To recap part 1) Run Slower to Burn More Fat… as your heart rate increases as you go from walking, jogging, running to sprinting… you reach a point where you go from Aerobic Respiration and Metabolism into Anaerobic Respiration and Metabolism. In simple terms, your body goes from being able to burn fats for energy to Only being able to burn Sugars (carbohydrates and proteins) for energy.
How to Determine Your Fat Burning Zone
All the books and wall charts tell us that around 70% of your Maximum Heart Rate is when you go from aerobic to anaerobic respiration and metabolism. So, if you want to burn fats, you need to keep your heart rate below what is called your Aerobic Threshold… Your Fat Burning Zone.
In part one, I stated that when you keep your heart rate at let’s say, 68% of your max heart rate, your metabolic burn rate could be something like an 80/20 split. 80% of the calories burned come from carbs and proteins, and 20% come from the breakdown of fats. I also pointed out that if you slowed your pace to around 60% of your max heart rate, instead of 70%, you could essentially flip your metabolic burn rate to maybe 20/80. Twenty percent of your calories burned will come from carbohydrates and proteins and 80% will come from the breakdown of FATS.
Yes, I agree that your fat burning zone is between 50-85% of your maximum heart rate. What the books and wall charts don’t tell you is that 70% is based on the average person walking the planet. They are guesstimating that 70% number purely off your age. They fail to point out one huge variable to consider, in determining if 70% is a good number for YOU!
Are you overweight? If you are, there is a good chance you are probably a bit de-conditioned. The fact that two-thirds of the adult population in the United States are overweight or obese is something you need to consider when trying to determine what YOUR Aerobic Threshold is.
If you’re 20-40 pounds overweight, you need to take into consideration that your body is probably a bit de-conditioned. And instead of simply taking 70% of your max heart rate based solely on your age, and using that as your Fat burning plateau, without taking into consideration the level of de-conditioning, as a result of your extra bodyweight – is a mistake. It would be wise to assume your Fat Burning zone is closer to 65% of your max heart rate instead of 70% if you are 20-40 pounds overweight.
If you are more than 40 pounds overweight, you are even more de-conditioned and would assume your aerobic threshold is probably closer to 60% of your max heart rate. So Slow Down. Don’t Let your ego get in the way. One of the biggest mistakes I see so often is that people are training too fast for their level of conditioning and are usually Burning Proteins (lean muscle) for energy – instead of FATS! This is why people often say, yes, I lost weight, but I can’t seem to lose the Fat and Flab!
When I say slow down, I’m talking about when you do your Aerobic Fat Burning workout. When it’s time to push yourself and crank up your testosterone and growth hormone… let your ego push you. That’s how you build or keep your lean muscle.
If you’re questioning whether 70 or 80% of your max heart rate is the right number for you. Let me share one other little factoid. ONLY Your Elite Runners and Triathletes can train at 80-85% of their max heart rate and still burn FATS for energy. So, if you’re not an elite runner or triathlete… And you want to Burn Fat when you are doing your aerobic activity… Slow Your Butt Down!!!
Don’t let your ego get in the way. It takes years of Proper Aerobic Training to move your aerobic threshold into the 80th percentile. It doesn’t happen in a few weeks. It’s like developing 20-inch biceps – it takes years of proper training. Definitely more than a few weeks or months.
I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking, my heart rate monitor says I’m already at around 70% of my max heart rate – and I’m simply walking. If I start jogging, my heart rate will go over 80% of my max heart rate.
If that’s you… Chew on This. Your little heart muscle is beating at 70-80% of its max heart rate – yet your little leg muscles are only pumping at 30-40% of their maximum. It’s a mismatch, they are out of balance with each other! Burning Calories and Burning the Fat and Flab are two different things! This is why it’s important to Eat Right, Train Smart, Think Better!