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     Fitness Tips For 1/16/2008
Running For Fat Loss
by Josh Clark

As fat-loss exercises go, running is right at the top. Although 
you may hear that lower-intensity exercises such as walking and 
jogging are better for fat-burning, it's not entirely the case. 
It is true that the proportion of fat to carbohydrates burned is 
higher with low-intensity exercise - the same is true for 
sitting in front of your computer right now. But high-intensity 
exercise, like running, burns more total calories per minute 
(and marginally more per mile), including a higher absolute 
number of fat calories.

That said, this does not mean that you should necessarily do 
heavy, intense sprinting to burn the most fat. It's the law of 
diminishing returns. As you increase the intensity of your 
workout to maximum effort, your body uses fewer and fewer 
calories of fat and more from carbohydrate-supplied glycogen. 
This is because it's easier for your body to convert glycogen 
into energy - when your body works at peak effort it seeks 
energy from the most efficient source. So the key is finding 
the right balance: an exercise level that is sufficiently 
intense to burn more calories, but not so intense that you 
stop burning fat altogether.

To burn this fat most efficiently, it is ideal to run for at 
least forty minutes per session. While you burn mainly 
carbohydrates in the first minutes of your run, your body 
switches to fat as its primary fuel after about 30 minutes.

The key is managing the intensity of your workout. When your 
running becomes very labored, you're not burning much fat. 
If you can keep up an easy comfortable pace for 40 minutes, 
that's ideal. If 40 minutes is a stretch for you, or if you 
start becoming very tired, take frequent breaks of brisk 
walking. You will burn more fat with three of these 
40-minute workouts a week than you will with six 
20-minute workouts.

Over time, too, as your body becomes more and more 
accustomed to exercise, your muscles become trained to 
use more fat as fuel, rather than carbohydrates. Because 
muscle feeds on fat, it becomes a snowball effect: the 
higher your percentage of muscle, he more fat you burn all 
day long. Keep in mind that as you lose fat, you may not 
necessarily lose by the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat. 

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