"The Fat Burn Zone". This is supposed to be the heart rate zone to stay in if you are trying to lose fat. If you visit your local gym and hop on almost any piece of cardio equipment, it will have a "Fat Burn Zone" programmed right in. This zone is usually a very light intensity that makes is seem like you don't have to do much work to effectively burn fat. Since this article is titled, "The Myth of the Fat Burn Zone" I'm sure you have realized there is no such thing. That's right, there is no such thing as the "Fat Burn Zone."
So now the question naturally arises, "If this really is a myth, how come so many people still believe it?" Also, "what is the best way to train if I am trying to lose body fat?" So let's take a look.
When the body is working, whether exercising or just walking around the house, it is burning calories. These calories can come in the form of dietary fat, carbohydrates, or protein. The body has a system for determining which source of calories it will use for energy. To keep it simple, when the body is doing very little work, such as light walking, or even just sitting around watching TV, it chooses to use dietary fat as its energy source. This DOES NOT mean that body fat is coming off. It simply means the fat that was in the food you ate is being used for energy during light activities.
This is where the myth began. Yes, the body is using more fat for energy in this zone. But because the intensity is lighter, you are not burning even close to the same amount of total calories you would at a higher intensity. So higher intensity exercise is more efficient for burning lots of calories than the lower intensity of the "Fat Burn Zone." The funny thing is, the body actually uses the most fat for energy when you are asleep. So according to the "Fat Burn Zone" theory, the best way to shed all of your excess body fat would be to sleep all day!
Here is the really important part. Body fat will only begin to come off of your body when you are burning off more calories than you are taking in. It does not matter if those calories are coming from fat, or carbohydrates, or protein. Let me repeat that. You will only burn off fat if you are consistently eating less calories than the amount that you are burning off. If you are in the "Fat Burn Zone" you are not burning off many calories, so are just spending a lot more time getting to the same goal.
So that should answer the most important question. "How should I work out to burn the most fat?" And the answer is... as hard as possible. As long as there are no known medical conditions that would restrict you from extremely challenging workouts, then get ready to sweat! The higher you can keep your heart rate, the more calories you will burn, and the faster fat will come off. Remember there is no substitute for hard work. Your body will see the results of that hard work as well. You will have more energy, sleep better, and most importantly you will start to shed pounds of that unwanted fat!