Most people exercise because they want to look better – preferably with less fat and more muscle — or at least a trim, healthy appearance. Look at almost any cardiovascular machine today and you’ll find a fat burning workouts. Who can argue with that, right?
The fact is, virtually any sustained exercise burns fat – some modalities more so than others, depending on intensity levels. A misconception still exists that you have to exercise at an easier intensity, or at the lower end of your target heart rate range, in order to burn fat most effectively.
The body does burn a high percentage of fat versus sugar when working at 60-75% of your theoretical maximum heart rate, which is typically 220 minus your age. Unfortunately at this lower intensity level, you won’t burn as many calories as you would working harder. While there is nothing wrong with what machines offer as fat burning workouts, exercising at a higher intensity is more likely to stimulate the results you are after.
The bottom line for a trimmer figure with less fat is burning calories. When the body burns more calories than it takes in, you lose weight. At sustainable, but challenging, levels for cardiovascular exercise, such as 70-85% of your maximum heart rate, you will use more calories overall for a more productive workout. It doesn’t necessarily matter what percentage of the calories were burned from fat or sugar.
So, then, if you still want the best fat burning workouts, you should wear a heart rate monitor and train in the higher levels of your range, or incorporate interval training where you work at a lower level for a few minutes, and incorporate shorter bursts of high intensity throughout your workout.
Octane Fitness standing and recumbent ellipticals, along with its LateralX lateral elliptical, all have a Heart Rate Interval program that lets you set the low and high heart rate targets, and then the machine adjusts your resistance levels throughout to ensure that you are working properly. With your customized target heart rates, you can be sure that you are following an effective routine that burns fat and calories.
At any point during your workout on an Octane elliptical, you can adjust these heart rate targets as well – in case you are particularly fatigued or need a greater challenge. You set the numbers and the machine does the rest. Mostly. You still have to do the workout.
Don’t get too hung up on “fat burning” workouts. Just be sure that when you perform cardio, you wear a heart rate monitor and keep within your target range to optimize your results.