October 24, 2011

Burn Fat Faster

Cardiovascular exercise should be done a minimum of three times a week, enduring at least 20 minutes per session.  Your exercise intensity should be between 50-85% of your maximum heart rate. Your heart rate should be monitored by either checking your pulse rate or by using a heart rate monitor. All cardiovascular exercises should be done after a 5-10 minute warm-up (at a low intensity of 50-60 percent of your max HR) and should always be followed by a 5-10 minute cool-down (at a low intensity of 50-60 percent of your max HR.


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Outside of these basics, where should you train if fat loss is a primary concern? There are a few cardio options which produce favorable results. Let’s take a look at how to maximize your fat burning potential.

There are five cardio zones which produce very different results. Where you train will be a function of your current level of fitness and your primary goal.

Healthy Heart Zone
The first zone is called the Healthy Heart Zone. This is 50-60% of your max HR. This is the easiest and most comfortable zone within which to train and is the one that is best for people who are just starting an exercise program or coming back from injury. Exercise in this zone can help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of degenerative diseases and has a low risk of injury. In this zone, 10% of carbohydrates are “burned” (used as energy), 5% of protein is burned and 85% of fat is burned.

Fitness Zone
The next zone is the Fitness Zone, which is 60-70% of your max HR. Once again, 85% of your calories burned in this zone are fats, 5% are proteins and 10% are carbohydrates. In this zone, you are training your fat cells to increase the rate of fat release and training your muscles to burn fat. Therefore, the benefits of this zone are not only the same as the healthy heart zone training at 50-60% but you are now slightly increasing the total number of calories burned and provide a little more cardiorespiratory benefits. You burn more total calories at this zone simply because it is more intense.


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Aerobic Zone
The third zone, the Aerobic Zone, requires that you train at 70-80% of your max HR. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. In this zone, your level of fitness will greatly improve as well as your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. In this zone, 50% of calories burned are from carbohydrates, 50% are from fat and less than 1% is from protein. And, because there is an increase in intensity, there is also an increase in the total number of calories burned.

Anaerobic Zone
The next training zone is called the Anaerobic zone, which is 80-90% of your max HR. Benefits include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you`ll be able to fight fatigue better. Since the intensity is high, more calories will be burned than within the other three zones. Although more calories are burned in this zone, 85% of the calories burned are from carbohydrates, 15% from fat and less than 1% are from protein.

Red-line Zone
The last training zone is called the Redline Zone, which is 90-100% of your max HR. Remember, training at 100% is your maximum heart rate (maximum HR), your heart rate will not get any higher. This zone burns the highest total number of calories and the lowest percentage of fat calories. Ninety percent of the calories burned here are carbohydrates, only 10% are fats and again less than one percent is protein. This zone is so intense that very few people can actually stay in this zone for the minimum 20 minutes, or even five minutes (you should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so). For example, one might do three minutes in the Aerobic Zone and then one minute in this Redline Zone and then back to the Aerobic Zone. This is also known as interval training.

People of low functional capacity (out of shape) who are just starting out should begin training at a low intensity, probably between 50-65% of their max HR.

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