Fat loss during endurance training happens when the body has entered its fat-burning zone. After 20 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise in which your body is exercising at a rate of at least 65% of its maximum heart rate, the body begins to use stored body fat for energy instead of the glycogen stores in the muscles. During this fat-burning zone, the energy demands placed on the body to continue to exercise are fueled by stored body fat. Clearly, the longer you can exercise in this zone the more stored body fat you will burn. Improving your endurance, particularly your ability to exercise in this zone, will enhance your fat loss. There is also one additional important component that needs to be included to maximize your fat-loss potential, and that is muscle mass.
Muscle mass is the body’s metabolic regulator. The more muscle you have, the more calories the body needs to maintain it during exercise and at rest. Adding resistance training to your regular endurance training is critical to reaching your maximum fat-burning potential at your current aerobic fitness level. By continuously subjecting the body to resistance training, you will increase muscle mass and your body’s calorie needs. When you are exercising in your fat-burning zone your body will need more stored fat to do the same aerobic routine and even without increasing your exercise time you will be increasing your endurance. Additionally, long after your aerobic class is over your body will be requiring more calories to repair and recovery. Muscles regulate how many calories you burn and your endurance level regulates how long you can do it.
Endurance training is designed to increase your ability to sustain an aerobic state for longer periods of time. It also improves the condition of the heart and circulatory system to adapt to more and more demands for longer periods of time. If fat loss is your goal you will surely want shapely muscles to appear after the weight loss. For those who prefer the long, lean muscle look chose yoga or Pilates to help you build muscle, or for a stronger more athletic look chose weight machines or free weights. Either choice combined with endurance training will give you a slimmer figure with a more toned look. Also expect your appetite to increase as you place more exercise demands on your body. Plan to fuel those needs with healthy snacks that include protein for those new muscles to reward yourself for all your hard work.
Engaging in regular endurance training will help you maintain your shape and provide you more energy to enjoy your life at work or play. Losing unwanted body fat is easy when you train smart.