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Don’t get obsessed with the ‘fat-burning’ zone!

The ‘fat-burning zone’ is when your body uses fat to fuel exercise as opposed to carbohydrates. When exercising, as you shift from lower to higher intensities, the amount of fat versus carbohydrate shifts from one to the other. At low intensities, you burn almost entirely fat, whereas at the highest intensities, you burn almost entirely carbohydrates. Anywhere in between, you burn a proportion of the two.

For the most part, however, the amount of fat and/or carbohydrate you burn during exercise is likely irrelevant for fat loss. Why? Because body fat loss will be determined by net fat balance (fat storage minus fat oxidation) and will not occur without an energy/calorie deficit in place.

If fat loss is the primary goal, make nutrition the priority and have weight training support it. In terms of utilising cardio for fat loss, I recommend picking what you enjoy. Cardio can be used as a tool in the fat loss arsenal if needed.

Given the fact that lower intensity exercise such as walking carries a lower injury risk and a lower requirement for cardiovascular fitness compared to a high-intensity type exercise, it may be a more feasible approach for people who are overweight or obese. This in turn may improve adherence – which is one of the biggest predictors of fat loss success.

Kevin Garde
Nurtitonist and Bodyscan Consultant
PRISM Nutrition

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