You may think that having your heart rate climb to levels when you can feel your heart about to jump out of your chest, or where you are seating profusely means that you are burning fat. That is not necessarily the case. According to the American Council on Exercise, body fat is burned when you exercise at your 60% to 80% heart rate maximum. When you go over this percentage, you are burning glycogen. Aerobics usually has you work at 60% to 80% of your heart rate maximum. That is why aerobics classes, slow jogs and other such exercising can be ideal to burn fat.
At the same time, as was covered before, interval training is key to jolt your body and get you off the plateau. During the fast parts of interval training, you will probably use over 80% of your heart rate maximum. Together with the slow pars, this is a good method to burn fat.
What is your target heart rate? According to the American Heart Association, it is 220 minus your age. For a chart on this, see http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4736.
Balance and getting to know your body are again key. You will see if you lose more weight by doing more aerobic classes, jogging or weight training at any particular time period. Use time period of three week, three months, six months and a year to vary workouts. Of course, if you see that something is not working, you can get off a plateau in between those times.
Weight training is always key because it increases strength and endurance. It also strengthens bones. The increased muscle mass will burn more calories, even when you sit or sleep.
Aerobic training with weight training is key because it is a variation of exercise that will have you use your muscle, endurance and flexibility altogether. Moving around, especially across the floor, is something that incorporates balance and will “shock” the body that has been working out in a stationary fashion with cardiovascular and weight equipment. Interval training may in the end burn more calories because of the “shock” factor in your body. Everyone is different to a degree. You will feel it once you do it and see results in you.
If you use weights four times a week, which is recommended, doing a half-hour aerobics program or jogging from once to four times a week is also recommended. The more times per week that you do this and the higher the intensity, the more of an advanced exerciser you need to be. It is a good idea to consult a personal trainer when first beginning to work. You and the personal trainer can monitor your progress and what works best for you. There are people and resources out there that will find you a good aerobics program. Abide by the principals of this book of getting to know your body, loving where you are at, and seeing what works for you.
Just as in weight training, it is good to try variety. For instance, try step classes, belly dancing, ballet dancing and different instructors’ aerobics programs to see what works best for you. You may want to do two or more different programs in a week. It is best to work out at least 30 minutes in aerobic or cardiovascular activity per day. For the first 20 minutes, your body burns sugar that is readily available in the blood.
The more fit you are, the more intensity and time you can put into your aerobic and cardiovascular workouts. If you have been actively enrolled in an aerobics class for six months, you may find that you need to go to a tougher level class or take two classes to get a challenge. You may find yourself sleeping through the class while doing what the instructor does. This is an indication that you are on a plateau- get off quickly! Try a tougher class or at the very least take two classes at this intensity. The first option saves time and gets the same results.
The great thing about cardiovascular machines is that you can vary the intensity. For instance on a treadmill you can incorporate a slope and on a stair master you can increase resistance. This works your muscles. So you can do an aerobic and muscle strengthening program all in one. This is similar to using heavier weights in parts of an aerobics class where you use free weights or bars.
Once you increase your fitness, your heart will be more efficient. Your stroke volume will increase. That is, your heart muscle will pump out more blood per beat and your heart rate will not increase so easily. You will be able to do more intense exercise while keeping your heart rate at a level where it will burn fat.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice or diagnosis.
Some of the information from this blog came from http://www.gurufitness.com/maxfatburn.htm
Accessed on March 27, 2006