T Nation

Fat Burning at Low Intensity


Hey fellaz,
I know this "myth" has been spoken about before but can you guys point me in the direction to articles or give me your thoughts on why staying at a low intensity for a certain amount of time is or isnt the best way to lower bodyfat. Besides being a strength and conditioning coach I also work at a health club and we are having a roundtable discussion about this next week and I need some amo. I know there gonna say well when below 60& you are using primarily fat and then when the intensity does up you are usign more carbs. Thanx guys.


Well, let's think about it in terms of an example outside the fitness world.

Let's say that I was going to give you 90% of my yearly salary. Might sound good huh? What if I said I only made a $100. Not so excited now are ya.

Then what if I said I'll give you 1% of my yearly salary, but I make $5 million a year. That's a lot better.

So, a large % of a small # is still a small #. Yet a small % of a really large # will come out bigger in the end.

Just the same as with exercise. While we'll burn a high % of fat at lower intensities, we'll burn a high calories from fat a higher intensities eventhough the % is lower. Make sense?

And besides if these people want to debate it, just agree and say "Yup, let's go with the lowest intensity possible, sleep, and we'll be burning the high % of fat".

And to go on further looking at cardio as a means for fat loss isn't the right way to go about it. I'd go into the reasons behind it, but I replied to the other post about this the High vs Low Intensity one.


I think busting your ass is the ultimate fat burner. Sprints better than treadmill trotting. As long as my nutrtion is good, I never lose muscle like I think I will with intense cardio.


I loooooove this analogy. Nice call man.

Reading homework for you, Jason...
Cardio Roundtable Part 1:

Cardio Roundtable Part 2:

In Part 1, about halfway down, Thib addresses the issue of HIIT vs. Jogging.


I think to be fair though, consideration must be given to the persons starting bodyfat %, overall weight, and ultimate goal.

It is not necessarily always the best option to sprint or HIIT interval type training.

There is value in longer, more steady state type cardio.