When you lace up those sneakers and head out for a run, knowing you’re burning off some fat can help push you mile after mile. To know how to train your body to burn more fat, you need to understand how you to fuel during exercise. Any time you work out, your body uses fat and carbohydrates to fuel your muscles. Exercises at a lower intensity, such as walking, mainly burn fat. As you increase your intensity, you burn less fat and more carbohydrates. Yet that does not mean you should slow down your run.
Even though the energy percentage from fat decreases as your intensity increases, you still burn more total fat this way than with an easier workout. While your heart rate exceeds the traditional fat-burning zone, running at a higher intensity turns your body into a fat-burning machine, according to Dr. Jason Karp on Ideafit.com. This is because the rate of energy expenditure is more important than the percent of energy derived from fat. The highest rate of fat use during exercise happens when you are working out at a hard aerobic intensity.
According to Dr. Karp, interval training is one way to increase your body’s ability to burn fat. By creating a workout that has four 10-minute intervals where you run at 90 percent of your VO2max, followed by a two-minute rest, your body will increase its ability to burn fat. Aim to do this workout seven times over two weeks.
Ninety percent of your VO2max is 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate. A general way to determine your maximum heart rate is subtracting your age in years from 220.
Not only do high-intensity workouts burn more calories in the same amount of time as a low-intensity workout, they also provide an increase in your post-workout metabolic rate. This means you will burn more calories, even after your run, than if you had simply jogged. More calories burned equals more fat burned.
If you run long enough, from one-and-a-half to two hours, your muscles exhaust their internal carbohydrate sources. When carbohydrates are no longer available, your muscles break down fat for fuel. A long run is another way to train your body to burn more fat. The more frequently you train your body with long runs, the more effective your muscles become at using fat for fuel.