Trim that butt, waste that cellulite, smooth those love handles, bust that belly!
We all want to burn more fat, even though our purposes might differ: weight loss, body shaping, health, sports or well being.
But do you know which exercises really burn fat?
Energy in, energy out. The body normally burns a mix of carbohydrate and fat for fuel. How much of either depends on (1) your physical activity and (2) if or what you have eaten recently. When you use more energy than you take in from food and drink, the body burns stored fat and carbohydrates–and then even protein–to fuel everyday activities, even if you are not exercising. Depending on your family history — your genetics — and the way you eat and exercise to create this energy deficit, your body may decide to get conservative and drop your metabolic rate to try to hold onto body weight.
Glucose, fat and protein. Fat and glucose are the body’s two main energy sources. Stored carbohydrate called glycogen is quickly used up first, then the body goes to fat stored under the skin and around the internal organs. Next, protein in muscle is then broken down to create glucose to keep the brain working and you conscious.
Fat burning zone. What people call “the fat burning zone” –a low intensity speed zone– is mainly a gimmick, because even though you burn more fat going slowly, you still burn a percentage of fat at much faster speeds or intensity. It really all boils down to how much energy you expend in totality. For example, if you compare exercising at a slow rate that burns 60 percent fat and 40 percent glucose and a higher intensity or duration that burns only 30 percent fat and 70 percent glucose, you may still burn more fat at the higher intensity. So if you walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes — 180 calories used –, you burned 108 calories of fat. If you run on a treadmill for 30 minutes — 400 calories used — you burned 120 calories of fat. The bottom line really is how much energy you expend — and that is the ultimate fat burning measure. The theoretical fat burning zone is mostly a convenient myth.
Weight Training and Fat Burning
Muscle burns more fat. Weight training is increasingly recommended as a fat-busting tool because extra muscle burns more energy than body fat at rest, so if you develop more muscle and have a higher muscle to fat ratio than before, you must burn extra energy and more stored fat as a result. This is true, but the differences are not that dramatic. That does not mean however that you should skip weight training!
Getting the afterburn. The ‘afterburn’, or the amount of energy you use after you stop exercising, has been promoted as an important fat burning idea. Exercise scientists call this afterburn effect EPOC, which stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. High intensity workouts are required — greater than about 75 percent of maximum heart rate — for the afterburn to take effect.