Fat Burn vs Cardio

When discussing fat burn vs cardio,if you routinely use a cardio equipment, you might have noticed a heart rate zone on the panel. Depending on whether you want to burn fat or increase your cardio endurance, the chart shows several heart rates for your workout. The fat-burning zone is one of the zones.

It demonstrates the heart rate at which you burn fat instead of glucose. This zone is a little more involved than this, which is why it is sometimes misunderstood. We compare fat burn vs cardio exercises to see which one results in a higher calorie burn.

woman pinching her belly fat

Describe Cardio

Exercise that boosts your heart rate, breathing rate, blood flow, and oxygen consumption is referred to as cardio, or aerobic exercise. Cardio increases your heart rate and circulation, which puts a strain on your body’s energy. Cardio activities can be done in a variety of ways, such as swimming, running, hiking, and cycling.

Cardio relies on the body’s capacity to use oxygen throughout a workout, unlike other types of exercise. Your respiratory system begins to work harder during a cardiac activity as your breathing grows faster and deeper. Your blood vessels then dilate to supply your muscles with extra oxygen, and endorphins are also released by the body.

Cardiovascular exercise benefits your heart. According to research, doing cardio regularly can help reduce cardiovascular disease. Cardio also improves your mood by releasing endorphins into your body. It is a fantastic weight-loss activity as well.

Does exercise really burn fat? How much cardio should you exercise to lose weight?

Exercises like rope jumping, cycling, and high-intensity interval training are the best cardio for losing weight. You should engage in 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigourous aerobic exercise and 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise.

two women on jogging machine

The Fat Burning Zone: What Is It?

You’ve definitely heard of the fat-burning zone, but is it really true that it maximises fat loss? What is the ideal heart rate to burn fat? Working in the fat-burning zone means doing so between 55 and 70 percent of your maximal heart rate. As a result, you exercise at a lower intensity to stay in this range.

To power life-sustaining functions, the muscles and other bodily tissue need glucose. Glycogen and fat, which decompose to produce glucose, are the body’s two main energy sources. In order to burn glycogen or fat and produce glucose, which is used to fuel muscles during exercise, oxygen is necessary.

Cells convert either fat or glycogen into the useable form of ATP via a number of metabolic processes (adenosine triphosphate).The physical demands on the body increase with exercise. In response, the heart beats more forcefully and quickly, allowing more oxygen to enter the muscle cells and fuel the muscles by oxidising more fat and glycogen.

However, compared to lipids, glycogen has a lower energy density and is more easily converted to glucose.High intensity requires more energy more rapidly. As a result, the body’s primary source of energy during activity is glycogen. Only when the glycogen reserves begin to run low does the body begin to utilise fat.

By using body fat stores rather than glucose, the fat-burning zone theory aims to promote weight loss. Since the body doesn’t require “fast energy” from glycogen during a lower intensity activity, it is thought that the body burns more fat during lower intensity workouts than at higher intensities.

You therefore require longer, lower-intensity cardio workouts to maintain your heart rate in the fat-burning range.

When the body is at rest and breathing is regular, oxygen is easily accessible and breaks down fat slowly. Therefore, the body uses fat, the most plentiful energy source in the body, when it is in equilibrium.

Fat Burn vs Cardio

The body uses fat, a type of slow-burning energy, to fuel muscles when exercising at lower or moderate intensities

But this is a false impression. Although the body does burn fat during lower intensity exercise, the rate of fat burning is minimal. Therefore, to burn the same amount of calories as during severe aerobic activity, you must exercise for an extended period of time.

Losing fat is crucial to losing weight. Glucose is released into the bloodstream following a meal and after the food has been absorbed. The pancreas is prompted to secrete insulin as a result. Numerous cells in the body are affected by insulin, especially those in the liver.

Insulin prevents the conversion of glucose into glycogen and promotes the absorption of glucose by muscle and fat cells. You’ve definitely heard of the fat-burning zone, but is it really true that it maximises fat loss?

What heart rate should be used to burn fat? Working in the fat-burning zone means doing so between 55 and 70 percent of your maximal heart rate. As a result, you exercise at a lower intensity to stay in this range.

Protein and carbohydrates can be turned into fats through a process called lipogenesis in the liver. The liver can transform the glycogen that is stored in the muscles and in the liver into fat, which is then stored as triglycerides. Then, for storage, they are put into adipose tissue.

Adipocytes, or fat cells, are designed to store energy. To handle additional energy from high-calorie foods, the body increases the number and size of fat cells. Subcutaneous fat is fat that is stored under the skin and in places like the abdomen (visceral fat).

A high body fat percentage, particularly visceral fat, raises the chance of developing particular diseases.

The loose connective tissue known as adipose tissue is in charge of storing lipid-based fat. It cushions and insulates the body and is formed of adipocytes. A form of lipid contained in adipose tissue is called a fat.

The physiological process of burning fat takes place when adipocytes release fat into the bloodstream to supply the needed energy. Food is necessary for the human body’s cells to carry out life-sustaining tasks.

What are fat burners?

The term “fat burner” is frequently used to refer to dietary supplements like caffeine, chromium, and carnitine that reduce fat absorption while boosting fat metabolism, burning, and oxidation during exercise.

