Target Heart Rate Zone to Burn Fat

Your target heart rate is the desired range of heart rate during exercise. When exercising, it’s important to understand what your ideal target heart rate is so your heart and lungs will receive the maximum benefits of a successful workout.

Your target heart rate depends on many factors such as: individual physical condition, gender, health, and previous training.

When exercising, your heart rate should be within your own, personal range at all times. When burning fat, your target heart rate should remain in a lower range, which enables the body to take up enough oxygen so the cells utilize stored fat.  If your workout is within a higher target heart rate, you will burn more calories but those will first come from carbohydrates instead of fat.

To properly calculate your target heart rate follow these steps:

  1. To do this subtract your age from 220 to find out your maximum heart rate, so if a person is 30 years old then:
    Maximum heart rate..   220 – 30 = 190 beats per minute
  2. Then multiply your maximum heart rate by 65%:
    190 x 65% = 123.5 beats per minute
    123 beats per minute will be the lower range of the zone.
  3. Now work out your higher range by multiplying your maximum heart rate by 85%:
    190 x 85% = 161.5 beats per minute The example reveals a target heart rate of 123 – 161


However, don’t be fooled into believing that there is such a thing as a “target fat burning heart rate zone”. This is a popular myth, but there is no actual truth in it. Keeping your heart between 55 and 65% maximum intensity WILL NOT cause you to burn fat faster.

The reasoning behind this myth is based off the fact that lower-intensity aerobic exercise activates fatty acids and oxygen, while high intensity anaerobic exercise activates muscle glycogen. While this is true, performing high intensity aerobic exercise is also a good way to burn fat. Getting your heart rate above 75% can actually be more effective for burning fat.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a highly-effective fat-burning training method, one that involves raising your heart rate as high as 95% MaxHR. With this training method, you jog or walk (low intensity exercise) for 1 to 2 minutes, then sprint at full speed (high intensity exercise) for 30 seconds. The low intensity interval activates fatty acids and oxygen, which are then burned effectively during the high-intensity bursts. The result is more effective fat burning, and better cardiovascular exercise.

The beauty of this high intensity exercise is that it keeps burning fat and glycogen (blood sugar) even after the workout is over. While the metabolic effects of low intensity exercise only remain for 1 to 4 minutes after your workout, they will continue for up to 2 or 3 HOURS after you finish a high intensity workout. This means that you burn more fat and calories even after your workout is done. The result is faster weight loss, but more specifically, better fat burning.

Low intensity exercise like jogging and slow cycling can definitely be easier, but why go easy? Instead, push yourself to the max, and you’ll find that the fat-burning effects are much more noticeable!

Note: You can check your pulse by:

  • gently place your index and middle finger on the inner part of your wrist
  • count how many beats in 10 seconds
  • multiply the number by 6

Or, you can use an automatic heart rate monitor so you can concentrate more on exercising effectively to burn more fat.

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