What Is The Best Heart Rate Zone To Burn Fat
Wearable technology has taken over the fitness industry over the last few years, and people are using this technology daily to track various fitness metrics. One popular metric is heart rate tracking. Entire fitness franchises have been built on HR tracking and staying in the infamous fat burning zone. But what actually is the best heart rate zone for burning fat?
First, lets define the different heart rate zones. We can categorize different heart rate zones based off a percentage of your maximum heart rate. Your max heart rate is the greatest number of beats per minute your heart can possibly reach during all-out strenuous exercise. To find your estimated maximum heart rate, we use a formula called the Fox Formula, 220 age = Maximum Heart Rate . For example, if you are 45 years old then, 220-45 = 175 estimated maximum heart rate. Using this data, we can then establish different heart rate zones based off of a percentage of our estimated maximum heart rate.
The optimal heart rate zone for burning fat is generally considered to be around 70% of your maximum heart rate. Above youll see a chart defining the 6 different heart rate zones based off of a percentage of your MHR and the goal associated with each HR Zone.
While the fat burning zone isnt the most useful for losing weight, it is extremely important in building endurance, aiding with recovery, and also improving cardiovascular health. Think longevity.
Dont Obsess Over The Fat
People and gym equipment alike love the term fat-burning zone because it makes everything seem so easy. Work out in that desired zone for a while and bam, youre back in your high school-era jeans! The reality, of course, isnt quite so simple.
Heart rate can can guide your workouts to be more efficient, ultimately helping you burn more calories and lose weight.
Heart rate can be a valuable indicator of how hard youre working during exercise, but there are many other factors that can affect weight loss, says NASM-certified personal trainer Anthony Baugh. If used correctly, it can guide your workouts to be more efficient, ultimately helping you burn more calories and lose weight. But, Baugh says, the fat-burning zone people talk about isnt one size fits all.
Generally speaking, when youre working out, youre within one of five HR zones:
What Is The Best Heart Rate To Build Muscle
Working out at 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate will help you enhance your aerobic fitness level over time. This will help you to increase endurance and lean muscle, which will be useful for activities such as long-distance running or cycling. It is also beneficial to your overall cardiovascular health.
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Whats The Difference Between A Fat
Your different heart rate zones are determined by the percentage of your maximum heart rate. If you’re exercising too close to your maximum heart rate, this could place an unhealthy strain on you.
Knowing the difference between fat-burning heart rate and cardio heart rate can help you understand how much you should push yourself in different exercises. Reaching your target heart rate zones more efficiently then helps improve your cardiovascular health.
The different exercise heart rate zones are based on training levels connected to your maximum heart rate. Your heart rate can be broken down into three zones:
Lower-intensity zone. This zone is when you’re working at 50% to 60% of your maximum heart rate. In this zone, you’re burning fewer calories, but you can sustain this rate for longer.
Fat-burning zone. Also called the temperate zone, you’re using 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate when exercising at this intensity. Typically, about 65% of the calories you burn in this zone are from fat.
Aerobic zone. This is the highest level of intensity. You’re using about 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate. At this heart rate, only 45% of your burning calories are fat. However, you’re burning more calories than you are in the other two zones. While you’re not burning the maximum amount of fat calories, you’re improving your overall health. You’re likely not able to sustain the aerobic heart rate for long periods of time.
What Are The Types Of Heart Rates
Heart rates vary depending on several factors, including:
Different types of heart rates include:
- Resting heart rate: Measured when you are at rest and should be between 60-100 bpm.
- Target heart rate: Measured during exercise and is calculated as 50%-85% of your maximum heart rate. Different types of target heart rate zones include:
- Lower-intensity zone: Working out at 50%-60% of your maximum heart rate.
- Temperate zone: Working out at 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate.
- Aerobic zone: Working out at 70%-80% of maximum heart rate.
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Calculating Your Target Heart Rate For Fat Loss
Everyone has a resting heart rate , which is the number of times your heart beats per minute while youre resting. The average adults RHR is 60-100 bpm, but it may be as low as 40 for athletes .
It can be affected by several factors, including stress, hormones, anxiety, medication, and physical activity. A higher RHR is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and a lower life expectancy .
