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Thread: Fat Burning Zone

  1. #1

    Default Fat Burning Zone

    I'm just wondering your opinion about losing fat, the fat burning zone vs higher intensity workouts.

    I've always been taught that 65% HRR allows optimum fat burning, more useful than higher intensity exercises.
    Reading this article there's obviously a different stance:

    whilst you may burn a higher % of fat from lower intenisty exercises, the increased total calories burnt through higher intensity exercises beats that.

    What's your take on it?

    Would you recommend clients looking for fat loss train at the 65% HRZ or just push them harder to expend more calories in a shorter time?
    "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war"

  2. #2


    I read the article as well and have decided that like his analogy the article is 'absolute' and we need a relative, sport specific one. I think if you wish to loose weight, high intesity is the way to go, if you wish to cut fat and maintain muscle mass low intensity will do it. In reality there is little difference between the fat burning zone and his optimal heart rate and most of us can't be that accurate.
    Smiler did some stuff on this a while back.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    'Arlow, Essex


    I always use this analogy:

    Would you rather have 60-70% of 2.50 or 40% of 6.

    What we should also remember is that these values often come from bodybuilding style studies. A BB working on sarcolemic (sp??) hypertrophy would probably be best suited to working in this zone as they do not want to take any surplus energy away from muscle size building. HOwever the MMA or athlete is unlikely to be working toward extreme hypertrophy with extreme low bf %. Off topic I personally believe that most athletes would benefit from education on the endocrine system and its response to nutrition and exercise. I believe someone like Steve O'Keefe would be worth talking to on this subject, as i believe he is a nutritionist? sorry if i am mistaken.

  4. #4


    I'd say use both of them if your competing in combat sports. Obviously more higher intensity training as its better for conditioning. However the beauty with 60%-65% heart rate type training is that it isn't very taxing on your CNS so it can be done anytime.

    p.s. I haven't read that article by the way just going by what was said in the thread

  5. #5


    Havent read the article yet but will do! Thanks for posting it. Agree with your analogy Brett and Cardy the fatigue argument is an important one too.

    For me low intensity work comes in handy for fighters for cutting weight without inducing fatigue, but only if its needed, nutrition should be the main area that helps fat loss around training if its done properly. Whilst I tend to prefer high intensity work for sport specific energy system development.

    Some individuals will need something in between if they have under developed aerobic system etc but even then that will be higher than the 65%.

    Here's a couple of pieces I wrote on the subject a while ago:

    LSD for Fight Sports (Not the drug

    Heart Rate Training
    S&C Made Easy: twitter @brendanchaplin

  6. #6


    although i understand that working at 65% of total heart rate is considered one of the best ways to reduce body fat, essentialy i think diet is prob the most important factor with regards to reduced body fat! unless a person is consistently reducing their fat, limiting their carbohydrate intake they are essentialy burning fat in training to just put it straight back on during a meal! ( if ther meal isnt regulated)

    working out your basal metabolic rate and moving on from there is probibly a good start to reducing body fat???

  7. #7


    Completely agree, doesn't matter what training you do if your diet is shit!

    Again goes back to the basics of nutrition as taken from Matt Lovells Palm Sized Plan:

    if it’s green and grows above the ground eat it
    - if it runs, swims or flies or comes from something that does those things (eggs) eat it
    - avoid anything brown or white unless you’ve earned it
    - if you’re eating as above you can eat what you want for your cheat meals
    - never drink calories- so no fruit juice, sports drinks etc when we are targeting fat loss purely
    - exercise every day
    - sleep properly

    In terms of calories I agree work out BMR then add on calories burned through exercise, starts to get a bit complicated there though, im not a huge fan of counting calories. Just eat clean and weight yourself often. If you are putting weight on reduce portion size and the opposite too!
    S&C Made Easy: twitter @brendanchaplin

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