Page 1 of 3

Fat Burning and Cardio

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:02 am
by Guest
On the treadmill at the gym there is a little bar graph that shows two different zones: fat burning zone and cardio zone, they are a function of your heart rate. What's the difference in the two? Am I correct in thinking that the fat burning zone only does fat burning and the cardio zone works out your heart? Can you still burn fat when you're up in the cardio zone?

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:26 am
by sonnygll
Stick with the cardio zone. It's good for your heart and still burns as many or more calories. Keep in mind cardio/aerobics are for working your heart and lungs. Other things are better for burning fat. Not to mention you probably burn the least amount of calories on the treadmill compared to other machines. If you put the treadmill on an incline and swing your arms with a light set of dumbells, it can be as good as the other machines.

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 7:39 pm
by Guest
What other things are better for burning fat? What other machines are better than the treadmill? I've been using the treadmill on a 1% incline (is the incline measured in percent?), is that good?

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:28 am
by sonnygll
In general, the eliptical, bike and stairsteppers burn more. If you will notice, they tend to be harder. Like I was saying a steeper incline and a light pair of dumbells can make the treadmill better. Doing weight training moves with light weight at a fast pace is another way to get more calorie burning from cardio. You can do aerobic intervals as well. This is a couple minutes just over your top cardio heart rate followed by a couple minutes in the "fat burning zone".

If you are not new to excercise you can try an anaerobic excercise called high intensity interval training or HIIT. Warm up for 3 minutes like you are going to do cardio, do a 1 minute of light cardio, then 30 seconds of total balls out maximum effort on a high setting on a machine, then 1 minute of light cardio, 30 seconds max effort and so on. Try to do just 5 intervals and then cool down. Work up to more later. Take it slow, this is very hard.

Then of course the very most effective thing is weight lifting. Use free weights and do mostly basic compound excercises. Per calorie expended, weight lifting burns 9 times as much fat as cardio. Not to mention a pound of muscle uses 35 to 50 calories a day depending on activity level. Compare that to the 3 or 4 calories used in a day by a pound of fat. Your basal metabolic rate makes up 80 something percent of all calories you use.

In conclusion, if you look into things further you will see the energy ballance of your body is a VERY complicated equation. People spend all their effort trying to tweak 2 tiny little bits of it and leave 90% unchanged. They reduce raw calories in, which has a lot less to do with calories motabolized then people think. Then they put all their effort into raw calories expended in an activity even though that is a tiny fraction of total calories used. Take a look through this site, you'll see what I mean.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:19 am
by Ryan A
I am not really sure about the elliptical and I will believe the stairstepper for now.

The bike, now here I am finding a hard time.

A treadmill is basically the same as running and running burns WAY more calories than riding a bike.

So unless there is some large difference created by the machines I fail to see how a bike is better.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:25 pm
by dian in spokane
Ryan A wrote:I am not really sure about the elliptical and I will believe the stairstepper for now.

The bike, now here I am finding a hard time.

A treadmill is basically the same as running and running burns WAY more calories than riding a bike.

So unless there is some large difference created by the machines I fail to see how a bike is better.
Me either ryan! UNLESS of course, you are using that bike during a SPIN CLASS!! Those spin instructors are all like..freakish progeny of boot camp intructors or something.


Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:33 pm
by sonnygll
Running on a track burns more then running on a treadmil. Actually running on a treadmil burns more then sort of running for cardio heart range. Sort of running for cardio heart range burns more then jogging for "fat burn range". For some reason the fat burn range is suppose to be better at burning fat even though you burn less calories, which I don't understand that part. That's why I was suggesting making the treadmill harder. All the machines are going to depend on resistance level. I should have been more clear though. At x heart rate, on flat treadmil, you burn less calories then x heart rate on another machine. Very heavy people on a stationary bike could be an exception. On treadmills the belt moves and you keep pace, you are not really pushing your body weight like you do running on a track. I was talking strictly gym machines. That is a point though, running on a track burns the most. If you have a track around, doing intervals of sprint/jog will burn the most calories possible. The max effort sprint is your max calorie output, but it is not something you can keep up for long, hence the jogs.

Bottom line: track and treadmill are pretty different. I would think the bigger you are the more difference this would make too.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:36 pm
by sonnygll
One, more thing. Let's not forget about basal metabolic rate. That was the most important part of my post yesterday.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:23 pm
by Ryan A
Well maybe I should have been more clear as well.

I was holding intensity constant so certainly track work and treadmill work are the same if you are running the same speed.

So yes I also find the fat burning zone suspicious and I think it does not burn more TOTAL calories, just more as a percentage of the ones you burned. Which obviously makes sense due to aerobic pathways during low intensity activity.

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:26 am
by sonnygll
Track and treadmill are not the same. Try it. Go ahead and put a nice big incline on the treadmill and then run a flat track. I'm not a runner but the track feels harder to me. There is a lot of argument and debate about it though. The treadmill feels easy to me compared to other machines too. Not to mention the calorie counters. Maybe the counters are wrong, but then why does it feel so easy? I don't run much though, bad for the knees.

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:30 pm
by Peter
Basically on a treadmill you are running on the spot, think about it. This is very diffrent from actually going out on the track and running.

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:00 pm
by Ryan A
Well again, if you are running at different speeds then of course you will not get as good of a workout. Nothing prevents you from running fast on a treadmill.

On another note, running on an incline is easier on the body in terms of impact. So you should compare flat treadmill to running on the track at the same speed.

there is no different between the ground moving out from under you and you moving over stationary ground.

Also, theother machines are meant to reduce impact and often try to maintain a natural "groove" of the body. e.g. ellipticals tracking of the feet. This seems like it would make it easier because the body is doing the natural motion.

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:22 pm
by Peter

Intresting read, hopefully it may show some insight on this subject.

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:28 pm
by Ryan A
I think the article makes some valuable points, certainly the psychological effects would be removed as this would change the intensity.

The 2.6inches per footstrike is certainly relevant.

So indeed the treadmill requires less work than running on a track. So what about the rest of the exercises? Certainly the way one "runs" on an elliptical is much easier than the way one naturally runs so the calorie expenditure on one of those should be less.

Bicycling is, in all forms, less effiicent at burning calories than running so I would assume that, as cycling is the largest departure in motion mechanics from running, it is the worst way to burn large amounts of calories.

Thanks for pointing out that article. it is interesting and I woudl be interested to see how much the 2.6 inches changes the overall work done in a given run.

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:28 pm
by sonnygll
It seems logical that the stationary bike would be the worst, but the calorie counters do say otherwise. It is possible that the counters are wrong though. If you are heavy the bike has to be the least effective.It could have to do with the resistance level on the bike. I use a high resistance level because I don't like to pedal very fast. You do kind of make the seat wiggle too, or at least I do which might mean more muscles then you think are being used on it.

An incline and a light set of dumbbells makes the treadmill feel effective to me. It's kind of the same with the eliptical, I only like the ones where you can use your arms too. The thing is I don't use my arms on the bike or the stairstepper, and those feel pretty good if you set them right. The other odd thing, the stairstepper that is like treadmill stairs, feels like real stairs to me. I don't know if it burns the same calories or not, but it feels just as hard.