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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Am I burning fat with this heart rate range?

I need help please, I go to the gym three times a week we have no trainer
so I hope what I am doing is correct? I don?t know what my resting heart rate is, but I have been reading many forums on this and was told to take my age from 220 = 167 and that?s my maximum rate; so I work out 125 to 145.

On the cross trainer I DO THE FAT BURN PROGRAM for 20 minutes work out at heart rate of 125 to 145, then I go on to the walker for 30 minutes 2mins slow then power walk for 5 minutes slow down for 2 minutes then hill walk for 5 minutes and so on for 30 minutes.

Can you tell me please am I FAT BURNING?



Our expert says...


Firstly, well done for figuring out your approximate maximum heart rate via information provided in the forums and for scheduling your cardiovascular workrates accordingly based on this figure. By choosing a heart rate range of 125-145 you are effectively working at an intensity that will mobilise and utilise fat storage in your body so my answer to your question is YES.

Try not to worry about not exercising "correctly" to lose wieght because if you are being consistently physcially active then you really have to go out of your way to get it wrong! Just to optimise your results though, just have a read of this additional information that is worth being aware of:

- the ?fat burn? heart rate range on cardiovascular machines/heart rate monitors is deceptive and misleading as it merely highlights the range in which the exercise is so comfortable that the body will predominantly rely on body fat as a fuel source as opposed to muscle glycogen (carbohydrate!).

However, this is merely because carbohydrate is a faster energy source and tends to be relied upon when working at a moderate to high intensity because of the overload on the heart and muscles. So whenever you need to do something fast or produce force, carbohydrates are the better fuel. Fats are favoured during long, low-intensity activities.

Important note: It is not that you stop using one or the other fuel; it is that the ratio of both shifts depending on your activity. In more scientific terms, you alternate between aerobic (more fat-burning) and anaerobic (more carbohydrate-burning) metabolism.

- When it comes to weight loss, it really does not matter whether you are burning more or less fat. It does not matter what your calories are made of, but it does matter how many calories you burn and the more the better. For example, when we are seated or sleeping we are burning mainly fat but only about one calorie per minute. Clearly, even though you are in a greater fat-burning state, no one ever lost weight by sitting!

You do burn less fat when you work anaerobically, but it does not matter because you are burning more total calories. You will always burn more calories the longer or harder you exercise, no matter what your intensity is. So, doing cardio for only 10minutes in total would make no sense either unless you are short on time. Burning BOTH fat calories and carbohydrate calories can result in fat loss or pounds off the scale.

- So, just be aware that is you were to train at a higher intensity you will still achieve the outcome of calorie burning (more actually) and fat loss. You could work at an intensity of 70-90% (or 8-9 out of 10 on a scale of your personal effort) for a lesser time 15-35 minutes (you simply won't be able to train for as long at this intensity).

The higher the intensity, the more calories that are burned in the session and the longer the metabolic rate remains elevated therefore using up more fat cells! Even though your duration is shorter you can still burn as many calories and actually burn more body fat in the following days.

Hope this helps


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