Fat loss can be confusing. There are numerous experts saying this and that. However, one thing that really gets to me as a coach, is the run or walk question for fat loss. Have you heard that walking at a certain speed is more conducive to fat burning? If you have been trying to lose weight i am assuming you have heard this. Well yeah it’s true. Walking at a certain heart rate burns about 1 to 5 percent more fat than when you are running. However, you burn many more calories from running than you do from walking. The harder something is to do, the more calories you will burn. But these calories come from fat and muscle tissue. It’s common sense really.
For example, let’s say you burn 50 calories walking for 45 minutes at the optimum fat burning speed and 150 calories running for 45 minutes. Therefore, you burn 55 percent of your calories from fat and the rest from carbohydrates or muscle tissue. 55 percent of 50 would equal to roughly 28 calories burned from fat.
Now, let’s look at running. Instead of walking for 45 minutes you run at a good pace for 45 minutes breaking into a good sweat. Therefore, you burn 150 calories. If you only burn 50 percent of your calories from fat, that would be 75 calories of fat you burned in 45 minutes. So that’s 55% of fat burned walking or 50% of fat burned working harder running.
To illustrate the point, let’s look at marathon runners in comparison to sprinters. Which body would you prefer? firm and toned or shapeless and soft? Marathon runners all seem to have slim but soft bodies. It is rare to see any marathon runners with distinct stomach muscles.
However, when you look at Olympic sprinters in the 100 yard dash, they all seem to be cut and ripped with distinctive stomach muscles. Why? Because long distance runners try to preserve their energy for the long haul, whereas sprinters give all their effort in around 10 seconds.
If you only have 45 minutes to do your cardio training, would you rather train like a marathon runner or a sprinter? Or let me put it this way do you want to burn the most fat or the least fat?