Figuring out your heart rate is as simple as counting your pulse for 15 seconds and multiplying that number by four. For example, if you count 25 pulses in 15 seconds and multiply that by 4, your heart rate is 100 bpm. The best places to find your pulse include:
- Inside the wrist
- Top of the foot
- Inside the elbow
Once you find that number, youll be able to figure out your fat-burning heart rate zone. But, before you commit to reaching that number with a new exercise routine, talk with a healthcare provider if you are on medications or have a chronic health condition. These factors can alter your fat-loss target heart rate.
How To Work Out Your Maximum Heart Rate
This would be a pretty pointless article if you went away knowing what training zones to work in but not being able to calculate them. Although theres a small amount of maths involved here, its quite a simple process and well worth persevering with.
There are a few different ways to work out your maximum heart rate but the simplest is to minus your age from 220. For example if you were 27 years old your MHR would be 193 beats per minute . Its as simple as that.
Whilst its only a guide, its the most recognised method and is usually pretty accurate.
The next stage is to work out the different percentages. So for example, if you wanted to work at 60% of your maximum youd take your MHR and multiply it by 0.6. If you wanted to work out 85% youd times it by 0.85 and so on. If we take our 27 year old as an example:
- 193 x 0.6 = 116 beats per minute
- 193 x 0.85 = 164 beats per minute
From there you can create specific zones to suit your needs. With the example above, the exerciser would train between 116 and 164 beats per minute to optimize fat loss as a beginner, and above 164 if they were more advanced.
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Why Is Target Heart Rate Important
Your heart is like a tachometer for your body. Metaphorically encircling this gauge are five heart rate zones, the low end of which reflects very light activity , explains Trevor Thieme, CSCS, director of fitness and nutrition content for Openfit.
At the highest RPMs you approach your maximum heart rate. The more work youre able to do at the upper reaches of this level, the more efficiently youre able to utilize your bodys cardiorespiratory and metabolic processes to perform activity.
Somewhere in the middle of all this is your target heart rate, which fluctuates depending on your goal and your level of fitness.
Using a target heart rate is usually the easiest and most accurate way to gauge intensity compared to other methods, because how much you sweat or how hard you think youre working are very subjective, says San Diego-based trainer Matt Pippin, CSCS. However high or low, your heart rate is trackable and leaves nothing to debate.
Fat Burning Heart Rate: Can You Exercise At A Certain Intensity To Burn Maximum Fat
How hard should you exercise for maximum fat burn and how can you determine the answer using heart rate data?
Working out at a certain intensity can lead to high levels of fat burn, and you can calculate this using your heart rate.
The overview of the process goes like this: you need energy to perform, energy is stored in your body as fats and carbohydrates, low to moderate-intensity exercise is fuelled by fat, while high-intensity exercise is supported by carbs.
Youre constantly burning fat for energy, but fat can be burnt at a higher rate if the intensity of your activity increases. However, if you increase the intensity of exercise too much, your body will switch from fat to carb burn, so theres a sweet spot if your goal is to burn maximum fat.
Of course, this is quite simplified , but you get the picture.
In general, your heart rate increases as the intensity of your workout gets higher, so in theory you can calculate when your body is burning the most fat based on how many beats per minute your heart is pumping at. How can you make sense of the data?
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Heart Rate Zone For Weight Loss
However, the percentage of fat youre burning relative to carbohydrates is not what determines weight loss. As stated above, the less active you are, the more fat you burn in relation to carbs.
Obviously being inactive isnt the way to go to lose weight. Your body requires less energy and burns less fuel as activity decreases, so the fat burned is just a larger percentage of a smaller number.
We all know exercise promotes weight loss, and what you have to do is burn calories.
Intense Heart Rate Zone
This zone feels like when your PT tells you to push through the last 30 seconds of your 3 rounds of HIIT!
In this zone, youre working out at about 90 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Youll probably only be able to stand this zone for a few minutes. Your bodys respiratory and blood system will be working as hard as possible, and youll be panting and unable to talk.
Doing interval training in this zone will make it easier for your body to burn both carbs and fat. Youll also continue to burn calories after the workout is over, and your metabolism will temporarily increase.
If youre new to exercising or havent done much high-intensity workouts, you might find that you cant handle this intensity at all. So its important to listen to your body and take it easy.
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What Is A Cardio Heart Rate
The more you work out, the more you build stamina, and the more you can push yourself to reach a higher cardio heart rate. This is when your heart rate reaches the aerobic level, which pushes your heart rate toward a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate.
