Fat Burn Zone vs Cardio Zone

  • Baker30

    Posts: 7

    Oct 07, 2010 5:02 AM GMT
    So I'm sure this is an entirely silly question, but I've only recently joined a gym and have no clue.

    Before I actually start in on a weights program, I'm getting myself in the habit of going to the gym daily. I joined on Oct 1 and have gone every day since signing up.

    I've been doing 60 minutes of cardio. Mostly recumbent bike, a little elliptical when sitting down gets annoying.

    On the bikes that my gym has there's this wacky chart that says 'Fat burn zone' and 'Cardio zone'

    At my age it says to aim for 124 beats per minute, so this is what I've been doing for the past four days.

    That said, what exactly is the difference between the two, am I not getting the exercise I should be by only shooting for that heart rate as opposed to a higher one?

    Advice/Explanation would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
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    Oct 07, 2010 12:20 PM GMT
    As explained to me by my first trainer about the machines at my gym...

    The 'fat burning zone' is a heart rate low enough, on average, to promote fat burning it keep your body in an aerobic or more oxygen rich environment.

    The 'cardio zone' is higher and you body slips into an anaerobic state because you can't possibly get enough oxygen...so the theory is that it is better for your heart and cardio health to do at least some in the cardio zone, but fat burning is optimized at a lower heart rate.

    My second trainer said that was all crap and a calorie burnt is a calorie burnt and going slower and trying to stay in the 'fat burning zone' just takes longer to burn the same calories.

    My guess is that no one really knows, and maybe there are some strong individual differences in how we burn fat.
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    Oct 07, 2010 2:15 PM GMT
    From my 35 years of training, and my research, I've made the following observations.

    For me, HIIT in 12 to 20 minute sessions is VASTLY more effective in preserving muscle, keeping my heart rate up, and removing fat. Most current research from universities supports that view as well.

    The very latest research, regarding sudden death of endurance athletes, has shown that long duration cardio, like running for hours, causes not just impact damage, but, also cardiac damage. It's especially bad in weekend warriors, who don't exercise frequently enough to allow the cardiovascular system to accommodate that load. It's been know for quite a while that a number of endurance athletes drop dead for no apparent reason. It's now known that they damage their hearts in the way that they exercise.

    HIIT, with its "spurts", is much better for conditioning, produces less damage, and preserves muscle, especially in those not getting enough calories.

    Good examples of HIIT are lines, bleachers, hockey, basketball, stairs with intervals. If you're a real jock, you'll remember football practice, hockey practice, or basketball practice. That's HIIT.

    Too much cardio, for too long, with too few calories, teaches your body the feast famine syndrome, and turns it into a fat storing, slow-running, machine. That's stupid, and counter-productive.

    As a man, understand that every pound of lean muscle you carry can burn up to 20 calories per day, just sitting there. The easiest way to get lean is to gain muscle. You do that by eating, and lifting in a way to promote sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

    In addition, lifting has none of the issues of impact exercise like running, and it strengthens your bones, and can raise your metabolic rate AS YOU GROW OLDER.

    Do HIIT, 12 to 20 minutes, every day for the best results. Lift several days a week. Eat small meals often. Keep your calories up, if you want to make any gains. Failure to eat is a plan for failure.

    When I contest train, I'll start out with two 20 minute HIIT sessions per day, but, typically, don't need that after just a few weeks. I take my calories UP and I get busy. You have to have energy to train hard, and you get that by eating. I'll often take my calories as high as 4800 a day when I go to lean out.

    At 50, my max heart rate is 220 - 50 or 170. When I'm contest training, I'll bring my heart rate to 190. Right now, when I HIIT, I bring my heart rate to 150 to 155, or about 90% of my maximal heart rate. For most folks, who haven't been doing it for so long, they probably don't want to take their heart rate so high. Logan, the 21 year old who lives with me, routinely takes his HIIT heart rate to 160 for 15 to 20 minutes.

    In my most recent cardiac sonogram, I passed with flying colors. Like the rest of me, my heart is strong and vital.

