Heart Rate and Fat-Burning Zones: The Truth

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It?s not that simple. 

The heart-rate zone style workouts became very popular as wearable technology improved and allowed for easier tracking.  Many guides will have you believe that staying in a certain heart-rate zone will specifically burn more fat.  Our bodies are way more complicated than that. 

Myths in the health and fitness world spread quickly and this one is no exception. Measuring your heart-rate can give a lot of useful information and it?s something I do all the time.  

Heart Rate Chart

However, setting your entire workout on it is missing the point. Hopefully I can help you navigate through these uncertain waters. 

Yes, your body reacts differently to different intensities.  

Longer, less intense workouts, also known as aerobic training, do rely on fat stores more.  However, the amount of calories burned is a fraction of what you burn just living and breathing everyday.  

Shorter, more intense workout, know as anaerobic training, have been shown to boost fat burning for up to 24 hours after the workout even though they rely less on fat during the workout. 

There is no line between these too either.  Your body is constantly mixing and shifting between energy systems as you workout.

Mixing it up will boost your metabolism.

The real key to getting the most from your workouts isn?t in the heart rate or tracking how many calories you burned in that session.  It?s from varying your training as much as possible.  

Some days should be longer with low intensity.  Other days should be only minutes but absolutely as fast as you can go.  Some of our most well known workouts in CrossFit only take 3 minutes! 

The rest of the workouts should fall somewhere in the middle or even cycle intensities with intervals.  

The goal is to keep your body off guard.  Constantly having to adapt to new challenges and never being able to become accustom to workouts will boost your metabolic conditioning.  In other words, it will improve how well your body uses those energy systems, leading to a more fit you!  

It should be uncomfortable.

The hard truth is many of the ?fat-burning? zones are a lot more comfortable than going at high intensities.  However, those very uncomfortable workouts have loads of benefits and should be frequently a part of your routine. 

If you are a member of Torva, you?re in luck.  We already mix up the workouts for you!  In fact, varying intensity is top priority in our programming whether you?re in group classes or personal training.  So just keep showing up and we?ll do the rest! 

Coach J.J. 

Coach J.J.

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