BURN FAT NOW
Staying in the correct zone is key to burning off excess fat, says Man Tri’s Paul Savage
Using your zones while running could be the easiest way to burn fat and speed up.
THE BENEFITS OF RUNNING IN THE FAT-BURNING ZONE
There has been a lot of recent debate about diets; which will best help you lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass. However, diet is only one part of the equation and you need to spend time in the fat-burning training zone (also known as zone 2/ endurance zone/light zone) to maximise results.
• Training in the fat-burning zone helps you become more efficient at utilising fat as a fuel for exercise. • Fat-burning can help you get leaner, especially when you train in a ‘fasted-state’. • It is suggested burning fat is less toxic to the body compared to burning glycogen, because burning glycogen creates reactive oxygen species that can cause inflammation and muscle soreness. • Training in the fat-burning zone can help athletes who are returning from injury and also help to prevent injuries, due to its low intensity nature. • Triathletes usually only run once or twice a week and predominantly in the tempo and threshold zones, which can be a cause of injury • Training in the fat-burning zone can enable triathletes to run more frequently, which will help develop a bigger aerobic engine and condition and strengthen lower limb muscles.
PROBLEMS WITH HEART RATE MONITORING
There are many ways to work out what your fat burning zone is, which have been covered in these pages previously, but relying on a mathematical model can be flawed due to the uniqueness of each individual – not everyone operates at the same rates of exertion.
Additionally, using a heart rate monitor can sometimes prove unreliable, as weather conditions and clothing sometimes interfere with the signal. It’s also difficult to keep a constant monitor on your heart rate, while many are susceptible to ‘white coat syndrome’, where it can become difficult to control your heart rate while monitoring it.
TIPS TO HELP YOU STAY IN THE FAT-BURNING ZONE
Because of this, it’s good to have internal methods that rely on ‘feel’, a heightened awareness of ones’ physiological changes. • Dr Phil Maffetone, recommends a simple formula of 180 minus the age of the athlete to calculate the upper limit of the fat-burning zone. • Ensure you can hold a conversation while running. • Count the number of steps you take for each breath cycle; one complete inhalation and exhalation. A good guide is to take five steps for every breath cycle, which will help you keep your cardiovascular system under control.
When your respiratory rate increases so that you are only taking four steps per breath, you are likely to be at the upper limit of the fat-burning zone and moving into the tempo zone. Most athletes will be aware their breathing becomes louder and deeper at this ratio and it should be the cue to back-off the pace a touch.