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Training my body to burn fat not sugar

August 20th, 2012 3 Comments

When I think fat, the gym is THE LAST thing that pops into my mind.  I see bikinis and cupcakes….and wine. (How did I forget that one in the pics?!)  I want to eat cupcakes, drink often, and look good in a bikini, all of which screams to me crazy CARDIO, not a nice and steady aerobic workout where I barely break a sweat!

As Hilary my nutritionist tells it, I would be wrong.

My second thought is to lift weights and build lean muscle because it burns 35-40 calories a day, while fat only burns 5.

Hilary says I’m getting warmer!!

While I hate to admit it, and I have even been hesitant to accept it, Hilary’s philosophy on staying lean makes sense.

70-80% of your exercise should be Aerobic

20-30% should be Anaerobic.

Aerobic means keeping your heart rate in zone 3**.  For me that is 145-165 beats per minute.  Anything over that is zone 4-5, anaerobic crazy cardio.  If we as women do too much cardio we train our body to burn sugar, not fat.  This would be ok if we didn’t eat any fat I suppose, but fat is important to keep us full and our blood level stable.  In other words, keep us from being cranky bitches.

Now let me explain from Hilary’s METABOLISM perspective.

Your metabolism is like fire and it needs oxygen for fuel.  Intense cardio workouts that keep you breathing heavy don’t let you to take in oxygen without blowing it out instantly.  A steady zone 3 workout, however, allows you breath in oxygen and let your body use it as fuel for your metabolism.  So the more oxygen you get in there, the more capable your body will be to burn fat.

Here’s the new schedule she has set for me.  I’m not a fan, but I’ll try it.

  • Monday & Wednesday:  BLAST class, Spinning, or weight lifting with sprinting intervals at the end.  Objective: get muscle groups fatigued to SORENESS.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday:  Zone 3 – jogging, bike, treadmill, elliptical for AN HOUR! How boring. Plus Yoga if I want.
  • Friday:  Lifting weights in Zone 3 and fatiguing muscle groups that did not get attention.

**Knowing your heart rate and VO2 zones is KEY to all of this.  If that’s over your head (I’m right there with you), get your heart rate monitor and have it set to your body.  The Age/Heart Rate Zone chart is based on averages, not the size of your own heart, which is what it’s all about.


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  • I’m liking this Hillary chick :)

    Great post once again. Thanks for sharing.

  • Logie

    I’m not sure if your explanation is inaccurate or if you are just leaving out a key piece of information. Please check your facts. Aerobic and anaerobic workouts differ in the percentages of fat vs. carbs that are burned in each session. That does not mean that you will necessarily burn MORE fat in an aerobic workout than in an anaerobic workout of basically the same length – that is unlikely. You will burn more calories doing anaerobic work, but the percentage of fat vs. carbs burned will be different. Please do not let this myth persist, or at least provide a more thorough explanation to highlight this KEY point.

    • I was breaking it down to basics and linked to a Livestrong article that explains further.
      Thank you for taking the time to elaborate.