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Question: Burning calories VS. Burning fat

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Old 04-10-2007, 01:31 PM   #1
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Default Question: Burning calories VS. Burning fat

Hi Everyone!

I have just recorded my food and exercise on Fitday, and I started to think about something. As I record all the housework I did today (laundry, dishes, making lunch, cleaning bathrooms, running the sweeper) there is a total of calories burned added to my list. Then, when I put in my workouts, there are more calories burned added to my list.

Is there a difference between calories burned or used in daily activities such as running the sweeper AND fat burning as I do Turbo Jam? Am I "burning fat" as I run the sweeper, or am I just "using up calories?" Is there a difference?
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Old 04-10-2007, 01:46 PM   #2
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From what I know is that your body moves from
- Current energy sources (whats in your blood stream)
- Immediate energy sources (glycogen in your muscles)
- Long term energy sources (fat)

So if you just ate, you aren't probably burning fat. If you aren't doing something too strenuous, then your body is probably using glycogen stores and if you are doing something strenuous, then your body is using fat stores.

Of course glycogen stores need to be replaced so those can come from your stored fat or from recently digested food.

Either way, you are burning calories
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Old 04-10-2007, 01:55 PM   #3
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Cheryl, you probably know that your excess weight is stored fat, right? And every pound of stored fat is made up of 3500 calories. So that means that you have 3500 X 35 pounds of fat (according to your ticker) worth of stored calories just waiting to be used. In your case, it works out to 122,500 stored calories (aren't you thrilled to know that? )



The only way to use up the stored calories is by creating a daily calorie deficit. That is, you need to use more calories than you're eating - that's what the calorie deficit is. Caloried burned - calories eaten = daily calorie deficit.

Once you've created a deficit, then your body is forced to dip into its stored calories to meet your daily calorie need. And that's how we get rid of fat. Do you realize that you've already burned off 280,000 calories of stored fat with your 80 pound loss? You did it using more calories than you ate on a daily basis.

Everything you do in a day adds to your total calories burned - housework, TurboJam, sitting at the computer, even sleeping. All these burn calories and all add up to your total calories used in a day. And the amount of your daily calorie deficit determines how many calories will be called up from your stored fat reserves. If you've used 500 more calories than you've eaten, your body will pull those 500 calories from stored fat. If you've used 1000 calories more than you've eaten, it will pull 1000 calories from stored fat. And - horrors! - if you eaten 500 more calories than you've burned, those calories go right back into the stored fat.

When you do housework, you're burning calories. When you're doing TurboJam, you're burning calories. If you burn more calories in a day than you've eaten, then your body will burn stored fat for energy.

Once your body has used up all 122,500 calories of stored fat, you'll be at goal!

Does that make any sense?
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:48 PM   #4
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Very good info, Meg. Thanks!
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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Yup Meg is correct. You can be burning fat at one moment but really if you don't have a calorie deficit, you will be replacing that fat by the food you eat. I just wish my elliptical would stop telling me I burned 200 calories and tell me I burned 500 or something
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:14 PM   #6
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Thanks Meg and nelie!

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Old 04-10-2007, 11:17 PM   #7
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I've read and been told the opposite about glycogen stores. During an intense workout (high end of the cardio range or weight lifting) the glycogen stores are being used, which breaks down muscle not fat. During low intensity workouts the body will burn more fat. That's why the personal trainers try to sell you all those carbs for right before you work out, so that you will not lose muscle during the a hard workout (and then all the protein products for afterward).

Also, all of the material where I've read about heart rate training zones define a lower heart rate range for fat burning and a higher, more intense heart rate as heart training.

It makes sense because your body needs oxygen to burn fat, and the faster your heart beats, the less oxygen is available.
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing this info. I've been working out pretty regularly lately but I'm still not seeing the results in my abdomen that I think my workouts should be causing. But, I really think it's my diet and having a calorie deficit is key.
"Caloried burned - calories eaten = daily calorie deficit."
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:56 AM   #9
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Hi jultzchicki!

My abdomen is one of my trouble zones, and I have had great success with yoga and Core Secrets (on the ball). I've now lost 13 inches off my waist, and I really can FEEL my abdominals now! (Don't have a six-pack yet, but at least I can FEEL my abdominal muscles when I tense them!)

I recently began HipHopAbs with Shaun T. He's SO MUCH FUN, and he's cute, too! Even though he's young enough to be my son, I just think he's the greatest and I can learn a lot from him. Turbo Jam is also a lot of fun, and I really can feel my abs working as I do it.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari View Post
I've read and been told the opposite about glycogen stores. During an intense workout (high end of the cardio range or weight lifting) the glycogen stores are being used, which breaks down muscle not fat. During low intensity workouts the body will burn more fat. That's why the personal trainers try to sell you all those carbs for right before you work out, so that you will not lose muscle during the a hard workout (and then all the protein products for afterward).

Also, all of the material where I've read about heart rate training zones define a lower heart rate range for fat burning and a higher, more intense heart rate as heart training.

It makes sense because your body needs oxygen to burn fat, and the faster your heart beats, the less oxygen is available.
Well glycogen stores are just that, they are energy stores within your muscle. It isn't breaking down muscle. Usually you aren't breaking down muscle unless you work out intensely for more than an hour OR there is some switch that your body has turned on that it wants to conserve fat and burn muscle instead.

There is evidence that you are burning a higher percentage of fat when you are in a lower heart range but your overall amount of fat burned can be higher by doing intense workouts. Maybe this is why HIIT (High intensity interval training) works so well because you alternate intensities.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:11 AM   #11
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Did you know that you burn the highest percent of fat when you're asleep in bed? How great of a work out is that? Answer: not very because the number of calories burned is so low. Who cares if you're burning close to 100% fat if you're burning very few calories?

The percent of fats or carbs burned in a workout is misleading and in my opinion, pretty irrelevant to those of us looking to lose stored fat. All that we need to focus on is the number of calories we use (or burn) in a day and be sure that they exceed the number of calories we consume. Voila - calorie deficit and weight loss!
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:35 AM   #12
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Here is an informative article I read yesterday about this very issue:

The Fat Burning Zone
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:49 AM   #13
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Tiffany, that's a great article! And it's exactly right about the myth of the 'fat burning zone'. That so-called fat burning zone is a misunderstanding and misapplication of science perpetuated by cardio equipment manufacturers and a few uninformed personal trainers.

I personally blow right through my imaginary fat burning zone within the first two minutes I'm on the elliptical and leave it in the dust for the rest of my workout. And I'm quite happy with my results.
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:00 PM   #14
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Yeah, my elliptical has a "fat burning" workout program which I never use. I want my heart pumping, I want sweat dripping off of me and I want to burn as many calories as I can in the time I'm on it.
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