Is it better to walk on an empty stomach to increase fat burning or to jog at a low heart rate to stay in the right “zone”?
Or should we make short but fast intervals to fight those extra pounds? Today I want to shed some light on the best way to burn fat.
What does it mean to burn fat?
Fat burning is an aerobic process: the fat is broken down with oxygen. It basically refers to our body’s ability to oxidize or burn fat and use fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates.
When do we burn fat?
The body uses the reserves of fats and carbohydrates as fuel for all kinds of activities. However, the amount of energy from fat may be higher or lower depending on the type of activity.
In general, more fat is burned:
- At low intensity physical activity
- For longer activities: The longer the activity, the higher the fat content
- If you are generally in a better shape, the more fit you are, the better you can use the fat as fuel
More fat burned ≠ more weight loss. Weight loss depends mainly on the total amount of calories you burn, not just on the percentage of fat burned during activity.
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How to burn more fat while running
Fat ideally burn when running at a pace where you would be able to keep a complete conversation. Then fat becomes the most important source of fuel. According to the experts, this should be a tempo that theoretically could last up to 8 hours, so slow!
Is it really necessary to walk for more than 30 minutes to burn calories?
Slow low-intensity work consumes more fat than fuel, but it takes longer to burn a lot of calories. For this reason, it is advisable to run for more than 30 minutes with low intensity. However, faster, more intense performance can burn more calories in less time. And even if only a small percentage of these calories come from fat, you can dramatically increase your weight loss!
In addition, you can benefit from the loss of body fat after your jog because your body burns 2 to 3 hours even after finishing your jog. If you want to lose a few pounds, it is advised to have some fluids and maybe some protein during this time.
The link between High-intensity training and fat burning
High-intensity training increases our heart rate to the anaerobic zone. In high-intensity races, the amount of burnt fat is lower as our bodies turn to our carbohydrate reserves.
Due to intensive physical activity, the total calorie intake is higher. We burn more calories through hard muscle work, even after the race. The body needs more energy to recover, to burn more calories. This is how postpartum fat burning and afterburning (COPD, excess oxygen consumption after exercise) benefit.
High or low-intensity training: the best way to burn fat?
What is the best? A slower jog or sprints at a higher heart rate: which is the best way to burn fat? On one pole, during a slower race, you are in the ideal environment to burn fat. On the other pole, intense interval training requires your muscles even more.
In my opinion, one possible solution would be to combine slower and more relaxed runs in the aerobic zone (where it is easy to talk while running) and short, intense strokes (which should be done only once a week).
Should I prefer running on an empty stomach?
If you feel fit enough for a slow run and before breakfast to improve your fat metabolism, do it:
In the morning on an empty stomach:
- Maximum 40 minutes.
- Max Oxygen consumption (VO2 max) of 50-60% *
(* These values are estimates You can determine your ideal and individual training intensity by a lactate test).
If your body burns fat effectively or not, it depends on proper nutrition and quality of sleep, as fat burning takes place 24 hours a day, especially if you are fast asleep.
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