How Does a Belly Fat Zone Work?

By . May 25, 2023
exercise zone

The fat-burning zone theory asserts that low-intensity cardio exercises such as walking can burn more fat calories than glycogen, leading to weight loss. You have likely come across a heart-rate chart on your treadmill indicating different workout zones.

But this misconception is at best misleading and at worst incorrect. Here are two specific arguments supporting my position.

Warm-up zone

The warm-up zone, typically between 60-70% of your maximum heart rate (MHR), helps prepare your cardiovascular-respiratory system, muscles and joints for more intense exercise. At this comfortable pace, which you can maintain for at least an hour at a time. This zone is beneficial for beginners or those with cardiovascular issues to improve general health as well as those starting back after an absence or recovering from injury.

The fat-burning zone theory advocates for weight loss by encouraging longer, lower-intensity workouts that

maintain your heart rate in its fat-burning zone. According to its advocates, your body actually burns a higher percentage of fat at these lower intensity levels because your body no longer relies on glycogen stores for energy as fast energy source but instead relies on fat stores as energy storages.

To calculate your MHR, divide your age by 220 and use a fitness tracker or health app to monitor your heart rate while exercising. Working out with someone else and comparing heart rates may also help in identifying whether you’re within the appropriate zone.

As soon as your breathlessness increases but still allows for easy talking, then you know you have entered the fat-burning zone. Physician and fitness guru Peter Attia describes this state of being as being in the fat-burning zone – you should be able to maintain conversations without sounding breathy!

how does a belly fat zone work


Fat-burning zone workouts may help you drop belly fat, but they’re less effective than intensive cardio exercise. High intensity cardio exercises such as sprinting or hill training have similar results; however, such high-intensity sessions could potentially cause muscle damage over time and reduce performance over time.

Add intervals to your fat-burning workout to enhance its effectiveness and increase VO2 max. Interval training also enables lower intensity training sessions that prevent the build-up of lactic acid in muscles – this could allow you to go faster in future training sessions and ultimately reach your desired fitness level faster!

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The fat-burning zone

Many cardio machines at gyms feature colorful charts depicting a “fat-burning zone,” suggesting that lower intensity workouts are the optimal way to lose weight. This theory is supported by studies demonstrating that when performing moderate intensity cardio workouts, glycogen reserves are used before turning to fat for energy; however, this misleading notion could discourage people from engaging in adequate cardiovascular exercise for optimal health.

At 60-70% of your maximum heart rate, the fat-burning zone requires you to work at an effortless yet comfortable pace, but this may not be the most efficient way to burn calories. Walking burns fewer than running because it requires less effort, so mixing up your workout regimen may be essential in reaching weight loss.

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and multiply it by 0.7; for instance, an individual aged 30 would have a maximum heart rate of 220 minus 30 = 185 beats per minute. Moderate intensity activity typically falls within 70 to 85 percent of maximum heart rate range.

The fat-burning zone theory holds that our bodies utilise more fat stores for fuel during low intensity exercises compared to higher intensity sessions, since glycogen provides fast energy sources more quickly than stored fat does. Furthermore, according to this theory, exercising for extended periods will increase fat burning potential and can even help us increase overall fitness levels!

However, during higher intensity exercises such as running, the body tends to use almost exclusively glucose for energy rather than fat stores due to oxygen needing more than ever to power such intense physical activities – thus leading to glycogen being burned first for energy and then fat stores being utilized afterwards through something known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Even after such intense workouts are completed however, EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).

The cardio zone

Although fat burn zones advertised by magazines and cardio machines worldwide may seem tempting, they do not guarantee more calories burned or fat loss. Instead, high intensity cardio exercise burns more calories than lower intensity fat-burn zone workouts, making intense cardio the better option for weight loss.

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Low-intensity activities, like slow walking or fast jogging, put you into the cardio zone. At this low heart rate zone level of exercise, glycogen stores in your body become fuel and fat is burned very little; most calories come from carbs at this level of training.

As your effort increases, your body becomes less dependent on carbohydrates for energy, leading to more effective fat-burning. Once in the cardio zone, heart rates typically range between 65%-75% of maximum. This level of exercise gives muscles energy while helping with weight loss.

As you advance further in your cardio zone, you move into the lactic acid zone. At this level of exertion, the body begins using stored glycogen as fuel while also using stored fat for fuel; using both sources helps maintain high speeds while simultaneously increasing cardiovascular endurance.

At your peak of exertion, your maximum heart rate or VO2 max peaks. At this point, speech becomes difficult and your body’s full capacity is being utilized by every muscle fiber in your body – runners, cyclists and racewalkers use this level of exercise training as part of their program to push themselves harder for longer.

Understanding your heart rate during exercise and its various zones is an effective way to increase fitness and avoid injuries. A heart-rate monitor (HRM) is useful in measuring how much exercise is being completed at different intensities. By developing an intuitive sense of effort you will spend less time staring at your HRM and more time enjoying your exercise experience – you could even train yourself to feel what each heart rate zone feels like so it doesn’t need to be worn on the wrist!

The recovery zone

Recovery Zone is an essential element of any workout routine. It allows your body to recover from exercise-induced stress and inflammation while supporting muscle tissue repair and energy replenishment. Even just incorporating recovery time into your training can help achieve maximum results from each training session.

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Though the “fat-burning zone” sounds appealing, walking within it won’t help much in terms of targeting visceral fat (the type that accumulates around your abdomen). To effectively burn belly fat and see results you need to elevate your heart rate to moderate levels for prolonged exercise sessions and keep them going at least 20 minutes each time you work out.

At the start of any workout is the warm-up zone, in which both your muscles and cardiorespiratory system begin preparing to work harder. Your heart rate should reach between 60-70% of maximum heart rate; during this phase more fat than glycogen will be burned as your glycogen stores run low; once these reserves have been used up, fat becomes the body’s primary fuel source.

Once out of the warm-up zone, you can increase the intensity of your workouts by working in the fat-burning zone. This will allow you to burn more calories while decreasing risk of injury; however, only do this about one third of the time as otherwise you risk injuries and burnout.

Implementing recovery time into your workout will increase performance, reduce muscle soreness and lactic acid buildup, as well as lower the risk of injuries and prevent setbacks in your fitness goals and overall health. Recovery can be increased using tools such as foam rolling, stretching, cold water immersion or massage therapy to boost results and promote healing.

Recovery Zone is a community-based recovery program that offers members comprehensive assistance during their individual recovery journeys. Through classes and group sessions, it offers open communication channels designed to foster a sense of community that may otherwise be lacking for people in recovery. Furthermore, biweekly house meetings and weekly leadership meetings support self-determination efforts within our members’ recovery journeys.


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