When most people say the want to lose weight, they actually mean they want to lose fat. They often turn to exercise in hopes of burning fat and losing inches off their body. That desire has prompted a good amount of exercise research examining methods for enhancing fat burning. Many of you may have heard of the “Fat Burning Zone”, a zone of training intensity that burns more fat than carbohydrate. At low intensities (such as walking), the body uses primarily fat for energy, but walking doesn’t burn very many calories. Higher intensity exercise like running, burns more calories but mainly from carbohydrates.
Now…side note….weight loss is primary driven by diet, not exercise. Exercise can contribute but it takes a great deal of exercise time, at the right intensity, to have a measurable impact. Long-term weight management is very much impacted by exercise so consistent habits are very much advised. Our goal is simply to make exercise a little more effective at helping clients lose weight.
Enter incline training! I did some research on fat utilization during incline walking a number of years ago and made a fairly substantial finding that has impacted both exercise habits and exercise physiology. It turns out that the body can use fat for energy at high intensities as long as the speed is slow.
Incline walking represents a high intense activity (at inclines of 25% heart rates can climb as high as very fast running on flat ground) but the speed is slow enough to allow the body to process fat for energy. I found that 18-25% inclines at walking speeds of 2-3 mph is a great way to increase fat utilization, burn a high number of calories, and increase cardiovascular fitness all at the same time. Props to FreeMotion Fitness for the advent of the incline trainer with inclines up to 30%. Take advantage of this capability if you are able and include incline walking as useful tool in your weight loss efforts!
If you need help with how to correctly do the incline training or you would like some more exercise techniques make sure to fill out the form below for your FREE fitness assessment.