CONTRIBUTED BY Varsha Nautiyal

There’s a reason why your fitness trainers or nutrition consultants or your diet guides ask you to be consistent in your work-outs. But here’s how you usually go: well I didn’t get time to burn fat today, I shall compensate over the weekend. And even if you do compensate, you may not be able to burn the targeted fat. Why? Because there’s a whole logic to consistency in physical exercises.

Understanding fat burning

As a general rule, whether or not you are doing anything physically, your body is constantly burning carbs and fats. When you do any physical exercise, however, your body first starts burning the carbs in your body followed by fat. So carbs are to give you short spurts of energy boosts while fat gives you energy for longer or intense work-outs. When you start walking, working out or exercising, your body first burns your carbs and then switches to burning fat.

When does the carb to fat switch happen?

That’s a tricky question and a subject of research for many years. But there have been observations that can be trusted about fat-burning. For instance, when would the body start to burn fat depends upon the fitness level of the person. Athletes or fit people tap into the fats sooner since they exercise regularly and their bodies are now conditioned to longer work-outs. As a result, the body gets the signal for the need of long-term energy sooner, hence the switch happens quickly within a few minutes.

But those who are not so fit or are just starting out with exercises should expect the switch to happen around 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise.

How to make the body burn fat most efficiently?

Here’s what CNN health recommends should be an ideal way to burn fat.  There’s something called a Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). In order to burn fat more efficiently, you will need to get your heart pumping at a target heart rate of 50 to 80% of your MHR. In order to calculate the MHR, you need to subtract your age from 220. So say, if you are 40 years old, your MHR would come to 180 while your target rate zone would come to 90 to 144 beats per minute.

So how many minutes finally?

You need to get into the groove for at least 40 minutes. Studies have shown that this period turbo charges your metabolism for up to 19 hours afterward. This is great for fitness and fat-burning.

How to ensure you are burning fat?

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your physical exercise or your work-out is not going waste.

  • Be consistent. If you exercise one day for 30 minutes and then for two hours after a gap of two days, you will not reach much in fat-burning. Since the body will not read consistent signals of burning fat after a switch, you will end up burning only carbs a lot and not fat.
  • Give at least 40 minutes to any exercise. Chuck the 20-minute work-out programs that don’t understand the fat-burning mechanism. This is a research-backed period for an efficient work-out.
  • Focus on exercises that focus on increasing your heart rate.

Fitness is about smart choices and truly understanding the logic behind burning of fat. Time to be smarter with your work-outs.

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