Fitness Myth

If you ever wonder why UBT’s fitness classes are one hour and has been broken down in segments (warm-up, slow heart rate buildup, fast heart rate cycle  and then back down to a slower heart rate). The answer lies in what the body needs to do to burn calories.

Given this, here is today’s workout myth and the answer to whether it’s true or false.

Myth: Exercise done at a low intensity, such as walking, is better at fat burning than other high-intensity activities, like running or cardio activities where you push yourself very hard.

The Truth: In a strict scientific sense, these claims are true because working at a lower intensity requires less quick energy and a higher percentage of fat is burned. But you'll also burn fewer calories than you would if, for the same amount of time, you work out at a harder intensity (running versus walking). If you're trying to lose weight, even though a higher percentage of fat is being used, a lower total amount of fat is lost.

Whether increased fat burning will result in actual weight loss is dependent upon several variables, including the total calories burned (which include both fat and carbohydrate calories) and the total fat calories burned. If you do work at a low intensity, you need to increase the time spent exercising to burn more calories. What matters most is the total number of calories burned. If you burned 250 calories every day from a short, fast jog, you'd see a bigger difference in weight and fat loss than if you walked everyday for the same amount of time. The number of fat calories you burn isn't that important, because even if you burn a lot of carb calories, these need to be replaced both by the carbs you eat in your diet and also within your body. Your fat stores will be broken down and transformed into carbohydrates when you need fuel. Even if you're burning lots of carb calories and less fat calories through exercise, your fat still inevitably gets used.

It boils — not burns — down to this: During the same amount of time you don't use more calories at lower exercise intensities. If you're trying to lose weight and you have only 30 minutes to work out, you would burn fewer calories walking at a moderate pace compared to walking at a fast pace. Working out at higher intensities may cause you to burn a lower percentage of fat, but since you burn more total calories, you still use more fat calories.

Low- to moderate-intensity exercise can burn a significant number of calories over a period of time. If you aren't fit enough to push yourself to work at a high intensity, or you have a physical weakness that prevents you from doing so, you can still burn a lot of calories by doing low-intensity workouts for a longer period of time.