Did you know that simple exercise such as walking can actually help burn stubborn fat, if you can hack your body to exercise in the fat burning zone? Sounds too good to be true, we know, so let us explain how it works.
Exercise in the Fat Burning Zone to shred belly fat
1. Ideal Heart Rate for Fat Burning
When your heart rate is between 60-70% of your maximum, your body is in peek fat burning mode, so the goal of any exercise if the goal is fat loss, in this case walking, is to ensure that you are sitting in that Goldilocks zone of 60-70%.
Here is how you can calculate what your fat burning heart rate zone is:
To find your maximum heart rate, minus your age from 220.
Eg, if you are 29 year old, 220-29 = 191
So 191 is my maximum heart rate, now I need to calculate the 60-70% fat burning zone from that 191, which turns out to be 114-133 Beats per minute.
You might be thinking, “will I burn more fat if I can increase my heart rate higher than trying to exercise in the fat burning zone?” Well, in those higher heart rate zones your body looks for sugar and carbohydrate stores for energy, whereas when you are in the 60-70% zone, about 85% of the calories you will burn come from your fat stores, with the other 15% from carbs and protein.
The tricky part is monitoring your heart rate while you are walking or exercising to ensure you are in the fat burning zone. So you will need to get yourself a smart watch (Heart rate monitor) which will tell you your average heart rate over the course of your workout.
2. Ideal Duration for Fat Burning
When you do a shorter workout, your body will generally use more sugar and carbohydrate stores, but because those energy stores don’t last very long, you want to aim to train a little bit longer to get your body to burn through all the sugar and carbs so that it can begin to target your fat stores. So you ideally want to aim for a longer workout, around 45 minutes or longer.
3. Exercise Variation to Trigger Fat Burning
Although walking or exercising at 60-70% HR will get you into fat burning mode, it will not do a lot for your strength or lean muscle. When your body has higher levels of lean muscle tissue you burn more calories because your body requires more energy to fuel and move those muscles. So we do recommend including some resistance training, to help build your strength and lean muscle, so that when you are doing the low-intensity exercise/walking your body will burn even more calories because it needs more energy and it is able to train for longer because you have built up your muscular strength and endurance.
So try alternating your workouts, if you like to train in the gym then every second workout try a 45minute brisk walk so that you exercise in the fat burning zone (60-70% HR) and see how your body begins to transform.