How To Determine Your Fat Burning Zone
This article was co-authored by Claudia Carberry, RD, MS. Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010. This article has been viewed 305,142 times.
The fat-burning zone is defined as the activity level at which your body is burning primarily fat for energy.XResearch source When exercising in your fat-burning zone, about 50% of the calories burned come from fat. At higher intensity exercises only about 40% of the calories burned come from fat.XResearch source If weight loss is the goal of your workout, then finding your fat-burning zone and maintaining your workout in that zone may maximize the amount of fat you burn.XResearch source The fat-burning zone is different for everybody, but can be helpful when you’re working out to help you adjust the intensity of your workout based on your heart rate.
Eating Fewer Calories To Lose Weight
The best way to create a caloric deficit is to eat fewer calories than your body needs to sustain itself. You need to do this with a balanced diet.
Everything you do, from breathing to searching your big toe, requires energy in the form of calories. We all need a certain amount of calories each day to provide that energy. It changes depending on our weight, age, gender, and activity level. Go here to find out what your daily maintenance calorie level is.
Now that you know what your maintenance level is, you should reduce it by 250 calories per day to create a negative calorie balance.
How To Calculate Your Ideal Fat
Figuring out your target heart rate is easy and takes just a few steps. Grab a calculator and lets get started.
To see if youre within your target heart rate range when youre working out, take a quick break to check your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply that number by 4.
How To Maintain Weight: Healthy Nutrition And Weight Management
Understanding your fitness level and limitations is critical to developing a successful workout routine to keep you in the fat-burning zone. Switching it up between low and high-intensity workouts can keep you motivated, burn more calories, and help you achieve your healthy weight goals.
Workouts That Get You In The Zone
Which types of exercise will help you achieve your target heart rate so you can torch serious calories and get closer to your weight-loss goals? You’ve got plenty of options, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:
Moderate exercise: 50 to 70 percent of your MHR
- Walking at 4 mph
- Playing badminton
- Playing tennis singles
- Playing soccer or basketball
Either a moderate- or vigorous-intensity workout will lead to calorie burn. But since vigorous workouts are harder, they enable you to burn more calories in less time. You can burn a lot of calories at a moderate pace too â you’ll just need to extend the length of your workout, Richards says.
For instance, a 150-pound person will burn around 660 calories jogging at a fairly vigorous pace of 5.5 mph for an hour. To burn the same number of calories walking at a moderate pace, the person would need to walk for close to two hours, according to the AHA.
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Effectiveness Of Targeting Fat
While a fat-burning heart rate sounds like an appealing way to lose weight, it’s not the only consideration. You can think of weight loss in simple terms of total caloric intake minus calories burned.
Caloric intake depends mainly on the consumption of macronutrients, like fat, carbohydrates, protein, and more. These contain variable amounts of calories per gram, ranging from 49 calories/gram.
Fiber also plays a role in caloric intake, since insoluble fiber is not absorbed.
Furthermore, studies have taken into consideration the role of the “gut microbiome” in weight loss and metabolism, as well as the number of health conditions a person has.
How Do You Achieve This
This can be done in a variety of ways that suit everyone, walking, jogging, dancing, running, even gardening , the main thing is that you maintain the pace that you do to stay within the zone for it to be effective over a period of time say 30 mins.
One of the other main ways of doing this is by resistance training, this can be with body weight, resistance bands, TRX workouts at home or in a gym setting dumbbells, barbells or machine workouts. The more you can increase the intensity the better you will maintain the fat burning zone.
If you need help with your training and would like some guidance take a look at my online coaching options to see what way we can work together to get you achieving your own fitness goals.
The Mayo Clinic is a great source of information that you can check yourself too as another reference check it out.
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How To Calculate Your Fat Burning Heart Rate
There are 2 simple steps to figuring out a rough estimation of your fat burning heart rate.
Maximum heart rate
The first thing you have to figure out is your maximum heart rate. The maximum amount of beats per minute your heart can handle without shutting down.
You can get an estimation for your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate would be about 170 beats per minute. The actual number is highly dependent on your activity levels and other factors.
The supposed best heart rate to burn fat
The fat burning heart rate is between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Again for the example of a 50 year old person that would come down to between 85 and 119 beats per minute.
This specific number known as the fat-burning zone is a thing because at that heart rate you burn the most amount of fat during your exercise. Its the tipping point between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. When you start going over this rate your body starts to use energy from other sources like for example glycogen.
Walking To Lose Weight
The second best way to lose weight is to enhance your daily negative calorie balance by exercising to burn calories. Walking is not the most effective form of calories in terms of calories burned per minute. But it is one of the safest forms of exercise you can do.
The key to successful weight loss is consistency. That makes safe exercise like walking very valuable. There is no point, after all, in doing high-intensity sprinting workouts for a couple of weeks and then pulling a hamstring and not being able to exercise for the next six months.
