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Blog What is the “Fat Burning Zone” and Does it Really Exist?


What is the “Fat Burning Zone” and Does it Really Exist?

  • by Michelle
  • September 22, 2011

If you exercise regularly then I am sure you have heard about the “fat burning zone” and that working out in this “zone” will burn fat and lose weight most efficiently.  Most people begin working out or continue to work out for one main reason: to lose weight.  The fat burning zone has been described as working at a lower intensity with a steady state heart rate (60-70% of maximum heart rate (MHR)) for an extended period of time, although this method is great for building cardiovascular endurance, it might not be your best bet for losing weight. 

Best Ways to Burn Fat

Research has shown the body does burn a higher percentage of calories from fat while working at lower intensities over an extended period of time (fat burning zone); however, research has also found that working at higher intensities (70-80% of MHR) burns more total calories during a workout.  Working at higher intensities has been traditionally called the “cardiovascular zone”, but this does not mean if looking to lose weight you must never venture out of the so called “fat burning zone”!  (Use this online heart rate calculator to help determine your target heart rates: (http://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/heartrate/) or use the simple formula of 220-your age= MHR (multiplied by desired percentage of MHR)

Don’t get me wrong, lower intensity cardiovascular workouts do have their place in a weight loss plan; however, I feel the best way to burn fat is to alternate between longer lower intensity training sessions and  shorter high intensity interval training sessions (HIIT), which are also great for building endurance and torching fat.  It is also important to get into a regular weight training routine when looking to lose weight and decrease body fat percentage, as building lean muscle tissue will help with the fight against fat.  If you have more muscle then your resting metabolic rate is increased, which means you are burning more calories at a resting state than someone with less lean muscle mass.  In Conclusion, if you want to lose weight, but also want that toned look, ensure to incorporate a combination of lower intensity cardio (“fat burning zone”), higher intensity cardio (70-80% MHR), strength training, and clean eating to get the best results in fat burn and weight loss.

Be sure to contact your physician prior to beginning any cardiovascular or strength training routine.  Consider booking a session with a certified fitness professional in your area to help determine target heart rates best for your body type and help build a well balanced routine to help you reach torch fat and get ripped!


Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more information about the most efficient ways to burn fat and lose weight.


Michelle Roots BA Kin, CSCS, PES