Fat Burning Workouts
Fat burning workouts sound like something you need to be doing when you're trying to lose weight. Online media outlets know that people are drawn to the term 'fat burning' and use it to good effect to get people to click the links to their articles.
And I must admit, they sound amazing! However, they're really misleading. Designed to get people to click the link, not necessarily provide them with good, accurate information. Before I knew better, I was one of the people clicking those links, hoping to find the secret workout formula for fat loss. So I totally understand why people are drawn to them. I've now learnt that these types of headlines aren't to be taken literally. And let me explain why...
Your body is in a constant state of both burning fat and storing fat, just to different degrees throughout the day, as I mentioned in my previous post. After a meal you're going to be storing more fat than you're burning. Don't worry, the rest of the day you're probably burning more fat than you're storing. If your body fat increases will depend on the overall balance between fat storage & fat burning. Which is ultimately dictated by energy, (calorie), balance.
It may be true that you're a 'fat burning machine' when doing circuits but that's only a small % of your day. If you're eating too much for the rest of your day, fat storage will exceed fat burning. And when that happens...yep, your body fat stores go up. Bad times.
Many seem to get hung up about how much fat they burn during their workouts. But how much fat they're burning the rest of the day has a much bigger impact on body fat levels. A 1 hour workout is only 4% of your day. 4% isn't a lot you know!
The fat burning zone
I'm not sure if it's as much of a big thing these days, with the increased popularity of HIIT workouts, but the 'fat burning zone' used to be a big deal.
For people who are unaware, the idea of the 'fat burning zone' is that you'd plod along on a treadmill, stationary bike etc at a steady pace that allows your body to stay in it's 'fat burning zone'. Which tends to be a low to moderate intensity.
At lower intensities, fat is the main fuel your body uses for energy. And this is where the idea comes from. At lower intensities, a larger % of your energy comes from using fat.
'Aha! You see, the fat burning zone does exist', I hear you say.
Well, to quote Vicky Pollard from Little Britain, 'Yeah but no'
Just because you derive a higher % of your energy from fat, doesn't mean that'll equal more total fat burning. Not that how you fat you burn during a workout matters, as I explained above. But....
Let's assume that the amount of fat burned during a workout does matter. Even though it doesn't, just for arguments sake, let's pretend it does. Just because you're burning a higher % of fat, (by staying in the fat burning zone), it still doesn't matter. Because the thing we'd care about is total amount of fat burned, not the % of energy from fat. They're 2 different things.
So why am I telling you this?
I want to help you realise that it's not worth concerning yourself about how much fat you burn during your workouts. When you focus on insignificant details like this, you often miss the big picture. You can't see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes.
It's nice to think that there's some advantage to that above strategies but it's just not the case. People are always looking for the magic bullet, the secret fat burning protocol or that 1 weird trick. Magazines and fitness 'gurus' play on this need to sell magazines & workouts plans. Unfortunately, the magic bullet doesn't exist. I wish it did, it'd make my job a lot easier. (Or put me out of a job, one of the two).
Don't focus on how much fat you burn during your workout because it has little impact on the amount of body fat you have. What you're doing the rest of the day & how much you're eating are what you should be focusing on. Hardly ground breaking stuff I know. It won't make the magazine covers, but it'll actually help you get in shape. And that's what I care about.
Take home points
- Your body is in a constant state of both burning fat and storing fat, just to different degrees throughout the day.
- Many seem to get hung up about burning more fat during their workouts, but how much fat they're burning the rest of the day has a much bigger impact on body fat levels.
- If we did care about the fat burned during a workout, (we don't really, but if we did), we'd care about the total amount not the %
- What you're doing the rest of the day & how much you're eating are what you should be focusing on.