Motivation Monday: The fat burning zone myth

6:53 AM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - We can thank Mr. Tim McNiff for this morning's Motivation Monday.

Tim wanted to know about "the myth of the fat burning zone."
Fitness expert Chris Freytag stopped by to help explain.

There are 2 types of fuel you burn when performing cardio exercise:

Carbohydrate is the main nutrient that fuels exercise of a moderate to high intensity, while fat can fuel low intensity exercise for long periods of time. Proteins are generally used to maintain and repair body tissues, and are not normally used to power muscle activity.

A popular myth is that there is a specific range of heart rates in which you must exercise to burn fat. Even many cardio machines display a "fat-burning zone" on their panels, encouraging people to exercise in a specific heart rate range. Have you ever wondered if you really have to exercise in a specific heart rate zone to lose fat? And what happens if you venture out of that zone?

"The fat-burning zone is a complete myth," said Wayne Westcott, Prevention advisory board member and fitness research director at Quincy College. "While it's true that you burn a higher percentage of fat calories when exercising at a moderate pace, you burn fewer calories overall."

For instance, if you get on a treadmill and walk at a 3.5 MPH pace for 30 minutes, you might burn 250 calories. If you raise the speed to 7 miles per hour, you'd burn 500. Bottom line? "It's much better to go at the faster speed."

 

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