ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fat burn vs Cardio — What's the difference?

Updated on May 20, 2017
Shandala profile image

Shannon is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Canada. She is currently completing her degree in Professional Writing and Communication.

Lace up those shoes, let's workout!
Lace up those shoes, let's workout! | Source

Fat burn vs Cardio: The Rivalry

So, you've gotten yourself to the gym. Shoes laced, water bottle in hand, tunes ready to go. You hop onto a treadmill, glance down, andfind yourself a little befuddled. Cardio? Fat burn? Maximum heart rate? Exasperated, you wonder: What should I be doing? What's the best workout for my body and my fitness goals?

Well, here's a little insight into how the body handles exercise and what your workout options are.

Mountain climbers - a popular HIIT workout exercise
Mountain climbers - a popular HIIT workout exercise | Source

What Exercise Does To The Body

When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep you moving. This energy is drawn from two places: fat stores and glycogen. Glycogen is just a fancier word for the stores of glucose in your muscles and liver.

It has been discovered that during lower intensity exercise (where your heart rate is between 50-70% of its maximum), more fat is burned than glycogen. In fact, the burn ratio is 60% fat, 40% glycogen.

During higher intensity exercise (pushing your heart rate to 70-90% of its max.), your body pulls more energy from glycogen. For high intensity cardio, the burn rates are 35% fat and 65% glycogen.

So, wait a minute. Lower intensity exercise burns more fat? Well, technically it does, but hold on. That's only half the story.

Cardio machines galore!
Cardio machines galore! | Source

How Many Calories Will I Burn?

Now we have to start talking about calories. Calories are the bottom line when it comes to figuring out just how much you're burning and from where. Yes, at a lower intensity, your body does burn more calories from fat. But it burns far fewer calories overall than it does during higher intensity exercise.

Think of it this way: if you work out at a lower intensity for an hour and burn 350 calories, 210 are from fat and 140 are from glycogen. However, if you work out at a higher rate of intensity for that same length of time, you may burn closer to 700 calories, 245 of which would be from fat and 455 from glycogen. With higher intensity exercise you burn more calories and more fat.

The Sought-After Cardio Afterburn Effect

It's also worth mentioning the afterburn effect that comes into play after high intensity exercise. Essentially, it's calories your body continues to burn after you've stopped exercising. This occurs due to EPOC Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. The harder your body works during exercise, the more oxygen it must later restore. That equals more calories burned, even after you're done your workout.

Workout variation is vital
Workout variation is vital | Source

Is High Intensity Cardio Really Better?

Well, that depends. You've got the facts—it's up to you to decide what's best for you and your body.

Remember that varying your exercise routine can be highly beneficial. Changing up your workouts is an important element of a healthy lifestyle. By varying your workouts, you'll build different muscle groups, help prevent overuse injuries and keep your body and brain engaged and motivated.

Keep active and keep healthy!

Resources:

Domonell, Kristen. EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss? http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/epoc-afterburn-effect/

Perry, Marc. The Fat Burning Zone Myth: Don't Be Fooled. http://www.builtlean.com/2013/04/01/fat-burning-zone-myth/

Wadyka, Sally. 7 Reasons to Switch Up Your Workout. http://blog.onemedical.com/live-well/7-reasons-to-switch-up-your-workout/

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)