What Happens when you exercise?
When I exercise, I burn calories, right? Yes, but those calories are measures of fuel, and the intensity of an exercise determines what sort of energy stores are burned as fuel in the body. The body uses carbohydrates, fat or proteins as sources of energy during exercise. But to lose inches, you need to burn fat, and to increase metabolism, you need to build muscle. The time interval, type and intensity of your exercise routine will decide what kind of fuel your body burns. Here’s a brief explanation of how it happens.
High vs Low Intensity Exercise
During exercise, the body requires glycogen to provide the working muscles with energy, and this, your body gets by burning fuel. It is the exercise intensity, not the type of exercise, which determines if fat is being used as the fuel source. Exercise intensity is measured by how much oxygen you are using. In low intensity exercises (less than 40% maximal oxygen usage) the principle source of fuel for the body is fat. Beyond 40%, the body starts burning carbohydrates.
Key to Optimum Fat Burn
A general rule of thumb is that maximum Fat Burn is achieved at 50% of your Max Heart Rate. Its a mid-intensity level, which is believed to be optimum to lose fat and drop those pounds! A good way to measure intensity is by calculating it as a % of your heart rate. Your maximum heart rate (beats per minute- BPM) can be approximated by the following formula: BPM =  – (minus) [Your Age in Years]). So if you are 30 years old, your max heart rate is approx. 190BPM, so your intensity would be 50% of 190BPM, which means 95BPM.
Recommended Exercises for Burning Fat
It is important to choose a Cardio routine that is not too intense, and what you can continue for at least 20-30 minutes, without feeling short of breath. High-paced walking, moderate swimming, spinning or cycling (in low gears) or even activities like tennis or racketball are considered ideal for this. make sure that you use a heart-rate-meter, and keep exercising at 50% of your maximum rate, for the most part of your cardio session. Not higher, nor lower – just optimum! Most machines in the gym come with heart rate Monitors, and you can configure them to change the intensity level automatically to ensure 50% heart rate.
Remember, the more fat you will burn, the faster you will lose inches from your body, and ensure a healthy permanent weight loss. Combining Cardio with Strength Training is the best possible workout, so you build Muscle, which further assists Fat Burn.
So get off that couch, put on a pair of sneakers, and go take that long run along the lake that you’ve been putting off since long! You’ll feel better, look better and stay better!