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# Thread: What is best heart rate for losing fat?

1. ## What is best heart rate for losing fat?

I have always seen the charts that show Fat burning Zone 140BPM and then the higher level is Cardio Zone 170BPM. My friend says I should stay in Fat burning zone to lose most fat, but that just goes against my natural thinking, I would figure the faster your heart rate, the more calories burned?

I am looking to lose as much fat as possible as quickly as possible.

I am looking for some expert advice on the subject...Thanks

2. This might be bro science. I am not sure if it is or not. This is what I was told.

You should perform your cardio at anywhere from 75-85% of your Max heart rate. This is achieved by subtracting your age from 220 and then multiplying by .75-.85. This is your target heart rate for your cardio.

3. When you are in the fat burning heart rate, you burn approx. 66% fat calories compared to the 30something you burn when you are at heart rates above 65% percent of your max heart rate. So in a 30 min cardio work out for example, you would be burning more calories if you have a high heart rate (maybe even more fat calories) but the percentage you burn is less.
That is what I read in some book, not sure how reliable the info is.

4. Get yourself above 80% of maximum. You're 31, which gives theoretical max of 189 (let's call it 190). 80% of that is only 152 beats/minute. If your heart rate isn't at least 152, you aren't exercising, you're taking a stroll with your Aunt Suzie. Seriously. Even when I had let myself get into very bad cardio shape a few years ago by only doing cardio once every few months, during a very rare cardio session I would keep it above 175bpm for 30-40 minutes.

The people who say do 55-60% of MHR are passing on mythology. Yes, you burn a higher percentage from fat at that low rate, but you also burn far less calories total than at a more challenging clip. Total calories is where it's at. Think about this for a theoretic 30 minutes cardio session: burn 350 calories and have 60% be from bodyfat or burn 800 calories and have 40% be from fat. Do the math. Which is better off?

Besides, if you're going at a hard pace, within 30 minutes, you'll have gone through pretty much all the glycogen in your muscles, which means a lot more fat being burned after that point, no matter what the pace. Go at a very hard pace and your metabolic rate will be up for a long time afterward. You'll burn more calories sitting on the couch 1, 2, 4 hours later and so on. Go at the measly 55% MHR (105 in your case) and your metabolic rate is back to normal almost immediately after you're done.

Go for at least 80% of MHR unless you're an old man with heart disease or are severely obese and thus out of shape.

5. >80%

6. Originally Posted by Jeffrowns
I have always seen the charts that show Fat burning Zone 140BPM and then the higher level is Cardio Zone 170BPM. My friend says I should stay in Fat burning zone to lose most fat, but that just goes against my natural thinking, I would figure the faster your heart rate, the more calories burned?

I am looking to lose as much fat as possible as quickly as possible.

I am looking for some expert advice on the subject...Thanks
anything from walking to moderate intensity (like "easy" jogging) is the best at fat burning.

if you really want to burn fat i would recommend doing it fasted, it seems to work best for me.

high intensity cardio is largely glycogen dependent, if you can't hold a conversation because you're so out of breath and you feel like you're gonna die, you've hit that zone. i'd say 140-160bpm is a good heart rate. your body can only breakdown fat so fast and you need to stay under high intensity unless you want to start burning muscle with fat. it's true the faster your heart rate the more calories burned but the idea here is to burn those calories in fat, not muscle.

7. Most info will tell you 65-75% of your maximum heart rate, for aerobic (fat loss zone). Above 80%, and you are training anaerobic (conditioning zone). Above 80% has it's benefits, one being that you'll notice having a bigger boost of energy throughout the day.

Also, there are studies that show fat loss being something like 60%-70% more effective if you do cardio after waking before your first meal, due to the depletion of carbs to use as fuel (body is forced to use more fat to burn for energy).

There are also claims that >80% Max BPM still burns more overall fat, and that the ancillary benefits outweigh training in the lower ranges.

Either way, I'd say if you're >70% and training before breakfast, you're going to see the results. I dropped 20lbs doing only cardio (no weight training, which I highly discourage now that I know better) in a matter of 6 weeks of just dieting and 3 days/wk -30 min. of cardio in this range.