    Drink lots of water.
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    Oct 07, 2010 3:30 PM GMT
    Chucky,

    Excellent advice. I see too many people mindlessly doing low intensity cardio while reading the paper, talking, etc., and they never lose fat.
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    Oct 07, 2010 6:43 PM GMT
    If you can talk, and, if you're not dripping wet, you're not doing it right. If you can do it for more than 20 minutes, you aren't doing it right. If you wanna look, feel, and act like a race horse you have to train like one.
  • MisterT

    Posts: 1272

    Oct 07, 2010 7:00 PM GMT
    Well, you can do aerobic cardio and talk, part of definition of aerobic cardio, with oxygen, is the talk test. If you can still talk, it's aerobic. I do fine with aerobic exercise, but I am certainly sweating, and not reading(since I'm typically outdoors jogging or cycling, hard to read). Keeping heart rate at about 70-75% of max rate is fat burning cardio zone. Can still talk, though softly.

    The body typically burns more fat with aerobic workout than anaerobic workouts.
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    Oct 07, 2010 7:23 PM GMT
    You're wrong. University study after university study has shown HIIT to be vastly more effective at fat burn.

    Type this into Google and start reading:

    hiit fat burn versus cardio

    This will help you to understand it a bit better.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson178.htm

    HIIT is up to 50% more efficient in burning adipose tissue (fat) than low-intensity exercise.

    When I started lifting, 35 years ago, "they" said that I'd be muscle bound and tight, and get injured. That's all nonsense. That's the whole low intensity cardio thing, too....If you wanna' get lean, you gotta' get busy and you have to have intensity.

    You can burn a tiny bit more of fat doing mindless cardio for hours, during that exercise bout, but, if you want a rockin' metabolism, and more overall fat burn, and want to be much leaner, and more productive in your exercise, with a stronger heart, it's HIIT that wins hands down, any day of the week.
  • KinesiologyMa...

    Posts: 123

    Oct 07, 2010 7:30 PM GMT
    Look I am studying kinesiology and when I learned about the "fat burning zone" It was kind of a joke because if you do the math and measure out the amount of calories burned it still comes out to more calories if your heart rate is up higher in the cardiovascular zone, so the higher the heart rate the more calories burned.
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    Oct 07, 2010 7:33 PM GMT
    Of course it does. You gotta' get your metabolism fired up. You gotta' eat. You gotta' get busy.

    This is what happens when you get your calories up and you get busy:

    9730_176046.jpg

    I USED to believe the non-sense of the low intensity cardio, but, as soon as I brought my calories up and got busy with HIIT, it was much easier, I was MUCH leaner, eating more, and spent less time doing it, and ended up in better shape.

    Go run bleachers. Now, tell me if you're in better shape than sitting on a bike spinning. It's a no-brainer thing.

    The first person that turned me on to it was John Parrillo of Parrillo Performance. I was fighting to get lean, doing endless hours of cardio. I got the calories up, and had the energy to train, and I leaned out FAST.

    Go play ice hockey the right way, or basketball, and tell me what gets you in better shape and allows you to gobble down food.

    If you're way out of shape, or have never been an athlete, HIIT will have you puking. You'll need to start with the less effective, mindless, and less fun, boring-ass, low intensity cardio. Once you get into shape, you'll be able to step up to HIIT.

    If you're young, and a real jock, go get into a fast pickup game, do burpeees, sprints, run bleachers, or blast away on the stairs; not only will you be lean, but you'll very much improve your cardiac threshold versus low intensity cardio. HIIT is vastly superior for improving your cardiac threshold, as well.
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    Oct 07, 2010 9:39 PM GMT
    chuckystudIf you can talk, and, if you're not dripping wet, you're not doing it right.


    That is true of many things.
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    Oct 07, 2010 10:59 PM GMT
    There are a lot of things Chuckystud has posted on this subject which I find difficult to understand. For example, what is hiit?
    However, I attend a gym regularly and I use mainly the elliptical cross trainer. On the console there is a cardio/fatburn chart, which looks to me that they are very similar, if not one and the same. I have the option to wear at my chest a transmitter with which I can monitor the cardio rate during the workout. Normally I don't.
    Generally, the longer the duration plus the greater resistance intensity, the greater the calories I burn in relation to my weight. For example, 35 minutes at level 16 and I burn 750 calories. When I started, this was the program I set for myself. Now I do 50 minutes (which includes five minute cooldown) at level 18, just above fatburn, and consume on average 1,040 calories per session.
    I also go out for a run once or twice a week, usually with a running partner. Starting with a short run, we gradually added distance.
    The following pics shows the result of this exercise over a space of a year.
    It up to you to decide whether a difference can be seen...

