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How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs

by
author image Lisa M. Wolfe
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.
How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
Walking at a brisk pace uses fat for fuel. Photo Credit Rafal Olkis/iStock/Getty Images

Carbohydrates have become the focus of many conversations, diets and workout programs. These small fuel sources, contain large amounts of power. Carbs are the quick-burning energy source for activities such as sprinting, underwater swimming and jumping in the air. These activities usually last less than two minutes. Although your body uses both fat and carbohydrates, the concentration can sway between one and the other. The body switches to using predominantly fat as fuel when your exercise is at a light to moderate level and lasts for 10 minutes or longer.

Step 1

How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
Choose aerobic exercises that use your large muscle groups. Photo Credit mediaphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Select aerobic exercises that use your large muscle groups and are rhythmic and continuous in nature. For example, choose exercises such as walking, dancing, swimming, cycling, skating, rowing or stair climbing.

Step 2

How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
Make sure you warm up prior to exercising. Photo Credit Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

After a five- to 10-minute warmup at a low pace, increase your workout speed to a level that leaves you slightly breathless but able to carry on a conversation. When you can talk, you know that adequate oxygen is coming in so that fat is burned as fuel. If you cannot talk, your oxygen intake is low and your body shifts to using carbohydrates for fuel.

Step 3

How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
Measure your workout intensity level by heart rate. Photo Credit ViktorCap/iStock/Getty Images

Measure your workout intensity level by heart rate to remain in the light to moderate range so you are guaranteed to burn fat as fuel. Subtract your age from 220 and multiply the result by 0.60 and 0.80. These numbers represent your exercise target heart rate.

Step 4

How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
You can monitor your pulse when exercising. Photo Credit Maridav/iStock/Getty Images

Monitor your pulse by placing your first two fingers on the side of your neck, or on the underside of your wrist nearest to your thumb. Count the beats you feel in 10 seconds and multiply the result by six. Compare your pulse to your calculated target heart rate.

Step 5

How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
Increase your pace if you're below your targeted pulse. Photo Credit Estudi M6/iStock/Getty Images

Increase your workout pace if you are below your targeted pulse. Decrease your workout pace if you are above your target heart rate.

Step 6

How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
Exercise at a steady state for at least 20 to 30 minutes to burn fat calories. Photo Credit ERproductions Ltd/Blend Images/Getty Images

Exercise at a steady state, within your target heart rate range, for at least 20 to 30 minutes to burn fat calories.

Step 7

How to Get Your Body to Burn Fat Instead of Carbs
Cool down at the end of your workout. Photo Credit Maridav/iStock/Getty Images

Cool down at the end of your workout with three to five minutes at a slow pace.

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