8. The fat burning target zone..I think on most machine falls around up to 70% of your max heart rate.
I know personally at that level I am not working very hard..especially at the lower ends (40-60%)

When you are at rest your body burns fatty acids for fuel...fatty acids provide slow long term energy
so I think these charts get this messed up...when you are working at a low aerobic level your body
can meet the energy demands by using primarily fatty acids for energy.

when you increase the intensity you start making the switch to using carbs... so according to the charts
you are not in the "fat burning zone" but you are using up energy which in terms of losing weight..if you are
using up more energy than you are taking in you will lose weight...

9. Discussions regarding invididual metabolic pathways taken out of context of the whole are pointless. Just because you burn glycogen now rather than fat makes no difference in the long term - glycogen needs to be restored and in the presence of a net calorie defecit, the balance WILL come from fat stores directly or indirectly.

I strongly recommend anyone interested in this to watch Layne Nortons video on cardio in his blog.

10. Originally Posted by Jeffrowns
I have always seen the charts that show Fat burning Zone 140BPM and then the higher level is Cardio Zone 170BPM. My friend says I should stay in Fat burning zone to lose most fat, but that just goes against my natural thinking, I would figure the faster your heart rate, the more calories burned?

I am looking to lose as much fat as possible as quickly as possible.

I am looking for some expert advice on the subject...Thanks

Hey Jeff, glad to help you out. Im an Exercise Physiologist and specialist regarding how the body responds to exercise physiologically. Yes people use Max HR which is 220-Age which is an ESTIMATION of your Max heart rate, not your TRUE heart rate. They say to go between 60-90% of that as an appropriate exercise prescription for Cardiovascular activity. If you are trying to burn fat, aim for bouts of at least 10 minutes and try to accumulate 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. See the thing I dislike about the treadmill and these Zones it is super general and inaccurate, they try to classify everyone into one big group and those values can actually be way off. Most people are into Interval training and thats a respectable way of losing weight, you will have increased time to fatigue and burn more calories

1) If your looking to burn fat the fastest way possible from exercise I can tell you,it is probably better to do a submax or max v02 test before hand which will tell you your max HR and your Vo2 Max. Why? Because after you know your real Max Heart rate u'll know what range to be at, so you take those values and do what is called Vo2 Reserve and Heart rate reserve formula, thats THE ZONE to train in that won't kill you the next day from over exertion ,gives the GREATEST effects for your fat loss. Remember You cant test what you cant measure. This is hardcore but you can do this yourself if you want more info...

2) Most of your calories per day is burnt from your RMR- Resting metabolic rate (70%) and is the most important factor to losing weight, #2 is physical activity and #3 is the thermic effect of food.
So basically what do you do once your done at the gym, is your work more sedentary or more active? How much do you approximatly eat on a daily basis. Ideally you want a net defict of energy reduction of -500 kcals/day = 3,500 kcals per week

Good question, feel free to add me to friends list, i'm on facebook and ask me any questions. Thanks

Dan

NSCA- Strength and Conditioning Specialist
CSEP- Exercise Physiologist

11. Originally Posted by frankenstein
get yourself above 80% of maximum. You're 31, which gives theoretical max of 189 (let's call it 190). 80% of that is only 152 beats/minute. If your heart rate isn't at least 152, you aren't exercising, you're taking a stroll with your aunt suzie. Seriously. Even when i had let myself get into very bad cardio shape a few years ago by only doing cardio once every few months, during a very rare cardio session i would keep it above 175bpm for 30-40 minutes.

The people who say do 55-60% of mhr are passing on mythology. Yes, you burn a higher percentage from fat at that low rate, but you also burn far less calories total than at a more challenging clip. Total calories is where it's at. Think about this for a theoretic 30 minutes cardio session: Burn 350 calories and have 60% be from bodyfat or burn 800 calories and have 40% be from fat. Do the math. Which is better off?