    11tbuxz.jpg

    34t1lr7.jpg

    You may have seen these images before. They lead a thread posted on the Losing Weight column of threads. Basically, the second pic was taken over a year after the first, as a result of what I stated above. But exercise must be balanced out with what to eat. Cut out any high calorie stuff which is unnecessary. Things like chocolate, candy, ice cream, cake, reduce or cut out sugar in tea or coffee. Go for fresh fruit after a meal, not hot pud in custard. These are all the things I'm doing now, and as such, the lower pic is already becoming outdated, as my weight is still going down at present.
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    Oct 07, 2010 11:24 PM GMT
    If you stay in the fat burning zone you burn more fat calories. However if you work out in the cardio zone, you burn more overall calories in general which also includes more fat calories as a percentage of total calories burned.

    Also for the previous forum poster's question: 'What is HIIT?'

    HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training. Basically your body's cardio system can get accustomed to the usual 45 minutes of gradual intensity and slow down when performing cardio which overtime will lead to a slow down in calorie burn. With HIIT you jolt your body out of its comfort zone with interval of intensity follow by decreased levels repeated numerous times. This leads to increased calorie burn.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 08, 2010 7:37 AM GMT
    Chuckles is right on this one. If you donĀ“t know what HIIT is then I introduce you to a wonderful tool: google.
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    Oct 09, 2010 2:07 AM GMT
    Briefs29 said
    chuckystudIf you can talk, and, if you're not dripping wet, you're not doing it right.


    That is true of many things.
    Fuck yeah! Borat.gif&t=1
    And, that's absolutely correct concerning cardio, too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 10, 2010 7:02 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidFrom my 35 years of training, and my research, I've made the following observations.

    For me, HIIT in 12 to 20 minute sessions is VASTLY more effective in preserving muscle, keeping my heart rate up, and removing fat. Most current research from universities supports that view as well.

    The very latest research, regarding sudden death of endurance athletes, has shown that long duration cardio, like running for hours, causes not just impact damage, but, also cardiac damage. It's especially bad in weekend warriors, who don't exercise frequently enough to allow the cardiovascular system to accommodate that load. It's been know for quite a while that a number of endurance athletes drop dead for no apparent reason. It's now known that they damage their hearts in the way that they exercise.

    HIIT, with its "spurts", is much better for conditioning, produces less damage, and preserves muscle, especially in those not getting enough calories.

    Good examples of HIIT are lines, bleachers, hockey, basketball, stairs with intervals. If you're a real jock, you'll remember football practice, hockey practice, or basketball practice. That's HIIT.

    Too much cardio, for too long, with too few calories, teaches your body the feast famine syndrome, and turns it into a fat storing, slow-running, machine. That's stupid, and counter-productive.

    As a man, understand that every pound of lean muscle you carry can burn up to 20 calories per day, just sitting there. The easiest way to get lean is to gain muscle. You do that by eating, and lifting in a way to promote sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

    In addition, lifting has none of the issues of impact exercise like running, and it strengthens your bones, and can raise your metabolic rate AS YOU GROW OLDER.

    Do HIIT, 12 to 20 minutes, every day for the best results. Lift several days a week. Eat small meals often. Keep your calories up, if you want to make any gains. Failure to eat is a plan for failure.

    When I contest train, I'll start out with two 20 minute HIIT sessions per day, but, typically, don't need that after just a few weeks. I take my calories UP and I get busy. You have to have energy to train hard, and you get that by eating. I'll often take my calories as high as 4800 a day when I go to lean out.

