Guest blog: Chriss Tinslay on the myth of the fat burning zone.

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Each Friday on the blog, we are lucky to have a guest post from a leading expert in weight loss, exercise, diet and motivation. In this week’s blog, we have one of Australia’s leading Personal Trainer’s Chriss Tinslay, with over 20 years experience in the industry. Today she is discussing the myth of the fat burning zone.

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Have you ever seen a fancy coloured chart printed on the cardio equipment at your local gym? A chart that tells you all about what intensity you should train at to burn the most fat.

The chart tells you to keep your heart rate in the low to medium zone in order to burn more body fat.

These charts have been around since the 80′s and unfortunately there are still some around today.

I say unfortunately because they create confusion and misinformation to the average gym goer.


I can certainly see how the myth started.

When you train at a lower intensity, you burn a higher percentage of fat.  Around 80% of the energy you burn will come from fat and the other 20% will come from sugar.

“Yay.  80% from fat ! Sign me up for that”. Says Louise on the treadmill. “Doesn’t seem to make much sense, but who am I to argue ? Not to mention the fact that it’s much easier than really exerting myself”.

Louise was right when she assumed that it doesn’t seem to make much sense. That’s because it doesn’t.


Let’s look at what actually happens

Louise trains for 1 hour at a low – medium intensity.

She burns approx 300 calories. 80% comes from fat and 20% comes from sugar.

Louise has burnt

240 calories from fat

60 calories from sugar


Along comes Heidi.

Heidi didn’t get the memo about doing an easy workout. She trains for one hour and really puts some intensity in. Heidi feels great at the end of her workout. She has a real sense of accomplishment and lots of exercise endorphins running throughout her body.

Heidi has burnt approximately 500 calories in her workout.

However because she trained at a higher intensity, only 60% of those come from fat and 40% from sugar.

Ha! Louise is looking at Heidi with a smug look on her face. “Heidi only burnt 60% from fat”, she thinks to herself. All that effort and she didn’t even burn as much fat as me.

Let’s take a closer look.

Heidi has burnt

300 calories from fat

200 calories from sugar

As you can see Heidi has burnt more fat than Louise, not to mention the fact that she also burnt more calories from sugar. If you don’t burn all of this, it turns to fat anyway.

Now who has the last laugh?

But wait, there’s more..

The benefits of Heidi’s high intensity training session don’t stop there. Heidi has also increased her fitness level because she trained outside of her comfortable zone.

AND And Heidi will continue to burn extra fat and calories AFTER her session thanks to EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption).

Louise maintained her current fitness level, but probably did not increase it and most of the benefits of her workout stop when she does.


I have written you a free manual on High Intensity Interval Training, including 7 workouts you can do TODAY. You can download it here. Or download my ebook on 20 fat loss mistakes here.

About the author – Christine Tinslay

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With almost 20 years experience, Chriss Tinslay is one of Australia’s leading Personal Trainers.
Chriss fell into the fitness and personal training industry almost by accident back in 1994, starting as a receptionist at the local gym she attended and loved.
She never looked back. Thriving in the role and going on to become qualified and registered as a Master Trainer with Fitness Australia. Chriss has now helped 1000′s of people transform their bodies and lives.

She has appeared in the biggest loser DVD series, Mornings with Kerri-Anne and has written her first short book “20 fat loss mistakes and how to avoid them”.
Knowing that exercise is only one aspect of health and fat loss, Chriss now runs regular fat loss workshops, both online and off, teaching people how to look and feel their BEST, without it taking over their whole lives.

When Chriss is not working, you can find her hanging out with her husband Adam and their beautiful daughter Holly. She loves walking her dog Timmy, reading, listening to daggy 80′s music and networking with other like minded business women.

I believe that fitness and fat loss should fit into your life, NOT the other way around. It should be fun and fulfilling, not about struggle and sacrifice and pain.
If you don’t feel AWESOME at the end of your session – you are doing it all wrong”.

Connect with Chriss:

Website – | Facebook



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