Fat Burning Zone: the end of the myth

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First it was the Tooth Fairy.

Soon followed by Santa.

And then last week I heard  The Fat Burning Zone doesn't exist.

The Fat Burning Zone


't Was only last week, when I happily went through life. Firmly believing in the power of the Fat Burning Zone.

Whenever my Polar heart monitor beeped because my heart beat faster than 150 beats per minute, I would slow down immediately. Because I wanted to stay in the Fat Burning Zone. You know, to burn my fat!

But it turns out, the Fat Burning Zone is just another myth of the nineties!

What is The Fat Burning Zone: one last time


The Fat Burning Zone is the zone in which your body burns fat. And you get in the zone by exercising long, slow and steady.

And this zone is determined by your heart beat per minute. You have to get your heart going at a certain rate, but you don't want it to go too fast either. Because if your heart beats too fast, your body will start to burn carbohydrates instead of fat.

Unfortunately this has turned out to be myth!

Has everything I believed in been a lie?!


No it hasn't. There is some truth to the Fat Burning Zone Myth. Because your body dóes burn a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities than at higher intensities. But they key word here is percentage.

Let me give you an example:

Let's say your body burns 40% fat if you're exercising at a low intensity. And if you run so fast you feel like you might pass out it burns 20% fat. You might think: 'That's a great argument to take it nice and easy!' But you would be mistaken.

Because if you run like your kids are after you to mediate a fight about who's looking funny at whom, you burn more calories overall. Which means you'll burn more fat overall too.
Let me put it another way: would you rather have 40 percent of my salary as a stay at home mom, or 10 percent of Steve Job's salary?

Need I say more? I don't think so.

So what does it all mean for you as a runner?


For me the unmasking of the Myth of the Fat Burning Zone has changed me as a runner. I've always been rather slow. My goal was to run for a long time, at a slow pace. That way I would stay in the Fat Burning Zone.

But since I found out just last week, it doesn't work that way I ran my fastest 5 miler ever yesterday. My heart rate went to 165 and I didn't mind. I burned 600 calories instead of my usual 500.

How to loose weight by running: 4 ways to loose the fat


Many people turn to running to loose some weight. And quite often they end up disappointed. Because even though running will help you lose weight you have to do other stuff too.

  1. You have to make sure you burn more calories than you put into your body. Take a good look at your eating habits. Do you really need to eat a chocolate bar every night?! And don't guzzle down an energy drink after a 30 minute run. They're full of sugar, and calories.

  2. It's better to run 4 times a week and really speed it up, than to run once a week for two hours.

  3. You've got to mix running up with some muscle strenghtening exercises. The more muscles you have, the more calories they'll burn for you. Even while you're lying on the couch. Muscles are you friend.

  4. Make sure you do different runs: fast runs, fartlek, speedwork, hill training etc. Your body is quick to adapt. So you have to keep it on its toes.

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