When you jog to lose weight, you want to maximize the amount of fat you burn. You may have heard of the fat burning zone -- a target heart rate range where your body burns more fat. While this zone may burn more fat in the short term, it's not necessarily your best option for burning fat overall. Consider higher intensity interval training if you want to maximize the number of calories you burn and the amount of fat your body sheds.
Fat Burning Zone
When you jog, your body uses energy from two sources: carbohydrates and fat. Which source your body uses for energy depends on how intense your workout is. At lower intensity levels your body burns fat more than carbohydrates. This has lead to the idea that there are certain heart rate zones that you should aim to jog in to maximize the amount of fat you burn.
Target Heart Rate
According to researchers at Brigham Young University, the ideal heart rate for burning the maximum amount of fat is between 68 and 79 percent of your maximum heart rate. Women can calculate their maximum heart rate by subtracting their age from 226 -- for men the number used is 220. For instance a 26-year-old women has a maximum heart rate of 200 beats per minute. This means that her fat burning zone would be at a heart rate of between 136 and 158 beats per minute.
Reality of Burning Fat
While it's true that jogging at a lower level of intensity will burn more fat during exercise, it doesn't mean that you will burn more fat overall. According to exercise physiologist Jason R. Karp, PhD what matters most about weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. Because jogging closer to your maximum heart rate will burn more calories overall it will actually burn more fat than jogging within the fat burning zone.
According to Karp, interval training is an excellent way to burn fat. Interval training is more efficient at burning calories than simply jogging at a steady pace, so it will result in greater fat burning. For example, try five to six 3-minute intervals running at 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate with a 2 minute recovery between each period. Alternatively you can run for four intervals of 4 minutes with a 3-minute recovery period between each interval -- again your heart rate should be at 95 to 100 percent of your maximum.
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