Since leaving the comfort and relaxed pace of the large health chain group, the ‘Fat Burning Zone’ is a phrase I rarely hear these days as it is a zone that is never required to venture into within the walls of MPA Fitness.

So what is it? Why is it prescribed and why do we believe we should be in it? It is a level of work that is suggested by certain fitness professionals (usually the ones with little athletic prowess themselves) and manufacturers of ‘cardio’ equipment to individuals embarking on an exercise programme who have a desire to lose body fat but don’t want to work hard.

To be in your fat burning zone you should be operating at approximately 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. The calculation to roughly figure that out based on a 40 year old is:

220 minus 40 (age) = 180
180 x 0.6 = 108 bpm (beats per minute) which is the low end of the fat burning zone at 60%.
180 x 0.75 = 135 bpm which is the higher end.

A 40 year old’s fat burning zone therefore is 108-135 bpm and it is in this zone that you will burn a HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF YOUR ENERGY EXPENDITURE FROM FAT.

Woohoo! Cracked it! Let’s live in the fat burning zone man and rejoice happily ever after! Want to know a secret that will help you gain an even HIGHER PERCENTAGE of fuel burned from your fat stores? One that will get you to expend 100% of fuel from fat?

Sleep! Yep sleep or being sat on your fat arse watching tv all day will allow you to burn 100% of your energy from fat! We don’t hear many advocate that approach for exercise though do we? And quite rightly too as you wouldn’t get very far trying to get ripped.

If you work out at a higher intensity, 90-100% of your max heart rate you will use much less of a PERCENTAGE from your fat stores DURING the workout and you will use a larger percentage from carbohydrate stores in your muscles – pre workout drinks are important here too – but it is what occurs AFTER your workout that is the golden nugget.

The harder you work during your session, the harder your body has to work to grow and repair its self AFTERWARDS and that costs energy and while you are asleep at night time your muscle which is ‘alive’ is burning out fat calories.

It also stands to reason doesn’t it? Think about it – who looks the best and is the leanest and strongest? The ones who work out with the intensity of a sloth having a kip or the 400 metre sprinters on an athletics track?