the “Fat Burning Zone” misunderstanding

TM2A1752.jpg TM2A1752Fat Burning Zone

One thing that has always gotten under my skin is this whole fat burning “zone” thing. The majority of people don’t really understand the big picture. The fat burning zone is a zone specific heart rate that causes the person to burn the highest percentage of fat from calories instead of burning carbohydrates (sugars) or protein (muscle) while exercising.  After all most people are exercising to burn fat and not to burn muscle or carbohydrates. So for instance say you calculate your optimal fat burning zone and find out your number is between 125-135 bpm (heart beats per minute). This means to burn the highest percentage of calories from fat while doing your cardio you would need make sure not go above that number of heart beats per minute or you will start burning more carbohydrates and protein (muscle) to supply the energy from a percentage standpoint. But these numbers can be misleading.  Do you know when you burn your highest percentage of calories from fat? You probably would never think of it. But it is when you are asleep. You see it takes oxygen to burn fat. If there is no oxygen then your body has to burn sugar for energy. So in that respect if your say running full speed or high intensity cardio, your oxygen levels are limited and you burn a higher rate of carbohydrates (sugar) and less percentage of fat. So say to do cardio in the fat burning zone you want your heart rate to be around 65% max so that your burning calories yet still have enough oxygen to burn the fat. So it seems to be the most efficient way to burn fat if you exercise in the “fat burning zone” without your heart rate going over 70% which would mean oxygen limitations. But there is so much more to it then this and so many people and fitness enthusiast miss the big picture. For example lets say you do do cardio or exercise and keep your heart rate moderate and in the 65% zone for 45 minutes. Say your burn 400 calories and 40% of those calories come from fat. So that would mean that of those 400 calories 160 of them was suppossedly fat. Remember these numbers are just figures to prove a point. So that is a pretty high percentage of calorie burning coming from fat. So what if you do cardio way above the fat burning zone for 30 minutes, 15 minutes less than the above example and because your putting more effort you burn 900 calories but now your only burning 20% calories from fat because of low oxygen. That would be approximately 180 calories burned from fat. So you got to exercise 15 minutes less and still burned a few more calories from even though the percentage of calories is cut by 50%. So lets look at it in chart form.

Cardio in zone at 65% heart rate  for 45 minutes = 400 calories burned= 40% from fat (160) calories from fat.


Cardio zone higher heart rate 80% for 25 minutes = 900 calories burned = 20% from fat (180) calories from fat.  (also you are cutting workout time in half).

But wait the discussion doesn’t stop there. Who cares how much fat you burn during the actual exercise!!! What about post workout fat burning. Who cares about the 25-45 minutes you spend exercising. You actually burn much more fat for several hours after you leave do to the exercise speeding up your metabolism. Also studies show that the higher intensity the workout the longer your calorie burning lasts (as much as 8 hours worth), as opposed to lower intensity workouts. So depending on your goals you will need to decide which way is better for you but don’t get so caught up into this fat burning zone stuff and be more concerned on which way burns the most fat overall during a 24 hour period and week to week, month to month.


Do you lose weight easier by eating less or exercising more?

 Lose weight, eat  less or exercise more?

The basis for weight loss is really simple if you think about it.  If you reduce more calories than you normally burn, by either reducing your food intake or increasing your exercise, you will lose weight. Eating fewer calories will lead to faster weight loss in most people because substantial calorie deficits through exercise would require a large volume of training. However, by lifting weights and doing resistance exercises can help maintain muscle or build muslce mass and in turn create a  higher metabolic rate which would burn more fat and making it easier in the long run to maintain the weight loss.

Calorie Deficits

Losing a pound of body weight requires that you take in or spend 3,500 calories less than you usually burn. Therefore, to lose a pound per week through diet and exercise, you would have to average a 500-calorie deficit per day by reducing your food intake, increasing your exercise, or doing some combination of the two. However,  long-term calorie restriction is difficult to maintain and can slow your metabolism down by decreasing muscle mass. Also to many high intensity cardio or weightlifting sessions of exercise may increase your appetite causing you to eat more and therefore taking away your calorie deficit.


By eating healthty unprocessed nutritionaly dense foods and creating a calorie deficit over time is the best way to lose the weight. By carefully choose foods that are higher in volume and lower in calories such as fruits and vegetable it can be quite easy to creat a calorie deficit.


Although a reduced-calorie diet is most effective for short-term weight loss, weightlifting and exercise in addition to a calorie deficit may promote long-term weight loss better than diet alone. While the analysis of 513 weight loss interventions showed a similar rate of weight loss during the initial weeks, the individuals who went through the diet plus exercise intervention maintained more of the weight loss compared to the individuals who only dieted. Lifting weights preserves more muscle mass during a reduced-calorie diet, compared to dieting alone. Because muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat, maintaining muscle mass will keep your metabolism elevated and perhaps make it easier to keep excess weight off.


The efficacy of diet or exercise in promoting weight loss will likely depend on how many calories you are currently eating and the amount of exercise you are doing. For example, if you are already doing a large volume of exercising, you probably cannot comfortably increase your exercise much more and would benefit from adjusting your caloire intake. Also if you do not have a high calorie intake and do not exercise, increasing activity level along with making minor dietary adjustments is a better strategy for you.

