Tip 1: Know Your Zone
You’ve probably seen cardio machines that display a chart of target heart rates broken down by age. The different heart rates are divided into “fat burning” and “cardio training” zones.That’s because there is an optimal zone where you’re pushing your body hard enough to burn a higher-than-normal ratio of fat.
Here is a reliable formula for finding your target heart rate. This example uses a 30 year old person with a resting heart rate of 60:
206.9 – (0.67 x 30[age]) = 186.8
186.8 – 60[resting heart rate] = 126.8
126.8 * 65% [minimum heart rate in zone] = 82
82 + 60[resting heart rate] = 142
126.8 * 85% [maximum heart rate in zone] = 108
108 + 60[resting heart rate] = 168
A 30 year old with a resting heart rate of 60 has a target heart rate of 142 to 168. As long as their heart rate falls within that range during exercise, they are burning maximum fat.
This method, known as the Karnoven Formula, takes into account your resting heart rate, making it an accurate measure of your fat burning zone.
Tip 2: Get Enough Exercise
How much cardio is enough? You might have seen conflicting reports about cardio exercise and how much of it you really need. That’s because people exercise for different reasons. Your general health will benefit from 15 minutes of movement most days of the week.
To burn fat, however, you’re going to need to push yourself harder than that. Fitness experts recommend 60 to 90 minutes of low-intensity cardio exercise 5 times a week. That might sound like a lot, but there’s a solid theory behind it.
When we exercise, our bodies burn two types of fuel: carbohydrates and fat. Carbohydrates are a good source of quick energy for short, intense workouts. They are also
the body’s fuel of choice, and they tend to get burned before the fat.
Longer cardio sessions allow your body to burn through the carbohydrates and tap into its fat reserves. This is why long-distance runners tend to have lower body fat percentages than other athletes.
Tip 3: Keep Your Body Guessing
Over time, our bodies grow accustomed to our exercise routines. That’s why, after a few weeks or months of hitting the treadmill at the same pace for the same length of time, you start to notice diminishing returns.
You can keep burning the fat by mixing up your cardio routine. Adjust the length, intensity, and style of workout to keep your body from becoming complacent. Never do the same routine more than twice before switching to the next one in your repertoire. It also
helps to vary your caloric intake every few days to keep your metabolism confused.
Tip 4: Add Muscle to Burn Fat
There are plenty of exercise routines, like power yoga and P90X, which combine fat-burning cardio with muscle-building strength training. These routines are excellent because they increase your supply of the one tissue that acts as a constant fat-burner: lean muscle mass.
Muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest. Therefore, if you rev up your metabolism by adding muscle mass, you’ll be slimming down even when you’re not exercising. Add smart cardio routines to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for success!
By Benjamin Teal