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Working anywhere within the cardio zone will improve cardio fitness and burn calories. The benefit of working in the fat-burning zone is that you target stored fat and thus encourage weight loss. But, keep in mind, that if you work in a higher zone, you burn a greater amount of calories overall—which is important to weight loss.
Although a lower percentage of these calories will come from fat sources, the total number of fat calories burned will likely be the same or greater. Take, for example, a person who burns calories in a minute walk at a heart rate of 55 percent of maximum. Seventy-five percent of those calories, or 75 calories, may come from fat.
However, a person who runs those same 15 minutes and burns calories may burn only 50 percent of those calories from fat, but will burn a total of fat calories in the same amount of time.
A study based on 36 relatively fit runners published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" in October demonstrated that determination of a person's exact fat-burning zone may only be performed in a laboratory. In this study, significant overlap between the fat burning and cardio zones existed, indicating that a person working within 60 and 80 percent of maximal heart rate is likely to be maximizing fat oxidation.
Unless you are training for a figure or body building competition where working in the fat-burning zone exclusively helps you preserve every bit of lean body mass, it is best to focus on improving fitness and calorie burn with varying levels of intensity.
If you choose to work in the lower range of the cardio zone—the fat-burning zone—be prepared to work out longer to burn enough calories to affect weight loss. Incorporating high cardio and lower cardio zone exercise into a workout routine will offer the most aerobic and weight loss benefit.
Video of the Day. The foods and ingredients used with the Nutrisystem programs do not spike the blood sugar to create a hormonal response and sustain fat storage. Developing your own menu that resembles this dieting format will require planning, strategy and research. Visit the Nutrisystem website and click on the menu bar on the home page. There you will find an exhaustive list of meals and snacks that are available with the program.
Click on the detailed information that outlines the full nutritional value of the meal and make notes for yourself as to which meals you want to replicate. Create a journal of meals that you found on the website, and write down or print off the nutrition information exactly. This is imperative when creating your own diet menu in order to find similar success at home with weight loss.
Use the ingredients and meal construction ideas noted above and develop a shopping list. Note the meal assembly and use of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Then, create similar meals with similar ingredients from your local supermarket.
You can get creative here, but stay within the calorie budget and macro-nutrient profile that the Nutrisystem program provides. Get connected to others who are altering lifestyle patterns in eating and dieting with plans that are similar to yours.