The Fat Burning Zone

Ever seen one of these on the treadmill????

If the answer is yes to the above question, do yourself a favor and either look away as quickly as possible, or disregard what you’re reading.  If you have not seen one of these, consider yourself lucky.  And if the situation ever comes up, please do not read, much less pay attention to the graphic.

Why am I so against this graphic that appears to be oh so helpful to the common gym-goer???  Well, mainly because it’s wrong.  But surely these companies wouldn’t put incorrect information on their products, right??  Please, don’t be so naive…  Maybe “wrong” isn’t the right word I should use here.  Maybe I should use the word “misleading” instead.  Here, let me explain what I’m talking about.

The yellow portion down at the bottom indicates a much lower intensity of exercise, and claims to be the Maximum Fat Burn Zone.  Not coincidentally, this has been the popular belief for many years: long, slow cardio burns more fat.  This is only half true.  Yes, your body does burn more fat at a lower intensity of exercise.  BUT, it only burns that as a PERCENTAGE of overall calories burned during that bout of exercise.  The red portion (and orange, for that matter) is a much higher intensity of exercise.  Yes, it is true that during higher intensities we burn MORE CARBS THAN FAT.  BUT, our overall caloric expenditure is much higher this way.  So, we burn a smaller percentage of fat, but a larger overall number.

Just look at it like this…. Would you rather have 50% of 100, or 20% of 500??  That’s what you’re getting when you compare low versus high intensity exercise.  Sure, you’re burning a higher percentage of fat when you’re walking, but you’re burning a helluva lot more calories when you’re running.

Moral of the story:  Work Harder.  Next time you want to quit or slow down, realize that a shorter amount of time at a higher intensity is the way to go if you’re looking to shed some fat.

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