The Truth About Heart Rate Level and the Fat Burning Zone

If you are looking for the truth about heart rate level and the fat burning zone, you may be surprised.  Then again, you may not.

It is commonly believed that if you train at a certain heart rate (typically 60% – 65% of your maximum heart rate or MHR) you can burn lots of fat if you stay in that so-called “fat burning zone” as opposed to a cardio zone of 80% MHR or so.  People often watch their heart rate monitor to stay within that heart rate zone for as long as they can, even an entire workout, in order to maximize their fat loss.

There are some truths to this but there are some other things that you should know.  Instead of throwing all sorts of technical reasons and mathematical equations at you, lets look at it as simply as possible.

In the fat burning zone (compared to the cardio zone):

  • your total calories burned is lower
  • your percentage of fat calories burned is higher
  • you may be able to workout longer

In the cardio zone (compared to the fat burning zone):

  • your total calories burned is higher
  • your percentage of fat calories burned is lower
  • you may tire out more quickly

In other words, you burn a higher percentage of fat in the fat burning zone, but since you burn so many more calories in the cardio zone, the amount of fat you burn there might be just as much or more than in the fat burning zone.

Here’s the simple truth about heart rate and fat burning and working in these two zones.  They are both great.  Work them both into your routine if you are capable.  At 60% MHR, walking is beneficial for you.  So is a jog at 80% MHR, if you are capable of this.  As long as you know how to lose a pound, the total calories burned in either of these workouts can be simply figured into your day to insure that you are burning the correct number of calories.  If you do that, you will be in control of your weight and you can stop worrying about whether or not you should train in the fat burning zone or the cardio zone.

Just pick one and work out.

Remember, the fat burning zone does exist and your percentage of fat burned there is higher. However, because you burn many more total calories in the cardio zone, it may not matter. Both lower intensity and higher intensity exercises are good for you, so it’s all good. Whichever heart rate zone you choose, watch you total calories to control your weight. That’s the truth about heart rate level and the fat burning zone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *