Ok, I'm exercising, counting calories and burning calories, but the weight is still not dropping away fast enough. Is this you? Or have you heard this talk around the water cooler before? Well, let's take a look at the basics first and then tackle the reason's why that weight is not dropping off like you hoped it would.
We call devices that measure heart rate “heart-rate monitors,” but you could also call them “fat-burning monitors” since monitoring your pulse rate during exercise is the best way to promote fat-burning both during and after your workout.
But some people can use heart-rate monitors improperly — to push themselves even harder, which can actually cause fat storage. And others are still focused on a “calories-in, calories out” approach, which has proven ineffective as reflected in the high rates of people who are overweight, which really means they are overfat. The body is a quirky thing that most people do not understand. You see, it has a protective mode that it can drop into when it thinks it's going into "Starvation Mode".
Some people think that merely by eating less and exercising more they will lose weight. And they are Correct!! f you do nothing but take the advice found in that phrase, you will lose weight. Unfortunately, some people take that advice to an extreme and suffer some unforeseen consequences. Your body enters what is commonly referred to as "starvation mode" when you don't eat enough which can cause slower than expected weight loss and plateaus. For the short of it, if your body thinks that the food supply is starting to be scarce then what it is used to digesting it will, by it's makeup, begin to store fat and sugar (glucose) which it uses to make energy. This is a topic for another post in the future, and its an interesting one.
Our weight-conscious society has taught us to focus on the wrong problem: what the scale says. Most people really don’t want to lose weight — they want to reduce body fat because too much makes us bigger and less healthy.
There was a time you could almost tell by looking at a person’s slim appearance that they exercised regularly. That’s all changed. We are now in the midst of an overfat epidemic that used to affect only sedentary people. Now it’s hitting even those who regularly work out. The result has been increased fat in the bodies of runners, walkers, triathletes and those spending untold hours in the gym or working outdoors. The problem has become so common that some are even calling it normal. It’s not.
This story is common. Despite burning a lot of calories during a hard workout, many still can’t get rid of their excess body fat. While too much-stored fat takes up more space, increasing our waist, and, our clothing sizes. In addition, increased body fat, especially around the belly, is associated with chronic inflammation. This may be an early manifestation of various diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, not to mention tendinitis, fasciitis, and other “itis” injuries. Burning off excess body fat goes beyond being slim — it’s a priority for optimal health and improved fitness, even helping competitive athletes get faster.
The dilemma faced by millions who burn a lot of exercise calories but still have too much body fat is simple: people are burning the wrong calories. We don’t want to just burn calories. We want to burn fat calories. This requires training the metabolism to burn more fat and less sugar all day and night.
The human body has duel fuel sources — we burn both fat and sugar (glucose) for energy. The big question is how much of each do we use? This depends on each individual’s metabolism. Some people burn high amounts of fat, rely less on sugar, and are slim. Today, more people have impaired fat-burning, resulting in lower energy and higher body fat.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a harder, high-heart-rate workout leads to a metabolism that burns more fat calories. This approach can burn more sugar and fewer fat calories. Instead, you want to train your metabolism to burn more fat 24 hours a day.
Causes of Reduced Fat-Burning
Fat-burning metabolism is influenced by key lifestyle factors — exercise, food, and stress.
Lower-intensity exercise can improve metabolism to burn more fat, increase energy and reduce fat storage. High-intensity exercise, however, can reduce fat-burning. A heart-rate monitor can help you find the optimal training intensity as discussed below.
Refined carbohydrates, including sugar, impair fat-burning. Healthy fats found in avocados, eggs, butter, coconut and olive oils, and meats can promote fat-burning. If you really want to burn off more body fat, eliminating sugar and other refined carbohydrates and eating healthy fats is important.
Excess stress can also impair fat-burning. In addition to high-intensity training, other forms of stress, such as chemical (diet) and mental (and emotional) can reduce fat-burning too. Managing stress levels, including your exercise program, is another key to fat-burning.
Just by reducing their workout intensity and dietary stress, most people can be burning more body fat in just a few hours.
How Heart Monitors Help
A heart-rate monitor is a basic biofeedback device. With correct use, it can help regulate physical stress during workouts to maintain an intensity that encourages more fat-burning. This can improve metabolism during the workout and for the next 24 hours or more, even while you sleep.
A heart monitor informs you when your workout intensity gets too high so you can slow down. You can monitor walking, running, cycling, group workouts or any exercise (except for strength training, which is usually high-intensity).
What heart rate is best for you? It varies with the individual’s level of both health and fitness. You can check first with your doctor for the right guidelines to check to see what rate you should be at before you start your training and to also make sure you in good enough shape to begin a rigorous training program.
A heart monitor can also help evaluate whether you are indeed on the right track. Why wait weeks or months only to find body fat has not changed much? A simple test can tell us. As we burn more body fat, aerobic muscle function improves and you will be able to walk, run, bike or otherwise go faster at the same heart rate. This is especially important for competitive athletes. This is called, developing Maximum Aerobic Function, or MAF. The MAF Test helps take the guesswork out of training.
If your body fat is too high, stop counting workout calories, slow down and burn fat, and use a heart monitor to ensure your success.