For optimal fat loss you need to train in your “fat burning zone”
This is a pretty common myth these days. I’m always hearing people go on about their fat burning zone.
“you’ve to stay in your fat burning zone when you train in order to lose fat”
HMMMMM not so much!
So what is the fat burning zone? The idea is that when we train at a lower intensity our bodies oxidize a higher percentage of fat in relation to carbohydrates. As our training intensity increases our bodies start to use more carbohydrates as it’s fuel source. It works on a sliding scale. The higher the intensity goes, the more carbs are used. It is commonly thought that in order to burn fat then you need to be training at that lower intensity. It’s a huge reason why cardio is so commonly thought of as the king for fat loss. Cardio equipment companies plaster the “fat burning zone” on the treadmills and people inevitably go for it spending 2 hours slogging away on a moving strip of rubber with some fancy dials and a TV screen in front of them. Mind Boggling!
The concept of fasted cardio also ties in with this idea. Fasted cardio is allllll the rage these days. Don’t eat and then go train so your body oxidizes more fat. I get it the logic but it doesn’t really work like that. Fasted cardio is ultimately just another “short cut” to fat loss which isn’t sustainable because it sucks to be starving all the time. Even worse than that…training when you’re starving. Not exactly the best state to be in when you’re exerting your body is it!
When it comes to optimal fat loss training at a higher intensity will lead to better results. That’s because as your intensity goes up so does your calorie burn. It’s your total calorie burn that counts for more rather than what percentage of calories burnt is derived from fat. When we talk about resistance training it follows a similar patter. You need to be lifting weights that are heavy enough to stimulate muscle tissue in order to achieve optimal adaptions including fat loss and muscle preservation.
Another factor to consider when looking at the “fat burning zone” is that the fat that is oxidized comes mostly from intramuscular triglycerides which are droplets of fat within your muscle tissue. Adipose fat which is your body fat is burned throughout the day and not necessarily in the gym.
Don’t forget, the most important thing for fat loss is your calorie intake vs calorie expenditure.
Fat loss is 80% diet 20% gym
Where this statistic came from I have NO idea but it’s certainly not accurate. Fat loss is ULTIMATELY about creating a calorie deficit. It’s basic thermodynamics. Its just not all that easy to achieve. Especially with all the bullshit that’s out there in terms of gimmicks, and fad diets. Technically you can lose weight from just diet and no exercise. Just eat less calories than you expend. Simple. So a more accurate equation would be “fat loss is 100% diet”. However I wouldn’t recommend this approach. Exercise is hugely important in achieving a calorie deficit for many reasons.
It ultimately allows you to eat more and still maintain a calorie deficit. Gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins for a reason and never has gluttony been more apparent. Our modern day world is FILLED with irresistible food related desires. Eating is something we have done as humans since the beginning and I’m not talking about the beginning of last week. I mean like..since whenever it all started. It’s necessary for our survival and as such it has a masssssive psychological effect on us. Food tastes GOOD!I Unfortunately not all food is good for us but it whilst it may not be so great for our waistline is can be great for our mental well being. Letting lose every now and then is important.
Have you ever heard the phrase “You can’t out train a bad diet”? Welllll that’s probabbbbly true. You can only burn so many calories in the gym and you can easily eat a LOT more. So don’t start thinking you can train hard and eat shit all day everyday. Exercise will allow for certain treats and still allow you to maintain a calorie deficit but you do need to sustain a nutrient dense balanced diet for the most part.
Of course exercise plays a far bigger role than just contributing to your calorie deficit. It will lead to better overall health as well. Cardio output, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, mobility, muscle mass, muscle preservation, mental well being, immune system and so much more.
So fat loss is a fluid combination of exercise and diet. To put a % of importance on each one simply doesn’t work.
You’re fat loss and weight maintenance journey is a long one! In fact it never ends. Quit the gimmicks and the fads and make sustainable changes.