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Heart Rate Training "The Fat burning Zone Myth" ???

Has ANYONE, actually dropped CONSIDERABLE bodyfat, 10-20% doing steady state cardio work?  Anyone?

While the internet is a great place to get information, it's also very easy to get 100% conflicting information every day, for the rest of your life.

I recently read "The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing" by Philip Maffetone.

He is preaching the gospel of low heart rate zone training to train the body to burn fat and not glucose.  Over time (6 months) your performance will increase greatly while maintaining the same lower hear rate.  

He advocates no weight training or sprinting or anaerobic training during this time.  Add those workouts later once your aerobic base is built strong.

This sounds great to me, especially since I mountain bike.  As weekend warriors we tend to go and try and chase the fastest guy.  Few of use have trained slowly or consistently.  I have dropped weight but my bodyfat has stayed the same, the same as many of the people in my riding group.

So while this makes sense to me logically and from my own experience, the internet is preaching the opposite.  Work harder, shorter, burn MORE overall calories to burn more overall fat.  I can also find evidence suggesting hard and fast burns sugar not fat.

I have done a few workouts according to his guidelines.  I can tell already if I was not monitoring my heart rate, I would be pushing myself 3x as hard.  Since I am starting fresh, the workouts and very low in stress, its more of a challenge to keep my rate this low!  I do work up a sweat nonetheless.  

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The body uses its energy stores as such.

Carbohydrates (stored glycogen) --> fat --> protein (in tissue)

Rule of thumb that a lot of cardio longterm, even at fat burning zone, will make you end up like a skinny marathoner. Bodybuilders do little or no low intensity cardio.

Swimmers (especially butterfliers, middle distance to short distance sprinters, IMers, breastrokers) have a strong, muscularly lean build. The open water swimmers/triathletes are twigs compared to them.

I would say mix it up, have some times in your workout where you have short bursts of effort occasionally along with low intensity cardio.

My goal is fat loss, sure lower weight will occur most likely, but body fat loss is #1 goal.

You seem to be contradicting the very book that you got me interested in.  Phil is pretty clear that lower intensity burns up to 80% fat vs 20% sugar in an ideal situation.  Intense, interval type mountain bike riding in 3 years has not reduced my body fat at all.  This is why i thought Phil's advice might make sense?

I believe I have read epoc is fairly minor and certainly is not that important. I believe I have also read its a very arguable point as to how low it lasts. The contention is it really only last hours, not something like 20 hours.

It seems to me that information regarding high intensity interval training is more recent. It is everywhere in magazines and medical studies. I am not sure when the book was written....

I go to the gym a lot. And the people that tend to participate in endurance activities tend to be quite lean.

However, the body builders who perform intervals and quick hard cardio are lean, but with more muscle mass. Including my husband. He is very lean/muscular, and performs only 20 minutes at a time.

I guess it depends on your fitness goals. :-)

Severe calorie restriction combined with a boatload of running could cause muscle loss. In general I dont think a bit of running automatically creates a marathoner look.

both ways work but the low intensity is WAY more sustainable.

I train with some of the fastest cyclists on the planet and over 95% of their miles would be under 60% of MHR (max heart rate).

CONSISTENCY is key. Low effort training should make up 95% of our training volume with around 5% making us 'push'.

Works for the fittest people on the planet that are using the best doping products on earth.

If you want to be a tank, cut cardio out all together. If you want to be a lean machine, focus on low intensity cardio with MAX 2 fast rides a week and ideally ZERO if you dont have a decent base of a few years. If you can ride up any mountain really easy, then you can add in MAX 2 fast rides a week. Otherwise focus on building up your base so any tarmac climb is a piece of fruit.

Thats what works. Thats what lets me train so little yet drop Andre Griepel up the bergs out training last week. We had to drop the pace right down so AG didnt go out the back door. He was hurting bad to keep up with us. 

Focus on consistency and low intensity lets us be consistent. High intensity over 5% of our training volume means burn out in the post..

Thanks Harley. I did indeed come across some information last night confirming that Lance Armstrong uses the same very low heart rate base building mentioned in the Maffetone books. Its making total sense to me now why biking regularly a few times a week, but much too hard and fast, has not really helped me at all.

All I have been doing is burning sugar and filling my blood with cortisol and other garbage from the stress. I found another blog where an average guy had tried everything was finally losing fat using the same methods.

I was under the impression you rode hard always based on your power meter comments on some of your videos. Now that I think about it, you do mention your "lazy training days".

Eli and DR are very right- long and more slowly (but not to slow) is far more effective if you want to loss mostly fat.All runners i know have their base in Long slow distance. Mxing that with some interval is also very good, but the base remains in endurance.

Have you ever read Body, Mind and Sport by John Doulliard.  He has been around for decades and is awesome when it comes to advice on maintaining a low heart rate while exercising.  I have been doing his program for a few weeks and my grueling daily runs have become, for want of a better word, joyful again.  I feel like a child that just wants to move because I can.  Especially interesting are his insights on fat burning.  Well worth a browse.

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