Difference between Fat Burning and Cardio

Keeping a healthy lifestyle may be difficult for many people because of their hectic, demanding schedules. Nonetheless, maintaining physical fitness is crucial in the modern world. But obviously not everyone is a fitness nut. Yet, it's never too late to start working out or altering your diet. Not a single person enjoys being overweight. You'll need to go out of your comfort zone and into a regular exercise routine if you want to see a change. Aerobic activities, combined with fat-burning and cardiovascular routines, are a fantastic approach to shed some pounds.

Expert fitness coaches frequently make reference to the two zones while discussing cardio workouts. These are the fat-burning zone and the cardiovascular training zone, respectively (cardio training zone). There has been a lot of back and forth over the years over which zone is best for weight loss and why. All of them come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let's compare the two pursuits to see where they diverge in terms of effort and results.

What is Fat-Burning Workout?

Exercises designated as "fat-burning" are those that keep your heart rate in the "fat-burning zone," as the term implies. Regular participants should expect a heart rate between 50 and 70 percent of their maximum during the workout (MHR). These routines are light in both intensity and effort.

Intense enough to have a beneficial effect on your body and challenging enough to burn a considerable number of calories, this is an ideal zone for beginners seeking to eliminate body fat. Also, fat-burning workouts are less taxing, so most individuals can practise them without going to extremes.

A greater proportion of fat is burned in this zone, thus the name. Squats, lunges, push-ups, thrusts, twists, chest presses, shoulder presses, seated rows, and so on are some of the most popular and effective fat-burning workouts.

What is Cardio Workout?

Doing exercise at an intensity that keeps your heart rate between 70 and 85 percent of your maximal heart rate is considered to be in the cardio zone, also known as the aerobic zone. Compared to a fat-burning workout, the effort required for these activities is substantially higher.

In order to improve aerobic fitness, a cardio workout should be supplemented with a diet consisting of roughly half fat and half carbohydrates. Lower heart rate cardio burns a much larger proportion of fat than faster heart rate cardio burns a lower percentage of glucose.

While you're in the cardio zone, your heart gets a good workout and you burn calories and fat. Higher intensity training results in increased calorie expenditure and lower lactic acid production. Jogging, jumping rope, step touches, jumping lunges, jumping squats, the crab plank, the speed skater lunge, and countless other exercises are all examples of cardio.

Differences: Fat-Burning and Cardio Workout

The following table highlights the major differences between Fat-Burning and Cardio workout −


Fat-Burning Workout

Cardio Workout

MHR -Maximum Heart Rate

The fat-burning zone and the cardio zone are the two categories into which most cardiovascular training routines may be placed.

The fat-burning zone is a training zone in which your heart rate is between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum during exercise, with the goal of reducing body fat (MHR).

When you're working out at an intensity that keeps your heart rate at 70–85% of your MHR, you're in the cardio zone, also called the aerobic zone.


Low-intensity cardio workouts, often known as fat-burning exercises, are those that get the job done without overtaxing the body.

At this sweet spot, you may burn just as many calories in a shorter amount of time as you would with a high-intensity workout, and you won't feel too fatigued afterward.

Cardio workouts are a type of high-intensity interval training in which the participant works at a significantly greater intensity for longer periods of time.

If you want to get the most out of your cardio workouts, you should plan on devoting at least 30 minutes to them.


Fat-burning activities are those that keep the heart rate in the fat-burning zone such that more fat is burned during low-intensity training than during high-intensity workouts.

This is the sweet spot for shedding unwanted pounds elsewhere on the body, notably the hips, stomach, buttocks, etc.

Cardio exercises aim to improve general bodily function rather than just target fat loss.

This is the sweet spot for increasing cardiovascular and respiratory endurance.


For people who are overweight, fat-burning workouts are highly recommended.

Squats, lunges, push-ups, thrusts, twists, chest presses, shoulder presses, seated rows, etc. are all examples of popular fat-burning activities.

The anaerobic threshold may be raised by doing cardio, and most cardio activities use a 50/50 fat/carbohydrate fuel ratio.

Aerobic exercises such as running, jumping rope, step touches, jump lunges, jump squats, the crab plank, the speed skater lunge, etc. are all examples of popular cardio routines.


The difference between fat burning and cardio lies in the intensity and duration of the exercise, as well as the specific energy systems that are being targeted. Fat burning is moderate-intensity, steady-state exercise that targets the body's fat stores for energy, while cardio is high-intensity, short-duration exercise that is designed to improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Both types of exercises can be beneficial for overall health and fitness, and it is important to incorporate both into a well-rounded fitness routine. Additionally, exercise should be combined with a healthy diet for optimal results.

Updated on: 26-Apr-2023


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