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Fat Burning Zone Myth

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There’s a lot of talk about knowing what your target fat burning heart rate is for people who are doing an aerobics routine workout. 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 reason why exercise myths are so widely known and believed is that people are always looking for a way to make their workout easier, and for their results to come faster.

But before we start talking about the roots behind this fat burning zone idea, we should first talk about the calculations for your target heart rate.  First you have to calculate your max heart rate.  Start with the number 220 and subtract out your age. That would mean that if you are 30, you should have a max heart rate of 190 beats/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 again for a 30 year old, your fat burning heart rate zone should be somewhere between 114-124 beats/minute.

Those exerting themselves within the fat burning zone will indeed burn the greatest percentage of calories from fat stores. A high intensity routine will help you to burn more calories overall because of the after-burn effect that goes into effect, causing your body to continue burning fat even after your aerobics routine is done. The truth of the matter is – there is absolutely no easy way to burn fat.

Hold the phone!  Workout as hard as you can!?  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.  Does the fat burning zone have a place in such a routine?  The experts say, a lot. If you were to do a low intensity cardio workout while you are in your fat burning zone, your body will have more recovery time.  You can’t possibly perform a high intensity workout every day, but you can do some low intensity cardio like walking every day or intersperse periods of fat burning cardio within interval training.

As I’ve discussed previously, my favorite cardio routine involves high intensity interval training (HIIT). After a warm-up, I perform 10 minutes of short interval HIIT (15 second sprint, 45 second jog), 10-25 minutes of steady state fat burning cardio (light jogging), and 10 minutes of long interval HIIT (1 minute fast run, 1 minute jog).  If you do this routine just 3 times a week you will get a well-rounded cardio workout.  I walk on alternate days when possible.

The premise of the fat burning zone misconception is that more fat can be burned by performing less rigorous exercise routines.  The truth is that “there is no free lunch.”  You can’t expect to burn more calories by working out less intensely.  Knowing what your fat burning heart rate is will help you to know the range in which you should perform steady state cardio or a low intensity workout, combined with a well-planned aerobics routine that contains a high intensity cardio workout that will help you get near your max heart rate. If you can do that, the real fat burning zone will begin to work for you!

Dave has been an avid fitness fanatic for the past 15 years.  He aims to maintain a lean, athletic look through diet and exercise without spending hours in the gym.

Many of the fitness tips he provides may seem unconventional, but you can’t use a bodybuilding workout to look like an Abercrombie model.

Dave hopes to help his readers by providing no-nonsense tips highlighting what works, and what doesn’t work, when it comes to getting in shape.

Read more about fitness training tips about an aerobics routine to get lean at

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