Fat is burning in every heart zone. The percentage and total amount of fat burned changes in every zone. The change in the amount and percentage of fat burning depends on principally these three factors:
• How fit you are
• How hard you exercise
• What is the carbohydrate, protein, and fat amounts in your diet.
Using the Zones chart that follows, and the two column headed “Calories Burning” and “Fuels Burned”. You can quickly see that the amount of calories burned increases the higher the intensity, the bigger the zone number. And, the higher the zones the more fat that is metabolized. For example, 30 minutes in Zone 3 is worth about ~10 calories per minute or a total of 300 calories. Also note that in Zone 3 about 50% of the calories metabolized are carbohydrates and about 50% if from fat or about 5 calories of fat and 5 calories of carbohydrates.
Of the many myths in the world of weight loss, one of the worst is the existence of the fat burning zone. There is no fat burning zone. The concept was invented to try and simplify how calories are burned and the concept is invalid. It has led to a great deal of confusion about how fat is utilized in exercise training. What does exist is the “fat burning range”, a dynamic range of exercise intensity where you burn the most fat. By definition, the fat burning range is the exercise intensity and exercise me when metabolically, you burn the most total fat. What is important for weight loss is to burn the most total calories. Since oxygen must be present for fat to burn, when you go above your threshold intensity, the cross over point between aerobic and non-aerobic exercise effort, there is no additional fat burned. To burn the most fat, stay aerobic.
The ceiling or top of the fat burning range is your threshold, T1. The floor of the fat burning range is the point where aerobic benefits are first measured, about 55% of your maximum heart rate. As you get fitter, your threshold moves upward towards your maximum heart rate and your fat burning range gets bigger. The goals for weight loss then is to enlarge our fat-burning range by raising your threshold. Here is a diagram of those changes using the metabolic Zones Chart:
The bigger your fat burning range, the more the fat that you can burn per minute of exercise. This is known as the burn rate for fat. Here’s a list of more details about the dynamic fat burning range:
• The amount of fat used increases as exercise intensity increases until you go above threshold.
• Fat only burns when oxygen is present.
• Fat burning is not a “zone” but a dynamic range of heart beats.
• The range of exercise intensity where fat burning changes is affected by your: fitness level, diet, nutritional state, fatigue, stress, genetics, and body composition.
• Fit people burn more fat because their fat burning range is larger.
• Unfit people are poor fat burners because their fat burning range is small.
• The top of the fat burning range is your threshold.
• The bottom of the fat burning range is about 55%.
KEEPING THE WEIGHT OFF
Every year, millions of new diet books are sold. Readers are looking for a solution to the accumulation of fat that leads to obesity. But, are the true experts of getting and keeping fat weight of those who have succeeded for 5 years or more? Are they the ones who have discovered and applied what works for their individual physiology, their genetics, and their emotional nature. They are the applied weight loss experts, applying their personal experiences of what works as they strive for weight management solutions.
One of the worst parts of failing to maintain weight loss, that is, of weight cycling (the losing and gaining of body weight in a repeated cycle), can be the redistribution of body fat to what is known as the “upper compartments,” your abdomen. This abdominal or “visceral” fat resides in and around your organs, and it has been strongly associated with chronic high-risk diseases. If that weren’t bad enough, weight cycling also leads to a reduction in metabolic rates known as adaptive thermogenesis. Basically, the more often you weight cycle, the lower your resting metabolic rate, your base caloric burn rate, becomes.
Where’s the hope in all this bad news? Well, that’s where those applied weight-loss experts come in. The National Weight Control Registry ( http://www.nwcr.ws ) is a non-profit organization that tracks people who have kept more than 30 pounds of weight o for more than one year.
Their noteworthy statistics on the over 5,000 Americans that they follow are as follows:
• 80% of persons in the registry are women, and 20% are men.
• The “average” woman is 45 years of age and currently weights 145 lb., while the “average” man is 49 years of age and currently weights 190 lb.
• Registry members have lost an average of 66 lb. and kept it to for 5.5 years.
There is a great deal of diversity within their ranks:
• Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lb.
• Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from one to 66 years!
• Some have lost weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly—over as many as 14 years. The National Weight Control Registry is also now able to report on the how factor of weight loss:
• Some lost it on their own (45%) and others have lost weight on a dietary program (55%).
• 98% of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.
• 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
Though there are risks in averaging research results, they still provide meaning as long as you consider the variability among individuals within the report. The three keys to what their members (and they are looking for new members—you can register on their website) report for weight maintenance are (1) low caloric consumption, (2) low fat in their diet, and (3) high level of daily physical activity.
• 78% eat breakfast every day.
• 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
• 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
• 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.
Each of us must find what works for our individual metabolism and our genetic makeup. We can follow their lead, test to see if their experiences work for us. Each of us must still take ultimate responsibility on our own with support from our friends and family.