These graphs give a general idea of how hard we should be working but the one I want to focus on has to do with “fat burning”. Burning fat is the goal of almost everyone who has decided to get on an exercise program.
Where your heart rate (HR) is during a given cardiovascular workout is really all that matters. If you are a runner, for example, it is good to have training sessions that include sprints (max HR) and slow recovery workouts. These are found to help in training.
When a beginner looks at this type of graph it can be very misleading because why not just stay in the fat burning zone, that is ultimately what I want right?
The problem is that this is based on percentage of calories burned. Using a simple math problem, lets say in the fat burning zone you burn 100 calories and 50% are from fat, meaning 50 fat calories burned. Then you decide to step it up a notch, get higher than the fat burning zone and now you expend 200 calories but only 40% from fat. Same amount of time exercising, just getting the HR higher. Now you have burned 80 calories from fat. Your overall calories burned increased and the fat calories burned also increased. This is what we want and why we always try to get out of that comfort zone!
While it is good to start slow with your workout, that fat burning zone would be a good place to begin. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and up that HR! Your calories burned will go up dramatically and your overall fitness level will increase!
Until next time…