The Basics of Burning Fat to Boost Your Metabolism

The Basics of Burning Fat to Boost Your Metabolism

No matter where the fat is stored, you can speed up the burning furnace with activity. Consistent activity — especially weight-bearing and resistance exercises in which you build and strengthen muscles — can help offset a 5-10 percent decrease in muscle mass per decade of life. This is one reason your metabolism slows down as you age.
So you can give yourself a little wiggle room with your daily calorie intake by burning more through exercise and building lean muscle mass.

Burn fat while exercising
Your body always uses both fats and carbohydrates for energy, only in different proportions, depending on the type and intensity of exercise you do.
The intensity of your exercise is determined by how fast your heart is beating and the percentage of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age in years. For example, if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate is 170 beats per minute.
Many exercise devices can monitor your heart rate through the sensors they touch. Otherwise, to determine your level of exercise, you can manually measure your heart rate. Pause briefly during the exercise and take your pulse using the tips of your index and middle fingers on your wrist. Count the number of beats you feel for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to get your beats per minute.
Here are the exercise levels:

  • Couch Potato: While you’re sitting there reading this book, your body burns calories with about 50 percent from carbs and 50 percent from fat.


  • The quick rush: If you sit down and start jogging, your carbs will go up, because they’re easy to break down and get accessed by your muscles.

This type of quick exercise, which lasts about two minutes, is also known as anaerobic exercise, which means your body doesn’t use as much oxygen for its performance as it does for a longer activity. Anaerobic exercise produces lactic acid, a compound that can build up in the blood and cause fatigue.
Over time, you become more and more able to tolerate this lactic acid, which prolongs the time before your muscles tire, improving your endurance. After a workout, your body needs to take in more oxygen to break down the lactic acid, burning calories after the act.

  • Moderate intensity: Over time, when you do moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, you are in “fat-burning” mode. A higher percentage of the calories you burn come from fat because your body doesn’t work as hard, so it has the resources to break down fat, which is hard to come by. In this position, your heart rate is about 50-70 percent of your maximum rate.


  • High intensity: When your heart rate reaches 70-85 percent of its maximum, your body goes back to using more carbohydrates because it needs energy more quickly.

It might surprise you that your body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat at a lower intensity, but that doesn’t translate into burning more calories for fat overall. Athletes are not skinny because they focus on the percentage of time they spend in the fat burning zone. They are skinnier because they exercise harder and for longer and burn more calories overall.

Your best friend, afterburn
Although the fat burning zone during exercise is somewhat of a misnomer, the idea of ​​an afterburner is very real. When you exercise, your body is working hard to perform a variety of tasks simultaneously, and when you stop, your body goes through a process to normalize itself.
This normalization is also known as post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. The longer and intense the activity, the more oxygen your body uses to regenerate your cells. This translates to burning more calories throughout the day and an increased metabolic rate.
A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that 45 minutes of vigorous cycling increases metabolic rate for up to 14 hours after exercise. The young adults in the study burned about 190 calories more during the rest of the day — not including the calories burned during exercise.
The effect is also seen in short bouts of resistance exercise; One study found that this can keep the burning going for up to 48 hours later!

The amount of calories you can actually burn will vary greatly depending on the length of your workout, your body composition, your age, and even the temperature outside. But the highest calorie burn after exercise occurs when your heart rate is within the 70-85 percent range of your maximum.
If you’re not measuring your heart rate, max. high-intensity activity after a burn means the following:
It’s at least ten minutes.
You have shortness of breath and can only speak a few words at a time – also known as a speaking test (with moderately vigorous exercise you can speak but cannot sing).
You may be sweating.
You run, jog, swim, or bike more than 10 miles per hour, hike, brisk walking, or play sports with a lot of running like soccer, singles tennis, or basketball.
The longer you do these activities, the better. But you also need to be aware of another type of burning: combustion. It may not be realistic for you to spend an hour a day, and that’s okay.
If you know you can’t exercise at high or even moderate intensity due to injury or weakness, you can still reap the benefits of burning additional calories by doing low-intensity exercises such as walking or calm swimming. Simply set aside more time to exercise to increase how much you can burn.