You see it all the time- fitness centers around the country packed with people spending hours on the cardio equipment in an attempt to lose weight. Guess what? If you really want to get results, stay out of the "fat burning zone".

Actually, my article title is rather misleading because the "fat burning zone" is not really a myth. It is, however, a gross oversimplification of how our bodies function and exercising at that intensity level will not produce optimum fat loss results.

The concept of the fat burning zone is that a greater percentage of fat is burned through lower intensity aerobic exercise than at higher intensities, and that’s true. In fact, you burn more stored fat for fuel by simply watching T.V. than you would by sprinting around the block. Unfortunately, television viewing and internet surfing are obviously not conducive to weight management or 68% of adult Americans would not be overweight or obese.

Everyone, except late night infomercial hucksters, knows that to lose weight you must use more calories than you consume. So, while it’s true that you burn a larger percentage of stored fat at lower intensities, you will also burn fewer total calories, which will result in less fat being utilized and less weight being lost.

Another factor not taken into consideration is the amount of calories burned after your exercise session. While the performance of a 30 or 45 minute steady-state session on the treadmill may burn a greater number of calories than a strength training workout or a more intense 20 minutes of intervals, that number (even if you do believe the machine calculations) does not take into account the calories your body burns after your workout ends.

The excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is far greater after a challenging cardio or strength workout than after light exercise and will result in your metabolism being elevated for much longer.

For best fat loss results, intensity is the key.

Author's Bio: 

Mickey Glick has worked in the fitness industry since 1995 and is a certified personal trainer. She is the owner of Body & Soul Fitness Studio, an all-women fitness center in Lancaster, PA. For those interested in the the instructional benefits of personal training at a fraction of the cost of individual sessions, she offers No Pink Dumbbells Fitness Boot Camp, co-ed small group training also in Lancaster, PA.