Fitness Tip: Focus On Burning Calories, Forget About Fat

I see this scenario all of the time while working or training at the gym. People will climb onto a treadmill and push the button for “fat burn” thinking that doing this is going to help them lose more weight than if they did another program. The issue with this is that this thought process is 100% incorrect! Allow me to explain. burning calories

The body naturally will burn a higher percentage of fat when it is resting than when it is in action. Notice that I said a higher percentage, not more fat. That there is the kicker. Although the percentage of fat burned is higher at rest, more overall fat is burned when in action. Now lets take this scenario to the treadmill.

If you are working on a “fat burn” program which is usually a brisk walk, with your heart rate around  60-70% of its max, your body will burn hypothetically 200 calories, 120 of those calories from fat, for a total of 60% of your calories burned from fat. Now if you were to increase the intensity of the workout and complete a cardio training program your numbers will look more like this. Your heart rate will be around 80-90% of its max, your body will burn hypothetically 300 calories, 135 of those calories from fat for a total of 45% of your calories burned from fat. Do you see the difference here. Even though you are training at a higher intensity and the percentage of fat being burned is lower, you are still burning more fat overall. On top of this you are burning extra calories as well as giving your heart and cardiovascular system a better overall workout.

So what will you take away from this? I’ll tell you what. You are in the gym to work hard and sweat. Doing this will allow you to achieve your goals. If you are in the gym or working out at home, make the most of your time. Burn as many calories as you can in the time you have to train. Lastly, forget the treadmill even has that fat burn button. I see it messing with peoples heads all of the time. That button is evil. Avoid it!

Side tip: Calculating Max Heart Rate and Heart Rate Percentages.

Simple math here.

Your max heart rate is 220 beats per minute (BPM) – minus your age.

Example for a 30 year old person:  220  – 30 = 190 BPM (max heart rate)

If you want to figure out what your heart would be beating at 80% simply multiply your max heart rate by the percentage. Convert the percentage to a decimal and multiply.

Example: 190 x .80 = 152 BPM

The percentage is interchangeable so you can figure out how hard you are working with whatever your heart rate is. Now you can’t cheat yourself anymore. Your welcome for the education.

 Be sure to check out our collection of Fitness Tips!


the author

With a vision of combining his two favorite pastimes Eric created GameNTrain in 2010, a website with a focus on familiarizing gamers of the importance of fitness. While having a passion for gaming, he never forgets the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. With over 15 years of fitness knowledge, a gaming history of 25 years, and a degree in Physical Education, Health and Personal Training, his goal is to share his knowledge and help alleviate the growing concern of less active adults and children that make video games their hobby. To make contact click here .

  • DBLDeathDealer

    Very good article. Exactly what the focus should be! Great article Eric.

    • Eric Hoff

      Thank you Ray. I have been trying to really push the fitness scene. I know that makes you happy. Thanks for stopping by.