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Is There a “Fat-Burning Zone”?

Posted By Tanja Djelevic On July 20, 2011 @ 10:06 am In Fitness | 12 Comments

Woman at a spinning class [1]

My clients often ask how they can reach the optimal “fat-burning zone.” I recently came across an interesting article that explains some of the science and suggests strategies for burning fat [2], information that I’m excited to share the next time someone asks.

In “How to Burn Fat Faster & More Efficiently [3],” professional running coach and fitness consultant Jason Karp explains that our bodies use both fat and carbohydrates for energy during exercise. Low-intensity exercises, such as walking [4], use proportionately more fat, while high-intensity activities, such as running [5] or bicycling [6], draw more heavily upon carbs.

However, the assumption that low-intensity exercises keep you in the “fat-burning zone” is incorrect. At a higher intensity level, Karp explains, “the rate of caloric expenditure and the total number of calories expended are much greater than they are when exercising at a lower intensity, so the total amount of fat used is also greater.”

Want to maximize your fat-burning potential? Karp offers two strategies:

1. Work harder during interval training.Interval training [7] burns lots of calories in a short amount of time and keeps clients’ metabolic rates [8] elevated for hours following the workout,” Karp says.

2. Go longer during runs and bike rides. Long runs or bike rides deplete muscle glycogen. “In response to this threat, muscles ‘learn’ how to use fat more effectively and over time become better fat-burning machines,” Karp says.

Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com

URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/is-there-a-fat-burning-zone/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/iStock_000010725771Small.jpg

[2] burning fat: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/How-to-Eat-to-Lose-Weight.html

[3] How to Burn Fat Faster & More Efficiently: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/how-to-burn-fat-faster-more-efficiently

[4] walking: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/5-Ways-to-Lose-More-Weight-with-Walking.html

[5] running: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/how-to-start-a-running-routine/

[6] bicycling: http://life.gaiam.com/article/weather-proof-biking

[7] Interval training: http://life.gaiam.com/article/md-how-why-do-interval-workouts

[8] metabolic rates: http://life.gaiam.com/article/getting-burned-your-metabolism

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