Fat Loss and Cardio Q & A

Recently, a client asked me to confirm what they had heard from a friend at the gym:

“My friend told me that you burn more fat working at a low intensity than you do at a higher intensity.  Is this true?

This was my response to them.

Yes, this is true…kind of.  It is true that you burn a greater percentage of total calories from fat with low intensity activity.  This is because it takes the body longer to oxidize fat for energy.  So essentially, sitting on the couch, watching American Idol is the best activity for fat loss because it is pretty low intensity right?  Not exactly.  If this were the case, America would not be the fattest nation in the world.  Please go back and read the first statement.  You burn a greater percentage of total calories from fat with low intensity activity.  If you burn 50 total calories, it does not make a damn difference what percentage of those calories came from fat, carbohydrates, etc.  If you want to lose fat, clean up your diet. 

If you want to improve your cardiovascular conditioning, you should do activities that cause your heart to beat faster.  If it is beating fast and you are out of breath, this means your heart is working hard to supply working muscles with nutrient rich blood.  The heart is a muscle.  It can (and should) be trained to get stronger.  FYI….if you are enjoying the news, reading a magazine or yapping to your friend about your weekend while walking at 3mph, you are not working that hard.  Shut off the television, close the magazine, shut your mouth and get to work.

Work hard.

Dave Coffin

About dcoffin280

I am a Boston based strength and conditioning coach.

Posted on February 17, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. So what exactly do you burn at higher intensity workouts if not fat?

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