Simple Rules of eating healthy

There are all kinds of diet strategies out there and it gets so confusing for people, eat this but don’t eat that. Fruit is healthy right? I mean fruit contains vitamins and antioxidants? No! Dont eat fruit its sugar and you’ll get fat! Say No to carbs. Carbs will make you fat! I hear so many do’s and dont’s that contradict each other all day long.

Here is a simple common sense approach that I always tell people and yes you can get all into the science of it and break down protein, carbs,  fat and customize a specific detailed plan to accomplish something but most people dont want to go that route and its so mentally draining.

Well for starters a simple approach is to eat all the foods that God designed for our bodies and be cautious of man-made or processed foods.

Genesis 1:29

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

This identifies all fruits, grains, nuts, seed, vegetables etc etc. Later He added certain animals to be consumed also for food.  So if you stick with the food that was designed for our body then you can’t go wrong. So feel free to eat lean cuts of beef, turkey, chicken, fish etc…. with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nut and seeds. Doing this simple step with greatly improve your health and fat loss. Stay away from food that comes in a box or processed food.

And yes you can get really detailed with a diet and weigh and measure all your food but for most people just eating good natural foods and cuting out the junk and processed foods will be enough.

CAUTION: Grains such as bread and pasta you have to be careful with as man has tainted them by processing and stripping the of the nutrition and adding a bunch of chemicals (preservatives). Bread is very healthy but you have to know what your doing and hunt for the least processed kind such as bread from specialty stores such as Whole Foods.

In summary focus more on lean meats, fibrous vegetables, and fruits and eat the starchy carbs in moderation depending on your goals.



Gym Ettiquette

Proper Gym Ettiquette or gym (manners) seems to have gone out the window these days. I don’t know if it is because of lack of experience in the gyms or just plain disrepect. For example when gyms get busy and most of the equipment is used you normally might ask someone “hi how many sets do you have left?” or “can I work in with you?” A normal response should be “sure! come work in” or ” ” I have 3 sets left but feel free to work in” This is common sense gym etitquette. Everybody should be able to share equipment without hogging it or getting offended when asked how many sets they have left . It really is no inconvienance as you need to rest a small while between sets. I have asked before if I could work in on a machine that I needed and have seen there person turn angry and say “im using it” or I’ve had them grab there towel and storm off angrily.

Also I have seen people take weights off the machine while i am using it, instead of asking first if I am using the tens or can they have them. There has been times when I’m getting ready to add some weight from the stack on the equipment im using and someone will come over while im benching and just take weight and leave. This is rude. Before going to a maching that someone is using you should ask if they are using it first and could you use them. These are just a few common sense gym rules that seem to be going out the window.


fat loss 101

Basic rules to lose fat

These are some really basic rules for losing body fat. This is not a super detailed fat loss article but just to get an understanding of what it takes to lose body fat. There is actually three foundational things you need to do to speed fat loss.  1. You need to lift weights to build muscle 2. Eat the right foods in the right macro-nutrient servings. 3. Add some sort of cardiovascular exercise. Note: do not over do the cardio. I will go into this into another section.

In this section I will briefly explain the nutritional portion. First and fore most there are calories. We need to burn or spend more calories than we eat on a daily basis. So if you are eating say 2000 calories a day but only burning 1500 then you have an overage of 500 calories per day that will go to storage or body fat. But if you were eating 2000 calories per day and burning 2500 then you would be negative 500 per day and your body would have to supply or manufacture that needed energy with its own resources (your body fat). Keep in mind your body does not operate on a 24 hour regimented schedule. You don’t eat too many calories one day and wake up 24 hours later and see the body fat or weight gain. It is a process of time. Say for instance in 30 days you think you’re eating well because 24 of those days you under ate and ate good “clean” food but then the 6 other days you over ate your calorie limit by 800-1000 or so (which can easily be done with a margarita or two or a cake and ice cream dessert at dinne. In your mind you sacrificed all those 24 days and think you deserve something for it but in reality you went over your calorie limit over the 30 day period and lost zero body fat or even gained some. This is something to take into consideration.

You need to follow a good nutrition program. One that gives you all the right nutrients you need to build or sustain the muscles and burn the fat. There are many different strategies and you might need to experiment around and see which one of these plans best fits you. A good way to start is to begin with a certain calorie limit and macro-nutrient range. For example 2000 calories per day. Then take those calories and break down the macro-nutrients (protein, carbs, fat) down to 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat or 40/40/20. Break down the 2000 calories into how many meals you would like per day. It does not really matter how many meals you eat 2 or 6 per day. I will go into this later in another section. But I do not buy into the whole you must eat every 3 hours to “boost” your metabolism thing. Just divide the meals up depending on your preference. You then follow this regimen for 1 or 2 weeks and analyze the results by taking pictures, weighing yourself, and measurements. If you’re losing body fat then keep on this plan. If you are not then you can re adjust your calories by dropping 200-500 calories per day and go another week and analyze yourself again. If you are losing weight to quickly then you will lose muscle which you do not want to do. So then you must increase you calories by 200-500 per day. Once you find your calorie range to lose fat at a slow steady pace you then adjust accordingly as you go. You keep doing this until you have reached your body fat goals.