Contrary to popular belief, the body does not shed fat cells throughout the complex process of burning fat. When you have extra body fat, it is tough to detect defined muscles since the fat cells remain in the hips, thighs, or on top of muscles where they are. Instead, because fat acts as a reserve for energy and adipocytes as a storage space, the body removes the fat from fat cells.

The body uses the energy stored in the fat cells to carry out various tasks when you start a regular exercise routine and calorie restriction. As a result, the body stops accumulating an excessive amount of fat in the adipose tissues.

Triacylglycerol is a kind of fat that is kept outside of the fat cell and is instead released through intricate hormonal and enzymatic mechanisms.

Triglycerides are released into the bloodstream as free fatty acids when fat cells are stimulated (FFAs). The blood then carries the free fatty acids to the cells and tissues that need the energy. These free fatty acids are then taken up by the heart, muscles, lungs, and other tissues.

Lipolysis is the process by which each triacylglycerol molecule is divided into glycerol and three fatty acids. Hormone-sensitive lipase is the catalyst for the process. By means of lipoprotein lipase activity, the free fatty acids are then transported into the mitochondria, where they are burned.

It contracts in size once the fats are released from the fat cells. Because the fat cells are smaller, the body appears thinner as it sheds fat following regular exercise and a balanced diet. The size of fat cells changes depending on how they are filled.

As a result, fat cell size decreases over time as the basal metabolism rises.Obesity is caused by excess visceral fat, which raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

It’s crucial to remember that significant health problems can also result from having insufficient adipose tissue. Losing too much weight results from not eating frequently enough.

Which Is Better for Burning Fat: Cardio Exercise or Fat Burning?

Exercise is frequently used by people to maintain their weight, gain muscle, and tone their bodies. The kind and amount of activity you do, your nutrition, as well as other aspects like your sleep and stress levels, will all affect how quickly or slowly you lose weight.

The general weight loss rule is to burn more calories than you take in. A calorie deficit is frequently used to achieve this. You must burn more calories while increasing your physical activity to lose weight.

Heart rate, a gauge of how hard your heart is working, aids in estimating the level of physical exertion. High-intensity exercise causes your heart to pump more quickly and circulate more oxygen, which oxidises various energy sources. It follows that those who are attempting to lose weight will naturally strive to exercise at a level of intensity that keeps their heart rate in the fat-burning range.

The American Council on Exercise states that improving cardiovascular fitness requires a heart rate between 55 and 80% of maximum heart rate. The benefits of working out more intensely may be greater for athletes and people who are trying to lose weight. Keep in mind that age affects your maximal heart rate because your heart beats slower as you get older.

The fat-burning zone is when your heart rate is between 55 and 70 percent of its maximum. The cardio zone, on the other hand, is when your heart rate is between 70 and 85% of its maximum. You burn more calories when you exercise more intensely.

Fat Burn vs Cardio

Glycogen reserves feed your muscles

Your body uses its glycogen reserves to feed your muscles first when you workout more intensely in the aerobic zone. Your body then uses the fat reserves in your body to produce energy. Cardio workouts cause your muscles to work hard enough to use up your fat reserves and exhaust your glycogen supplies.

To keep you going at an intense pace, high-intensity workouts require your cardiovascular and respiratory systems to work harder and faster. In order to pump and provide oxygenated blood to the working muscles, the heart beats more faster.

You may breathe quickly since your lungs are also working harder. More calories are needed if the tissues and organs work harder than usual.

But which is more advantageous, aerobic activity or fat burning? When you exercise in the fat-burning zone, your fat reserves serve as fuel. The problem is that burning fat moves slowly. So you actually burn fewer calories if you stick to low to moderate intensity activity to stay in this zone.

Naturally, the cardio heart rate is higher and your heart and lungs work more quickly when compared to the heart rate during fat burning. Cardio increases the intensity of your workout. As much as you consume glycogen, “fast energy” is used to feed your active muscles first, which results in increased calorie burn. You consequently lose more weight.

You should also consider how long you should exercise for to burn more calories while choosing between cardio and a fat-burning zone. You will need to exercise longer to burn the same number of calories as you would with cardio since fat burns slowly when you exercise at moderate intensities and remain in the fat-burning zone.

Fat Burn vs Cardio

Consider brisk walking and running to acquire a better understanding of fat-burning mode versus cardio. Even while walking burns fewer calories than running, which is a higher intensity activity, your body will still convert fat for energy. Additionally, you would likely run 9 miles in the time it takes to walk 6 miles, increasing your calorie expenditure.

So, in order to stay in the fat-burning zone, should you avoid doing severe cardio? No, you shouldn’t limit yourself to low- or moderate-intensity cardio. This is due to the fact that, despite burning a higher percentage of fat, light exercise burns fewer calories overall than vigourous cardio.

Cardio exercises that burn a lot of calories are preferable to activities that burn fat. You will lose weight more quickly if you burn more calories. Therefore, doing hard exercise is preferable if your objective is to shed weight and body fat.


Although the phrase “fat-burning zone” sounds appealing, it is frequently false. Low- to moderate-intensity aerobic activities are necessary to enter the fat-burning zone. You need to exercise for longer lengths of time in order to burn a bigger percentage of fat.

You might burn more calories with intensive cardio since your muscles need more energy. To maximise the benefits of cardio, you can try mixing moderate and high-intensity workouts. Keep in mind to eat nutrient-dense foods, get enough relaxation in between activities, and obtain enough quality sleep.

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