Why You Should Forget About The Fat
The first and biggest problem with the idea of the fat-burning zone, is that the amount of fat you burn during a workout isnt all that important when it comes to long-term fat loss.
When you burn more fat and less carbs during a workout, you just burn less fat and more carbs later in the day, and vice versa. This is because your body calibrates how much body fat and carbohydrate you burn over a 24-hour period so that you burn the same amount of each over time regardless of what you burn during your workouts.
For example, whether you burn 400 calories during an intense 30-minute run, with most of those calories coming from carbs, or 400 calories from a leisurely 90-minute walk, with most of those calories coming from fat, youll burn about the same amount of body fat at the end of the day.
In other words, how much fat you lose in response to a cardio workout depends on how much it contributes to a calorie deficit, not how much fat you burn during the workout.
The second problem with the idea of the fat-burning zone is the way most people implement this concept.
Specifically, they often hold themselves back in their training, thinking that relatively easy workouts are superior to moderate or high-intensity workouts because it keeps them in the fat-burning zone. As you learned a moment ago, though, youre still burning mostly fat up to about 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate, which most people would consider a moderate- to fairly high-intensity workout.
Target Heart Rate For Weight Loss: Does More Mean Less
Originally published January 23, 2018 5:55 pm, updated March 18, 2022
If your goal is to lose weight, there are a handful of ways to make that happen. While adjusting your diet is key, adding exercise will help make your goals a reality. But theres a huge difference between a 20-minute walk-and-talk with your friends and a two-hour brick workout. Both can be effective but how do you know whats really getting you where you want to go? What should be your target heart rate for weight loss?
If youre wearing a heart rate monitor, itll be much easier to tell if youre working out in the target heart rate for weight loss. Data doesnt lie, so consider your monitor your best workout buddy .
Here are three things to keep in mind when youre exercising to lose weight.
How The Fat Burning Zone Works
Your body gets most of its fuel by burning a combination of fat and carbohydrates. The more active you are, the greater percentage of carbs it burns as opposed to fat. Why is this the case?
Carbohydrates are a less dense form of energy than fats, which makes them easier to break down. When the intensity level of your exercise increases, your heart rate rises and your body needs energy more quickly, so it turns to the source that can be accessed faster.
For this reason, lower intensity workouts burn a higher percentage of fat compared to carbs than higher intensity efforts do. That is why the heart rate zone for burning fat is also categorized in the chart above as light exertion level. The 70% of max HR number comes from it being strenuous enough exercise to burn fuel, but not too strenuous to burn carbs instead of fat.
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Ways To Measure Your Heart Rate
If youre now thinking about measuring your heart rate to see how effectively youre burning fat, there are a number of ways in which you can do so, with many of them thanks to modern technology:
Fat Burning Heart Rate
You might have seen the “fat burning zone” written on treadmills, cycle ergometers, ellipses and other equipment. Have you ever wondered where does comes from? Well, we have the answer for you! The fat burning zone is simply the range of heart rates that is ideal for fat loss. It can be calculated as a 60-80% of your maximal heart rate.
If you want to find out more about other heart rate zones, check out the target heart rate calculator.
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Best Heart Rate Zone For Fat Loss
Youll burn fat at every exercise heart rate zone. If youre just starting to exercise, aim for the lower-intensity heart rate zone. As you build stamina, push yourself into the next zone until youre comfortably at the aerobic level. Thats your heart getting stronger.
Cardio exercise is designed primarily to improve heart and metabolic health, says Travers. It helps lower youre:
For fat loss, he recommends strength training to build muscle. Having more muscle mass boosts your metabolic rate , helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
If you havent been active before, then cardiovascular exercise will help with weight loss in the beginning. But at some point, youll become aerobically fit, Travers notes. Then you wont use as much energy to complete the same amount of exercise, so youll stop seeing significant weight loss.
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.
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Heart Rate Zones The Basics
You shouldnt compare yourself to other peoples heart rates. Heart rates can vary by up to 20 bpm between two people.
Training heart rate describes the heart rate you have at any given time during exercise. If you always train with slightly different heart rate zones, you will improve your overall fitness much more effectively.
It therefore makes sense to know or calculate your maximum heart rate .
The zones at a glance:
Heart rate zone 1 very easy: 50-60% of maximum heart rate. Ideal for strengthening the cardiovascular system.
Heart rate zone 2 easy: 60-70% of maximum heart rate. In this area, the body uses fat as a source of energy. The cardiovascular system is also trained.
Heart Rate Zone 3 Moderate: 70-80% of maximum heart rate. When producing energy, the body uses both carbohydrates and fats. The cardiovascular system, the lungs and the metabolism are optimized.
Heart rate zone 4 hard: 80-90% of maximum heart rate. For ambitious athletes who want to improve their resistance to stress, for example through interval training. As a health-conscious athlete, you should only stay in this area for a short time.
Heart rate zone 5 very hard: 90%+ of maximum heart rate. Competition or really short interval training at running. Only for advanced and pro athletes.
How Do I Find My Target Heart Rate
To find your target heart rate zone, you first have to know your max heart rate. The simplest way to determine that is to subtract your age from 220. That number is a general guideline for your max heart rate. Then multiply that number times the percentage listed in the exercise heart rate zone you want to be in.
For example, a 40-year-old woman has a max heart rate of 180 beats per minute . To exercise in the lower-intensity zone, multiply 180 times 50% or 60%. The target heart rate would range from 90 to 108 for a low-intensity workout.
