March 13, 2014 3 min read

I'm constantly amazed at the frenetic pace of Heston's life. As a chef and owner of 4 different restaurants including his three Michelin starred The Fat Duck, Bray (voted #1 restaurant in the world), running his business empire, and fulfilling his TV and media commitments as well as developing new dishes and working on books, TV projects etc. means his day is a blur of activity. I don't know anyone whose life is as busy as his, yet he still manages to carve out a little time during the day to focus on his fitness and health. Given Heston's schedule, whoever says that their work/lifestyle stops them from getting into shape, is seriously kidding themselves.

Heston came to see me with a specific goal in mind. He wanted to strip off body fat and retain as much lean muscle as possible. Unfortunately, his lifestyle makes structured training impossible, as he's often dragged away at the last minute and has to fit his training in whenever he can. Before he came to see me, he was focussing on high intensity intervals to maximise his calorie burn. It was old-school theory that if "hard is good", then "hardest must be best".

Your body is a smart piece of machinery and it responds to a specific stimulus. This is a fancy way of saying that it get's good at what it does. So if you do a lot of high intensity intervals, you're going to get better and better at doing these intervals over time. Unfortunately, high intensity training requires carbohydrate to fuel the body's energy demands. The rate of energy production is just too high to be supplied from burning fat. So, by constantly doing high intensity intervals, Heston was training his body to be really good at burning carbs and really poor at burning fat, which was why he couldn't get lean. To lose body fat, you have to burn body fat!


Heston fat burn Aug 2012


After doing a VO2max exercise test, I identified Heston’s maximum fat burning heart rate zone as 115-121 bpm (beats per minute) and the point where he stopped burning any fat at 132 bpm. Heston had been training way over 132 bpm and whilst he was working very hard, this meant he was not burning an ounce of fat. He had an undeveloped aerobic profile and he had to seriously back off his high intensity intervals and focus on “developing base” and training his body to burn fat as a fuel instead of carbs.

Heston’s new cardio training regime consisted of low/moderate jogging and keeping his heart rate between 115-121 bpm. Athletes call this aerobic base building and all endurance athletes spend the winter months doing long, steady state training to develop their aerobic base. One of the benefits of base building is that it trains the body to get better at burning fat and although we’re not athletes, we all want to look good and get a six pack. I was monitoring Heston’s training remotely using Trainsmart app to make sure he stuck to his guns. This involved Heston uploading his training sessions into Trainsmart Interactive via his heart rate monitor.

After 6 months training, we did a metabolic re-test (image below). Heston’s fat burning range has now shifted higher up his heart rate curve, which means he can run faster and burn maximum fat at 135-145 bpm, whereas previously he stopped burning fat at 132 bpm. He has lost 7kg in fat and looks and feels great. This is a fantastic result and shows the results you can achieve with focussed training and hard work.


Heston fat burn Feb 2013


Great job Heston! 

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