Fat Burning Zone: Does It Equal Fat Loss

By Carla T. Hardy – MS, CSCS, EIM, CSN 

If you have been to a fitness center and hopped on a piece of cardio equipment, you’ve seen that infamous “FAT BURNING ZONE” button on it. Will it really help you burn off the fat? Sure, if you stay on it for the next century. 

“Fat burning” refers to the body’s ability to oxidize (or burn) fat by using fat instead of carbohydrate as the main fuel source during activity. This process is called Beta Oxidation. When people see the “Fat Burning Zone” button on their desired piece of cardio equipment, they often associate it with body weight or body fat loss. However, that does not always correlate. Exercising in the fat burning zone means moving at a low intensity (50 – 65% of your maximum heart-rate). And that means more time spent to burn the same calories you would if you were working at a higher intensity. In order to lose weight/fat, you must consume fewer calories than you expend consistently over a period of time. Remember a pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. 

So is exercising in the “FAT BURNING ZONE” the best way to go for fat loss?? 

If you are CAPABLE of working out at a higher intensity, then do so. Exercising at a higher intensity (70 – 85% of your maximum heart-rate) is more ideal to shed the pounds. And remember the ultimate variable in fat loss is your nutrition. Be sure to make healthier food choices and the results will come.

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