A better strategy is to use a moderate-intensity form of exercise that is sustainable.
Lets now analyze a few numbers
- To lose a pound of body fat, you have got to lose 3500 calories
- You will lose around 90 calories from a mile of walking
- A mile of walking is about the same as 2000 steps
- It will take about 20 minutes to walk a mile at an average pace
Those numbers are averages based on my analysis of several dozen of my personal training students. The average age of these people was 45 years of age.
Walking for weight loss has extra health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, improving mental health, and strengthening the lower body muscles.
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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.
Other Ways To Burn Fat
Aside from exercise, there are other things you can do to burn fat and minimize weight gain, including:
- Eating a well-balanced dietHigh-protein foods and high-fiber fruits and vegetables may help you feel fuller longer, thereby reducing body fat .
- Getting plenty of sleepNot getting enough shuteye may make it harder to lose weight .
- Consuming healthy fatsOlive oil, nuts, coconut oil, and avocados may be associated with long-term weight loss .
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Do Calculations Differ For Women And Men
Womens and mens hearts respond a little differently to exercise, so there are slightly different calculations to find the precise target heart rate for women versus men.
But experts say those variations are only really useful for elite athletes who are looking to get super specific. Casual exercisers can stick to using the same basic target heart rate calculation.
Dont feel like pulling out the calculator or want to check the math you just did? Heres a general idea of what your target heart rate should look like for moderate or vigorous exercise, based on your age.
If youre not into crunching numbers, youve got other options for figuring out whether youre moving at the right intensity.
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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Achieving The Ideal Heart Rate To Burn Fat
The best workouts to maintain the fat-burning heart rate may vary from person to person. Try to monitor your heart rate during different activities to see where you are then go from there.
For fat burning, its best to stick with moderate activity. To gauge this, try the talk test, which is where you try to talk during your exercise. If you cant talk, youre likely working at vigorous levels. If youre slightly out of breath but can still maintain a conversation, youre probably working at moderate levels and may be in your fat-burning zone.
Here are some exercises that can help you reach your fat-burning zone:
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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The Fat Burning Heart Rate Zone
Heart rate zones are percentages based on your maximum heart rate. The exact number for optimal fat burning heart rate will be different for every individual based on their age, gender and even fitness level.
Your maximum heart rate is simply the maximum number of times your heart can beat per minute , and there are a couple of different ways you can determine your own .
Once you know your max heart rate you can calculate your heart rate zones, which in turn can be used to determine the intensity of a given workout.
There are five agreed-on heart rate zones you can train at:
All zones fall between your resting heart rate and your max heart rate.
When loss of body fat is the primary objective, exercise that optimizes metabolism of fat is a great tool.
Based on lab data, it has been established that the body metabolises the greatest amount of fat while exercising between 67.6-87.1 percent of maximal heart rate, which means your fat burning heart rate falls anywhere between those two percentiles.
What Does This Number Mean
This calculator is based on the Karvonen Formula. It calculates a heart rate that can help you burn fat, while also staying within your target zone for cardiovascular exercise. The idea behind this range is to keep your heart rate between 60% and 80% of MHR . The fat burning zone is a range of heart rates that can help you burn more fat. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you are losing during this time period.
We all know how important it is to eat healthy and exercise regularly, but it can be difficult to figure out what your specific health goals are. This fat burning zone calculator will help you get started on the right track.
In addition to targeting higher heart rates during workouts, it’s important to remember that the fat burning zone will work for those who are looking to lose weight or maintain their current weight. You can use this range of heart rates as a way to stay within your target zone during cardiovascular exercise and burn more fat when youre working out!
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Whats The Best Heart Rate For Weight Loss
Maintaining a target heart rate somewhere between 50 and 85 percent of your MHR during exercise is the ideal for weight loss. But sticking with a higher percentage means you’re working harder, which ultimately burns more calories, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
But what about that 70-percent target heart rate that supposedly keeps you in the fat-burning zone?
In truth it doesn’t matter whether your body burns calories from fat or carbohydrates during exercise. What matters is that you burn calories, period. And you’ll actually burn more calories when you exercise at a more vigorous intensity with a higher heart rate, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Ultimately, “you’re always burning a mixture of carbs and fat,” explains Cathy Richards, ACSM-certified exercise physiologist. “If you are working extremely hard, you would be able to burn a very high number of total calories per minute.”
That’s not to say you have to go all-out the entire time for every single sweat session in order to lose weight. Far from it.
“I’m a fan of using anywhere within 60 to 85 percent max heart rate for as long as you can go and mixing things up. Some days you could do lower intensity for longer and other days you could do higher intensity for shorter,” Richards says.
Curious exactly how many calories you burn during your workouts? for a more accurate and customized estimate.