Best Of Both Worlds Cardio

Treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers. The fancy ones have computers that let you chose between so-called fat burning and aerobic conditioning zones. Basically, the fat-burning zone is light to moderate intensity cardio, while the aerobic conditioning zone entails a more challenging pace. The intensity of the aerobic training zone increases your heart rate and frequency of breathing.

A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research suggests that fat burning is optimized at 54% of maximal oxygen consumption. That benchmark allowed scientists to conclude that training at 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate is the best compromise for simultaneously burning fat and getting fit. Anyone's theoretical maximum heart rate can be determined by subtracting your age in years from the number 220.

The Bigger Picture: Because your strength, capacity for exercise and motivation change day to day and week to week, there's really no such thing as a perfect workout. You might beat your best lift one day and not be able to budge the bar the next. Giving this intensity a tryout for a couple of weeks is a great idea because it probably represents a change in your training philosophy. New and different is the key to keeping yourself motivated and achieving greater goals.
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