Many people talk about a zone called the fat burning zone, but it’s become somewhat of a legend. While the name is known, what it actually is, is not as well known. Coaches, trainers, and everyone in between seem to believe that low-intensity cardio is how you get a leaner physique. The idea is that a long duration of low-intensity cardio would burn up carbs and glucose and then turn to fat stores to continue fueling the physical activity. However, research is showing there is a better way to burn fat and it may lie within the fat burning zone.
The burning zone can be summed up to the zone you’re in when you hit roughly 50-60% of your heart rate max. During this time you will be able to speak in full sentences but most likely out of breath. During the cardio it takes to get into the fat burning zone, you’ll notice less stress on your body and less stress on your joints.
One example workout to get to the burning zone is to walk uphill for 60 minutes at a moderate speed of 2.5-3 miles an hour. If you do an hour of cardio while in the fat burning zone, you can say goodbye to 200-300 calories. This type of cardio is good for people who have suffered some type of injury and can’t do high-intensity cardio. If people with injuries use this type of cardio for long periods of time, they’ll notice an improvement in their ability to complete workouts.
The important thing during any type of workout is to monitor your target heart rate and heart rate max. These will help you monitor progress, even when progress isn’t physically showing yet.
Not only is monitoring your heart rate another way to keep track of progress, but it’s also a great way to stay motivated. Many people want to see physical progress but that takes time. Our bodies will physically adapt to the changes in activity before any progress starts to really show. This is one reason why heart rate monitoring is important.
As always, it’s important to stay hydrated in any workout and give your body the protein it needs to repair those muscles and burn fat.