When you want something done, you have got to do it right. This is why all the misinformation out there, regarding health and fitness, can be really frustrating as it is sometimes hard to know what is true and what is just a myth. So I thought I would take a look at three of the most common myths when it comes to burning fat, to help ensure you are not walking down the wrong path!
Myth: Your body only uses one fuel source at a time (i.e. carb calories vs fat calories)
Contrary to what many people believe your body does not completely shut down one source of fuel when using another, in fact you are constantly using a combination of both. Even right now as you are reading this, your body is relying on fuel from both your carb calories and your fat store calories to sit upright and keep all the different organs and systems of your body functioning!
Even though just sitting around uses minimal calories (about 1 a minute), this increases when you get up and get moving. Depending on what kind of activity or exercise (low intensity vs high intensity) you are participating in, your body alters the percentage of either carb or fat calories you are burning
Myth: Low intensity exercise, such as walking, is more effective at burning fat than high intensity exercises.
This is one I have heard many times, and in all honesty it is it is not a complete fallacy, however it is important that you understand the whole truth. Working at a lower intensity requires less quick energy, which means a higher fat calorie burning capacity. However if you are looking at similar times, in which both the low intensity and high intensity exercises are practiced, then high intensity will always win out.
Where the confusion lies is the difference between fat calories and carb calories. Even though low intensity exercise, over an extended period, burns more fat calories and high intensity focuses more on carb calories, it makes little difference in the end. The carb calories will need to be replaced by either your diet, or from breaking down your fat stores in your body, because your body needs fuel. So even if you are burning more carb calories through high intensity exercise, your fat stores are still getting used.
Myth: Cardio activities burn more fat calories after 20 minutes
It is true that after about 15 to 20 minutes your body naturally shifts the percentage of carb to fat calories burnt in favour of fat calories, but as I mentioned before if your goal is weight loss, then it isn’t so much about what fuel source you are using, more the amount of calories burnt. So for this reason ANY exercise is good exercise. If you have less than 20 minutes to work out, just opt for high intensity exercises so that you can burn through more!