FATMAX: What Is It? Is This A ZONE? How Do I Find It?

Knowing your FatMax zone will enable you to train your fat oxidation and boost your endurance performance whether you like Cycling, Running, Swimming or ANY Endurance Event.

We will discuss everything you need to know about this metric: FATMAX and how to apply it!

Let's start with what it is: WHAT IS FATMAX

As quoted from INSCYD: FatMax is the maximum amount of fat that an athlete can “burn” per hour. It is often expressed in energy (kcal) per hour. FatMax is also a training intensity: the intensity at which you burn the highest amount of fat.

The FatMax can differ vastly from one athlete to another. Important factors that together have a huge influence on the FatMax are: VO2max, VLamax and body composition.

When looking at an individual athlete, the fat burning rate (or better: fat oxidation rate) depends on the exercise intensity.

  • At low intensities you will not burn a lot of fat, since you don’t burn that much energy at all.

  • When intensity increases, fat oxidation increases as well. But only up to a point (= FatMax).

  • At very high intensities, you will not burn any fat.

As a result, you get a concave (upward; n-shaped) parabola:

AWESOME! Now we know what it is --- let's hear WHY FATMAX IS IMPORTANT:

INSCYD: In endurance sports like (marathon) running, triathlons, open water swimming and cycling, a high FatMax is associated with a high performance. That is because using fat as a fuel saves carbohydrate stores (glycogen).

Saving carbohydrate stores ensures you don’t run out of glycogen unnecessarily fast. That is a good thing, since once you do run out of glycogen, fatigue will develop quickly. In other words: burning more fat during endurance events delays fatigue.

Watch the video from INSCYD founder to learn more about fat and carbohydrate combustion:

Even better! Now, how can YOU DETERMINE YOUR FATMAX

Knowing the importance of FatMax and the fact that the maximal fat metabolism is highly individual, leaves us with the question: how can you determine FatMax? Luckily with Optimize Performance and INSCYD, the determination of FatMax is done via a FatMax test that we can provide you REGARDLESS of your location!

When using the INSCYD software through testing with Optimize Performance, you have multiple options when it comes to testing. You can do a lactate (field) test, a lab test, a test that only requires power (cycling) or GPS (running), or a combination of the above. All tests will give you an accurate FatMax and FatMax intensity.

Athletes can easily perform a (remote) FatMax test by reaching out to Optimize Performance, REGARDLESS of your location!

So, I've done the test, now what is the FATMAX ZONE

After performing an exercise test, Optimize Performance (through INSCYD) creates your individual fat combustion graph. You now know exactly how much fat you burn at any given exercise intensity. You also know your FatMax (kcal/h) and FatMax intensity (e.g., speed or pace in running and swimming; power in cycling).

The green line shows the fat combustion rate. The FatMax is 504 kcal/h (y-axis) and occurs at a FatMax intensity of 214 watt (x-axis). The vertical shaded zone is the FatMax zone (+/- 10% of FatMax intensity).

We can also provide the athlete with an individual FatMax training zone. This training zones is +/- 10% of the FatMax intensity. Ride/run/swim/exercise in this FatMax zone and you are sure you’ll burn the most fat. Knowing the FatMax zone allows you to train fat combustion more efficiently.


Contact Optimize Performance to increase FatMax by training!

Contact us to gain the three most important rules to follow for increasing fat oxidation rates. We will discuss both the training aspect as the nutrition aspect. As INSCYD puts it - No pseudoscience – just clear physiological facts…steeped in science.

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