August 4, 2011

Fat Burning Exercises: HIIT

Fat Burning ExercisesWould you rather burn more fat while you’re exercising that one-hour a day, or would you rather burn more fat in the 23 hours a day that you’re not exercising?  You probably have not thought of it that way, right? But, fat burning exercises will enable you to burn more fat at rest, too.

Fat Burning Exercises

Well too much focus has been place on burning fat while exercising.  But, from a weight loss perspective you will lose more weight by training your body to burn more fat when it’s at rest. How do you do that?  Try fat burning exercises using high intensity interval training, which will enable you to burn more fat when at rest.

igh intensity interval training benefits men and women. Many struggle trying to lose that belly fat.  High intensity interval training can help lose the stomach fat and fat from other areas as well.

Calories and Exercise

First, when at rest about 60% of the calories you burn come from fat.  That percentage actually drops when doing aerobic exercise to 55%.  Now, because you are burning more calories while exercising than you do when at rest you end up burning overall more fat calories while performing aerobic exercises than you do while at rest.

But, here’s what is interesting and counter-intuitive.  If you exercise above your aerobic zone – above what’s called your anaerobic threshold you burn more calories from carbohydrates, 90% or more (and 10% or less from fat), but you will end up burning more calories from fat after exercise.  And since you spend most of your day not exercising it is more important to burn more fat while at rest than while exercising.

Exercising above your anaerobic threshold cannot be maintained for very long and is best accomplished by doing high-intensity interval training, or short bursts of exercise performed at near full exertion followed by periods of rest or very low intensity and repeated over again.

High Intensity Interval Training

So with high intensity interval training you will burn a lower percentage of calories from fat during exercise than with aerobic exercise, but you will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat at rest following a session of high intensity interval training than you will following aerobic exercise

How to Do High Intensity Interval Training

Fat burning exercises via high intensity interval training can easily be performed with any aerobic exercising you may be currently doing – running, exercising on stair-climber, treadmill, elliptical machine, etc.

But, instead of exercising at a steady pace for 20 or 30 minutes are more, what you do is periodically exercise at near full exertion for as little as 10 seconds up to 2 minutes and then rest, or slow your pace or intensity until you have caught your breath, and then do another cycle at near full exertion and then “rest” and catch your breath again.  Do this repeatedly.

With each cycle you will notice that your heart rate increases. Most people will reach their anaerobic threshold when their heart rate is at 85% of their predicted maximal heart rate.  One’s maximum heart rate can be estimated by substracting one’s age from 212.

So if you’re 50 your predicted maximum heart rate is 212 -50 = 162.  Multiply that by 85% to estimate anaerobic threshold.  162 x 0.85 = 138.  So a healthy 50 year old would want to get his/her heart rate above 138 to be exercising above the anaerobic threshold.   A heart rate monitor is helpful to ensure that your have crossed your anaerobic threshold.

Start with just 4 or 5 minutes of high intensity interval training per session and gradually work up to 20 minutes or more per exercise session.  It’s important to warm-up first (at least 5 minutes) gradually getting your heart rate up before transitioning into the interval-training component of the workout.

Several examples of fat burning exercises (high intensity interval training) can be found on YouTube.  Below is a video showing how high intensity interval training can be performed while running on a treadmill.  But again, high intensity interval training can be preformed with nearly exercise.  One key that is mentioned in the following video is the importance of going from a high intensity to a really low intensity.

See related articles.

“4 Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training”

“Exercise in Quick Spurts”

“Boosting Nitric Oxide with Exercise”






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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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