Some exercise machines like treadmills automatically track your heart rate for you. But you can also track it yourself by wearing a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker.
What heart rate is too high?
Anything over your max heart rate is unsafe. But its also about duration, says Travers. You can do short bursts in a higher, more intense heart rate zone. Overall, though, its best to spend longer periods in a zone below your max heart rate.
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How Can I Measure My Heart Rate
There are plenty of different ways to measure your heart rate:
- Pretty much everyone knows how to check a pulse, and while this basic method can be effective, there are much more accurate methods available. You can also take your pulse at any time in the free Health Mate app. Learn how here: Take Your Pulse Like a Pro.
- A heart-rate tracker worn on the wrist, like the Nokia Steel HR, is great for anyone who wants to monitor their heart rate. By tracking your heart rate trends throughout the day and night, you can gain a holistic understanding of your bodys heart rate. And by engaging the continuous heart rate option during workouts, you can assess fitness.
- Another optionprobably best suited to professional athletesare chest strap monitors. Although they are sometimes considered to be more accurate than wristband heart rate trackers, a recent study indicates that wristband monitors may provide a comparable level of accuracy.
Losing Weight With Your Target Heart Rate
Anyone who wants to lose weight should understand how their body uses energy. Personal trainer and author Paige Waehner explains that carbohydrates and fat are the bodys main fuel for exercise.
These energy sources will be used differently depending on the type of exercise being performed. For example, high-intensity workouts like HIIT, cardio training, and jogging rely on carbs more than fat. In contrast, the body relies more on fat during low-intensity workouts like yoga, tai chi, or walking.
Calorie intake also plays an important role in losing weight, especially in fat-burning workouts. Most people understand that you need to reduce calorie intake or increase calorie burning in order to shed pounds. But how many calories should you aim to burn in order to see results?
According to Mayo Clinic, a loss of 3,500 calories equates to losing one pound. Spreading this out over time cutting out 500 to 1,000 calories per week can help you lose weight in a steady, healthy way.
In addition to using your target heart rate for weight loss and watching your calorie intake, factors such as fitness level, age, gender, muscle mass, and diet all play a role in a persons ability to lose fat, says Dr. Neal Malik. He suggests mixing up your workout routine with a combination of low-intensity and high-intensity physical activity in order to reach your ideal weight loss goals.
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Your Heart Rate Training Zone
The target heart rate is a range that is a percentage of your maximum heart rate. This heart rate range indicates how fast your heart should beat during cardiovascular exercise. Knowing the heart rate range that you should be exercising in, helps you to ensure that you are exercising hard enough for weight loss.To burn as many calories from fat as possible try to perform longer duration exercises at a moderate to high intensity. Basically step the intensity up to as high a level you are able to sustain for 30 60 minutes this is YOUR training zone. Generally, this tends to be 60% 80% of your maximum heart rate. If you have not exercised for a while, it is a good idea to start with a moderate intensity and increase it, as you get stronger and increasingly more fit. If you are fit, interval training, can be a very effective method of exercising to maximize fat loss.
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Anaerobic Heart Rate Zones
Anaerobic exercise requires even more intense effort than aerobic exercise. Exercising at 80%-90% of your maximum heart rate for a short period of time is considered anaerobic. One of the best ways to engage in anaerobic exercise is through interval training or high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT.
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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:
Fat Burning Zone Calculator
Endurance training increases exercise-induced prostacyclin release in young, healthy men–relationship with VO2max.The effects of training on heart rate a longitudinal study.Quantifying differences in the “fat burning” zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training.
The fat burning zone calculator estimates your target heart rate for the greatest amount of fat loss . Keeping your heart rate in those values will allow you to maximize your body’s ability to lose weight and burn fat while exercising.
Do you want to know how many calories you burn during training? Check our calories burned calculator!
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Healthy Heart Rate Zone
The healthy heart rate zone is 50 percent to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is an easy and comfortable zone to exercise in. Its considered to be the lower end of the moderate-intensity zone. You will be able to carry on a full conversation in this zone, although you may be breathing a little heavier than usual. Your workout in this zone is less intense and wont give the most cardiorespiratory training benefits. But studies have shown that it works to help decrease body fat, blood pressure, and cholesterol. In this zone, the body derives its energy by burning 10 percent carbohydrates, 5 percent protein, and 85 percent fat. Walkers are often in this zone unless they press themselves to walk faster. If you exercise in higher heart rate zones, taking a healthy walk in this zone is a good way to enjoy an easy recovery day while still being active.
Fat Burning Versus Cardio Exercise: Which Is The Best
Individuals often exercise to lose weight, build muscle, keep fit and tone their bodies. However, how fast or slow you lose weight depends on the type and intensity of exercise, diet, and other factors, including your sleep and stress levels.
The general rule in weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. This is often done by creating a calorie deficit. To lose weight, you need to increase your physical activity and reduce your calorie intake.
Heart rate is a measure of how intensely your heart is working helps determine the intensity of physical activity. When you exercise at high intensity, you prompt your heart to beat faster to circulate more oxygen to oxidize different energy sources. Therefore, it is only natural that individuals trying to lose weight will try to exercise at an intensity that keeps their heart rate within the fat-burning zone.
According to the American Council on Exercise, a heart rate that improves cardiovascular fitness falls between 55 to 80% of the maximum heart rate. Athletes and individuals trying to lose weight may benefit more from working out at higher intensities. Note that your maximum heart rate depends on age, as your heart starts to beat slower as you age.
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