I’ve often heard of a mystical “fat burning” zone in exercise. Supposedly, when you’re in the zone you’re working out at the perfect level of intensity to scorch fat away. Even my gym machines show off diagrams for the zone, which always worried me as my heart rate inched pass the zone. Wait, what I am burning now? Should I not be working so hard?
Well today, I finally got my answer!! (All this studying is finally paying off)
The skinny on fat burning: Our bodies have multiple energy sources to use during workouts. There’s carbs/glucose (both basically become blood sugar), protein, and FAT. When we are working at a moderate pace, (like having to try, but not about to pass out) our bodies use our stored up fat to feed us constant energy. But, when we crank up the intensity, our bodies turn to the “easier to use” energy source: carbs. So, if you really care only about burning fat, and not overall calories, (why we are being so picky is a mystery to me!) then moderate intensity seems like the winning solution.
BUT, if your overall goal is to burn calories no matter where they are from, the high intensity workout is the one for you! You’ll still be burning fat, but a lower proportion of your calories burned will come from fat stores. But don’t you worry! You’ll still be burning stored up carbs/sugar, which, if left unused, would become fat anyway. Who knew??
So, if you are hesitating about choosing a high intensity workout, DONT (if your body allows it)! Go forth and BURN those calories, whatever kind they may be!!
*Keep it moving!
© May 2014