Exercise Variables and Fat Calories Burned
Don't Go Too Fast

As described on the previous page, the Respiratory Exchange Ratio or RER
provides a way to actually measure how much fat and carbohydrate we are
burning during exercise. From this we can answer some important questions that
directly help determine the best exercise for weight loss. These questions can be
summarized as follows:

What is the best exercise INTENSITY for fat burning?
What is the best exercise DURATION for fat burning?
What is the best TYPE of exercise for fat burning?


Low intensity and moderate intensity exercise burns mostly fat, high intensity
exercise burns very little fat and mostly carbohydrate. More precisely, we burn
mostly fat during exercise as long as the intensity of that exercise doesn't
require us to consume more than about 65-70% of our maximum oxygen
consumption capacity (see chart below).
Of course most of us don't have the ability to actually measure our oxygen
consumption. Fortunately, there is a nearly linear relationship between
oxygen consumption (as percent of maximum) [%Vo2max]and heart rate (as
percent of maximum) [%HR max]. This means that we reach our maximum
oxygen consumption about when we reach our maximum heart rate and 50%
VO2max at about 50% HRmax. The chart below illustrates this:
Maximum Heart Rate

There is no perfect calculation to determine your maximum heart rate because
each us us is slightly different. The most familiar formula is called the "Fox and
Haskell Formula" and states that

HRmax = 220 - Age(in years)

Most experts feel this is a poor formula and reccomend that people NOT use it.

The most widely verified and esteemed calculation was developed at Oakland
University and takes data from the heart rates of 132 people over 25 years of their
lives. This formula reads:

HRmax = 191.5 - (0.007 [age Squared])
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