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Are You in the Fat Burning Zone?

by in Diabetes, Exercise, Kitchen Sink, Weight Loss May 22, 2009

By Dr. Nicole Sundene
Today we are going to make sure that you are working out in the fat burning zone, because as Fitness Trainer Bonnie Pfiester said in one of her last articles we need to “Make Our Workout Time Count.”
How to Calculate Your Fat Burning Zone
220-Your age=Max Heart Rate
Max Heart Rate x 0.60=Fat Burning Zone
If you aren’t in the fat burning zone when you are exercising then you really aren’t doing SQUAT to lose weight, and I am not talking about doing squats here people!
First of all, this little rant about the fat burning zone was inspired by the obese man I saw jogging along yesterday. He was jogging along red faced, sweating profusely, and had his face distorted in pain. I quickly reviewed my ABC’s of CPR:

  • Airway!
  • Breathing!
  • Circulation!

So why did we just review the basics of CPR when discussing burning fat for weight loss?
Because most overweight people I see working out are either working out MUCH TOO hard or just not hard enough. You need to get in to that fat burning zone. If you are all red and sweaty and look like you are about to die, you are likely working too hard. If you aren’t even breaking a sweat, you likely are just wasting your time. I see this often, and then I see these same people complaining they are not losing weight.
My dad, the Ironman traithlete, gave me his “Sports Instruments” heart rate monitor about ten years ago and it still works great! I have heard that Polar and Omron are good brands as well. Remember that if you are not a professional athlete you likely don’t need the fancy one with all the bells and whistles. Simplicity is bliss!
Lance Armstrong may need to know all that but you really just need to know what your number is until you are training for the Tour de France….and maybe an estimation of calories burned to help keep you in The Reality Zone. Because to maintain weight, calories in have to equal calories burned. To lose weight…you do the math.
We just want to know the basics: your heart rate, and if you want to get fancy you can add a bit of info such as your age and weight and it will give you a ballpark figure of how many calories you just burned, which can be frighteningly depressing information.
Do you exercise with a heart rate monitor? Do you like it? Which brand do you personally use or recommend to patients? Feel free to share in the comments section of this article.
If you manufacture Heart Rate Monitors and would like me to report on your brand contact us to make arrangements for our product testing reports.
Related reading:
Fueling for Fitness
Is Food a Bad Ex-Lover?
Weight-loss: Balance Your Dieting Checkbook
Make it A “Gym Date”

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