Once you can comfortably reach your cardio heart rate, your heart is getting stronger. Cardio exercise is excellent for your heart and metabolic health. Cardio can help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
So The Numbers Matter
Its helpful to have a constant indicator of how hard youre actually working since some days a hard effort feels easy and other days a literal walk in the park feels like a marathon. But despite the allure of the so-called fat-burning zone, youll probably want to add at least a few high-intensity workouts to your weekly routine.
When youre exercising at a low intensity, you may burn fat, but you stop burning anything as soon as youre finished working out. But when you up the ante say with a HIIT-style boot-camp class or interval run or ride you create whats known as the afterburn effect.
The afterburn effect is the metabolic disturbance that burns calories even after your workout is over.
The afterburn effect, also known as EPOC is the metabolic disturbance that burns calories even after your workout is over. .
And in this case, science has your back. A study by Dr. Christopher Scott at the University of Southern Maine looked at the total calorie burn of low-intensity exercise vs. high-intensity exercise and found that the difference in calorie burn was substantial. The low-intensity group that cycled at a steady rate burned 29 calories in 3.5 minutes, while a group running 15-second sprints only burned four calories.
Getting into the higher zones is probably more effective for weight loss.
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It Sounds Obvious But What Is A Fat
Your target heart rate is the number of times your heart should beat per minute to ensure your heart is getting exercise without being overworked. Sticking with that rate also means youre moving at a pace thatll promote calorie burning and help you lose weight.
Fat-burning heart rate is a bit of a misnomer, though.
Your body will burn fat or carbohydrates for energy during physical activity, depending on how hard youre working. Exercising at a moderate pace, with your heart rate slightly elevated, burns more calories from fat. Crank it up to a vigorous, heart-pounding pace and your body eventually switches to burning more calories from carbs.
Staying in the fat-burning zone might sound like your best bet if youre trying to lose weight. But the fact is, it doesnt matter if the cals you burn through exercise come from fat or carbs. You just need to burn calories, period.
So, what heart rate should you target to ensure youre working hard enough to reap the benefits of exercise? For weight loss and overall health, you need to exercise at a moderate pace for at least 150 minutes per week or a vigorous pace for at least 75 minutes per week.
- To exercise at a moderate pace, aim for 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
- To exercise at a vigorous pace, aim for 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.
What Are The Signs Of Muscle Growth
Finding Out If Youre Putting On Muscle
- Youre gaining a lot of pounds. Tracking changes in your body weight is one of the most straightforward methods to determine whether or not your efforts are bearing fruit. Your clothes are tailored differently. Youre putting together some muscle.
- Your muscles have taken on a swole appearance
- Your body composition has shifted.
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Start Slow And Improve Over Time
Of course, increasing the intensity of your workout and pushing your heart rate over the 70 percent mark will increase the calories you burn. However, if you’re new to an exercise regimen this isn’t a good idea. The American Heart Association suggests those just starting to exercise should aim for 50 percent of their heart rate max and slowly, over a few weeks, increase that rate. Starting too fast can lead to discouragement, an early burnout or injury. Take it slow at first and focus on making consistent gains.
The Truth Of The Fat Burning Zone Theory
This theory argues that the body burns a greater percentage of fat with lower-intensity exercises than at higher intensities because the body does not require fast energy from glycogen.
As such, this theory promotes longer and lower-intensity cardio workouts that maintain your heart rate within the fat burning zone.
However, that is a bit of a misconception. While it is true that the body burns fat during low-intensity workouts, the fat burning rate remains low and you have to exercise longer to burn the same amount of calories you would at higher intensities.
In a high-intensity workout, although your body uses your glycogen stores first for fast energy, it depletes the glycogen stores rapidly enough to force your body to tap on the fat storage.
This means that high-intensity workouts are more efficient in burning way more total calories both glycogen and fat calories.
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Finding Your Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate can help you to determine how fit you already are or aren’t! The lower your heart rate is when you are doing nothing, the more physically fit you are. A high heart rate can put you at risk of various types of heart disease.
To find your resting heart rate, find a watch or clock that has a second hand. Before you get out of bed in the morning, find your pulse either on your wrist or on the side of your neck using your index and middle finger. Dont use your thumb. Count how many beats you feel in 10 seconds, then multiply this by 6. For example, if you count10 beats in 10 seconds, 10X6 = 48 beats per minute . This is your resting heart rate.