Besides, if you're going at a hard pace, within 30 minutes, you'll have gone through pretty much all the glycogen in your muscles, which means a lot more fat being burned after that point, no matter what the pace. Go at a very hard pace and your metabolic rate will be up for a long time afterward. You'll burn more calories sitting on the couch 1, 2, 4 hours later and so on. Go at the measly 55% mhr (105 in your case) and your metabolic rate is back to normal almost immediately after you're done.

Go for at least 80% of mhr unless you're an old man with heart disease or are severely obese and thus out of shape.
good facts

12. I am looking to lose as much fat as possible as quickly as possible.

13. ## Thanks

This really helps out a lot. Now I just need to get heart rate monitor

This really helps out a lot. Now I just need to get heart rate monitor
Ugh, no you don't, the "fat burning zone" is a crock

Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch
Discussions regarding invididual metabolic pathways taken out of context of the whole are pointless. Just because you burn glycogen now rather than fat makes no difference in the long term - glycogen needs to be restored and in the presence of a net calorie defecit, the balance WILL come from fat stores directly or indirectly.

I strongly recommend anyone interested in this to watch Layne Nortons video on cardio in his blog.

Calories in vs. calories out is the first and last word in fat loss.

15. Originally Posted by Jeffrowns
I have always seen the charts that show Fat burning Zone 140BPM and then the higher level is Cardio Zone 170BPM. My friend says I should stay in Fat burning zone to lose most fat, but that just goes against my natural thinking, I would figure the faster your heart rate, the more calories burned?

I am looking to lose as much fat as possible as quickly as possible.

I am looking for some expert advice on the subject...Thanks
Make sure you are watching enough HORROR movies because that too burns more calories than watching some thriller/comedy (kidding, but you can do this to burn more calories). The best way to lose weight is to start hitting the gym and forget about your heart rate and do the exercises. If you keep doing the math everytime, then you might not see any results. So make sure that you start going to the gym. First off, when you start exercising, make sure you start with warm-up and then cardio so that you take a head start with enough intensity in your overall workout. Also make sure that you do a 15-20min cardio after you workout so that you burn enough fat for the day.

Keep a cheat day so that you stay motivated to lose fat. On the cheat day, eat anything and everything you like but make sure that you come back on your fat losing diet the next day.

16. Amazing experiences.

17. You can expect to lose 5-10 pounds of weight (sometimes more) in the first week, then consistent weight loss after that.
I can personally lose 3-4 lbs per week for a few weeks when I do this strictly.If you’re new to dieting, then things will probably happen quickly. The more weight you have to lose, the faster you will lose it.

18. So basically at the end of the day, doing cardio at whatever heart rate level you can will eventually win out vs. over thinking it?

19. Originally Posted by jcfullbr
So basically at the end of the day, doing cardio at whatever heart rate level you can will eventually win out vs. over thinking it?
Re-read posts #9 and #14. Just about everything else posted ITT is useless.

Use cardio for what it is most efficient at---improving your heart and lung health.

Use nutrition (combined with an experience-level-appropriate weight training program) for what it is most efficient at---changing and improving your body composition.

21. I think 60-70% MHR would be the optimal fat burning heart rate. It might be bro science, but you can still try it out (exercise at this rate) and compare your calories expenditure (fat loss at the end of the day) to your calorie expenditure at different heart rates.
This is the tool: http://healthiack.com/heart-rate-zone-calculator

22. Originally Posted by thesalmon
I think 60-70% MHR would be the optimal fat burning heart rate. It might be bro science, but you can still try it out (exercise at this rate) and compare your calories expenditure (fat loss at the end of the day) to your calorie expenditure at different heart rates.
This is the tool: http://healthiack.com/heart-rate-zone-calculator
It is broscience - as you would know if you'd read the whole thread and sought out the references mentioned.

23. Pardon my ignorance then.
So you're saying heart rate has no influence on weight loss whatsoever?

24. Originally Posted by thesalmon
Pardon my ignorance then.
So you're saying heart rate has no influence on weight loss whatsoever?
It's incidental

Obviously, a higher heart rate can indicate calories being burned at a greater rate than a lower heart rate. This can contribute to a calorie deficit.

OTOH, a higher calorie deficit could be maintained simply by eating less - and more weight would be lost.

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