As you flip through the options on your treadmill you will come across “Fat Burning” and think heck yeah, burn that fat! But here is why this is just a marketing ploy and not an effective workout.
The only way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you consume. The fat burning zone refers to intensity. While it is true that at lower intensities your fuel source is drawn more from fat than carbohydrates, you will burn less overall calories exercising at this lower intensity. Plus, after a workout, your body is in recovery mode for 24-48 hours. During this time your body draws from the fuel source that has not been depleted. If you used only fat during your 60 minute workout then during the recovery period you will use your carbohydrate supply. I would much rather deplete my carbohydrate supply during my workout and draw from my stored fat for 24-48 hours.
If we are to believe that it is the ratio of fat burned rather than calories burned that is the best way to lose weight, then we should all just sit still on the couch because that is when the ratio of fat vs carbohydrate burn is highest in the fat zone. Tell me, how has that worked for you so far? Have you magically dropped weight from being a couch potato? NO. Are you starting to get it?
Remember the goal of your workout. If you are training for a marathon run then running for a long duration at a lower intensity makes sense because you need to sustain your energy for hours. If your goal is weight loss, you want to burn as many calories as possible. So next time you workout, flip past fat burn and choose intervals. (next post will discuss interval training…stay tuned!)