Review Your Time In Heart Rate Zones
At the end of your workout, click on the exercise tileon your Fitbit app dashboard to view a summary of your workout. In addition to seeing exercise duration, calories burned, and average heart rate, youll also be able to see how much time you spent in each of your three heart rate zones and how your heart rate fluctuated over the course of your workout.
If your heart rate information seems offtoo high or too low based on how hard you felt like you were workingand you know you were wearing your tracker correctly , you may need to set custom heart rate zones.
Heart rate tracking is helpful in the;short termit helps you evaluate your workout and see what, if anything, you should do differently;next timebut its also valuable over time. The more you work out with heart rate, the more youll also be able to track patterns in your fitness programlike if youre spending too much or too little time at any particular exercise intensity. The result? You hit your goals faster and with less risk of injury or overtraining. Go, you.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.
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 University of Southern Maine study 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.
But when it came to the afterburn, the cycling group only burned an additional 39 calories, while the runners burned 65. The cycling group worked out almost five times longer than the sprinters, and the sprinters burned 95 percent of their calories after the workout was complete.
Know Your Heart Rate Zones
Youve probably noticed that after logging a workout, your Fitbit app shows you a colorful graph depicting how much time you spent in;three heart rate zones. Knowing a little bit about how these zones were created can help you make the most of them.
Target heart rate zones are calculated using maximum heart ratethe highest number of times your heart can safely beat in one minute. To keep things simple, Fitbit uses the common formula of 220 minus your age;to estimate your maximum heart rate. So a 35-year-old would have a max heart rate of 185 .
If your birthday is entered into your Fitbit account profile, then the app will default to this formula to calculate your max heart rate. However if you already know your max heart rate or want to target a specific number, you can click Account on your Fitbit app dashboard, choose HR Zones, and then turn on Custom Max Heart Rate, and fill in a custom max heart rate there.
Once Fitbit knows your max heart rate, it will create three simplified zones for you. Each one represents an intensity levelor percentage of your max heart ratethat taps into a different energy system in the body, producing specific results. Heres a breakdown:
PeakIntensity: Vigorous Benefit: Increases performance speed
Intensity: Hard Benefit: Builds cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength
Fat BurnIntensity: Moderate Benefit: Builds aerobic endurance and teaches the body to burn fat as fuel
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Should You Track Your Heart Rate During Workouts
When this metric can be usefuland when just getting your pulse pounding is enough.
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With fitness trackers and smartwatches keeping track of your pulse throughout the day, you may have gathered that heart rate could be a valuable health metric to keep tabs on. But what does it mean to train by heart rate? Whats BPM? And how does this all affect your health?
For some people, heart rate is just another data point to skim over. It can also be used to make your workouts more effective. We talked to experts to find out what you should know about heart rate and how it may help you achieve your fitness goals faster.
Checking Your Heart Rate
What happens when you hit this target while youre working out?
To know whether you hit this, you will either need to manually check your heart rate or wear some sort of heart rate monitor. Just know that each of these have their pluses and minuses.
For example, when youre calculating your own heart rate by checking your pulse, the first beat you hear or feel isnt counted. The second beat is actually the first one you count. Then you need to keep counting beats for at least 15 seconds. Once you have done that, multiply the number you get by 4. That will you give you your heart rate in beats per minute. If youre not great at checking your own pulse, this will lead to some errors.
If youre using a heart rate monitor, they must be worn properly to ensure accuracy.
Im trying to point out that tracking heart rate may lead to some accuracy issues. If we cant accurately track our heart rate, then we really dont know for sure if we achieved our target.
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Ways To Measure Your Heart Rate
If you’re now thinking about measuring your heart rate to see how effectively you’re burning fat, there are a number of ways in which you can do so, with many of them thanks to modern technology:
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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.
Nail Every Workout With Target Heart Rate Zones
Now that your heart rate zones are set and you know what they mean, you can work out at the right intensity again.
Using your Fitbit tracker, start a workout as you normally would. As you begin moving, no matter which PurePulse-enabled tracker you own, youll see a visual representation of your zones.For instance, in the picture above;the heart is in; the cardio zone. Want to work on speed? Pick up the pace. Looking to blast fat? Ease up to drop back into your Fat Burn zone. When you adjust your pace on the fly, your Fitbit tracker responds instantly.
If you see the outline of a heart but no dashes, your heart rate is below 50 percent of your max, meaning youre not in a zone. And thats totally ok! If you want to get a cardiovascular boost, just increase your intensity. Here are four ways to upgrade your walk to a workout.