    At 50, my max heart rate is 220 - 50 or 170. When I'm contest training, I'll bring my heart rate to 190. Right now, when I HIIT, I bring my heart rate to 150 to 155, or about 90% of my maximal heart rate. For most folks, who haven't been doing it for so long, they probably don't want to take their heart rate so high. Logan, the 21 year old who lives with me, routinely takes his HIIT heart rate to 160 for 15 to 20 minutes.

    In my most recent cardiac sonogram, I passed with flying colors. Like the rest of me, my heart is strong and vital.

    Drink lots of water.
    Exactly, plus people have a tenancy to complain that they don't have time to exercise and they never lose fat. I know that as a college student, I have time to burn off 300+ calories.
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    Oct 10, 2010 7:19 PM GMT
    If you purely want to burn fat, then yes, high intensity interval training is by far the best. Go out to a track (or a treadmill) and do sprints with jogging in between, or run/cycle hills. This is the most effective way to burn fat specifically.

    Of course, if you have other goals that aren't supported by HIIT, then don't worry about it...focus on those instead. I enjoy lifting, but right now I'm focusing on beginning to train for a triathlon which means more long distance running/swimming/cycling. While cycling on hills will give me interval training, the rest are fairly steady state which may mean that I won't be able to gain insane amounts of muscle or burn as much fat...but I'll still be able to keep enough muscle and burn enough fat that I'll be happy. If cardio isn't interval though, it should be high intensity...ditto on those commenting on people walking on the treadmill for an hour at the gym.
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    Oct 11, 2010 1:15 AM GMT
    This is one of the hardest things for me. when I was younger I was so intense of the cardio "burn" and getting my hear rate up and keeping it there. I have since had to work hard to slow down to stay in the fat buring zone. HITT has been a big help, but I still slip back into "go for the burn"..

    Good luck and dont give up, the benefits of working out are awesome.
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    Oct 11, 2010 2:57 AM GMT
    High
    Intensity
    Interval
    Training

    Yeeeeeessssssss .. it's a lot more fun than doing the same thing for an hour, too. But a little more complicated for someone with zero experience, who doesn't have ready access to a trainer.

    My suggestion.. fuck the charts right now. Just get into the habit of WORKING. Sooner or later.. you're gonna get bored of treadmills and stationary bikes, and you're going to want to expand on what you're doing. I would imagine that any of these huge headed ox-men like Chuckles (who'm I love, and fear) .. all took a lot of time to understand what worked for their bodies, and what they enjoyed doing.

    If you ever have the time, and the money, all together.... a good personal trainer is one of the best investments you can make.
  • chapguy123

    Posts: 25

    Oct 11, 2010 5:06 PM GMT
    both use glycogen storage and fat storage but at different proportions/rates.

    Cardio zone = burn more calories from using glycogen storage.
    fat burn zone = burns more calories from using fat storage.

    cardio =burns more calories overall.

    In the diabetes prevention program, they found that those who exercised moderately (30 minutes brisk walking) lost as much weight as those who exercised intensely for the same amount of time.

    In other words, the time spend is much more significant than what form of exercise you take.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 12, 2010 10:25 PM GMT
    I always tell fat folks to walk (me included).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 13, 2010 6:10 AM GMT
    about the heart rate zones, you need to take the 220 -age with a grain of salt.

    it's better to take a vo2max test, there are sites giving you various options to do so ( running, biking, treadmill ... ) .
    and do your calculations based on those results.

    at 53 , if i do grueling hill intervals, i'll be lucky if i hit 162 bpm .
    even at 160 i'll feel like puking .
    a doctor told me it has to do with the size of your heart , bigger pump
    means less beatings.
    i've never felt so bighearted .:p

    but i totally support the high intensity training - after you've buillt a foundation for it. Bicycling magazine had published an article about that years ago and i converted right there and then .

  • Baker30

    Posts: 7

    Nov 03, 2010 12:53 AM GMT
    Guys, thank you for all the advice!
    It's been really helpful and has definitely led to a lot of beneficial reading.
    Just started in on one of the 12 week programs the site hosts, just Strength Foundations since I'm pretty gym stupid, but it's definitely a start.
    After I slog through that I'm going to book some time with one of the personal trainers at my gym and go from there.
    Thanks again!