Heart rate reading seem off? Follow these guidelines to increase PurePulse accuracy.
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Traditional Thinking About Fat Burning
I still remember, I was taking my first Exercise Physiology class in graduate school. We had just spent 2 weeks discussing all of the crazy metabolic pathways how the body burns certain nutrients at different intensities and heart rates and why all of this happens.
Then at the end of those 2 weeks, when I felt like I finally understood everything, my professor asked the class: So, why would it be incorrect for you to force a client to stay in their fat burning heart rate zone when exercising? I was like, Wait, didnt we just spend the past 2 weeks discussing why this was a good idea?
Luckily, my professor didnt call on me because that probably would have been my response well, that or a blank stare.
Instead, one of the brightest people in my entire graduate program spoke up and said, Well, its misleading because the body will ultimately determine whether to burn fat or not and this isnt based on just exercise intensity or heart rate. Its based on a bunch of things. The body will burn calories when exercising, but ultimately decides where to pull those calories from. It could be fat or it could be something else.
My professor responded with one word: Exactly. I nodded in agreement just so I looked like I knew what was going on, but I didnt. My face mustve looked like Joey Tribbianis from Friends when the gang was talking about the PBS special on the history of Korea nodding in agreement but secretly panicking on the inside.
Squeeze In More Sleep
Going to bed a bit earlier or setting your alarm clock a little later can help boost fat burning and prevent weight gain.
Several studies have found an association between getting enough sleep and weight loss.
One study of 68,183 women showed that those who slept five or fewer hours per night over a period of 16 years were more likely to gain weight than those who slept for longer than seven hours per night .
Another study showed that better sleep quality and getting at least seven hours of sleep per night increased the likelihood of successful weight loss by 33% in 245 women enrolled in a six-month weight loss program .
Other research shows that a lack of sleep may contribute to alterations in hunger hormones, increased appetite and a higher risk of obesity .
Although everyone needs a different amount of sleep, most studies have found that getting at least seven hours of sleep per night is associated with the most benefits when it comes to body weight.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule, limit your intake of caffeine and minimize your use of electronic devices before bed to help support a healthy sleep cycle.
Summary Getting enough sleep may be associated with decreased appetite and hunger, as well as a lower risk of weight gain.
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The Fat Burning Zone Has No Afterburn Effect
When you exercise at low exercise intensities, you burn very few calories after the exercise is completed. When you exercise intensely such as during a HIIT workout, there is a metabolic disturbance that burns calories after the workout is completed. This is known as the afterburn effect.
Estimates of the afterburn effect vary wildly depending on the exercise method, the intensity of the workout, and even how its measured.
In a study by Dr. Christopher Scott and the University of Southern Maine, the total calorie burn of low intensity exercise vs. high intensity exercise was examined. A low intensity exercise group cycled at a steady rate of 3.5 minutes. The higher intensity exercise group required three 15 second sprints as fast as the subjects could run.
What was the difference in calorie burn? Quite substantial.
The cycling group burned 29 calories vs. 4 calories for the sprinting group during the exercise. But when you take into account the calories burned after exercise, or the afterburn effect, the numbers look much different 39 calories burned for the cycling group vs. 65 calories burned for the sprinting group. A surprising 95% of the total calorie burn occurred after the sprinting exercise!2 Keep in mind the cycling group exercised for almost 5x longer than the sprint group .
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Eat More Healthy Fats
Although it may seem counterintuitive, increasing your intake of healthy fats may actually help prevent weight gain and help you maintain feelings of fullness.
Fat takes a while to digest and can help slow the emptying of the stomach, which can reduce appetite and hunger .
One study found that following a Mediterranean diet rich in healthy fats from olive oil and nuts was associated with a lower risk of weight gain compared to a low-fat diet .
Another small study found that when people on a weight loss diet took two tablespoons of coconut oil daily, they lost more belly fat than those who were given soybean oil .
Meanwhile, unhealthy types of fat like trans fats have been shown to increase body fat, waist circumference and belly fat in human and animal studies .
Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are just a few examples of healthy types of fat that may have beneficial effects on fat burning.
However, keep in mind that healthy fat is still high in calories, so moderate how much you consume. Instead of eating more fat overall, try swapping the unhealthy fats in your diet for these healthy fat varieties.
Summary Fat is digested slowly, so eating it can help reduce appetite. A higher intake of healthy fats is associated with a lower risk of weight gain and decreased belly fat.
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