Fat Burning Exercise And Your Heart Rate Zone
We get many emails asking about the best fat burning exercises for fast results. And while a vibration plate can help you to lose weight in the long-term (see research listed below), the best and quickest way to lose fat is a combination of cardio and strength exercises.
But it has to be the right sort or cardio, otherwise you can spend long hours training with little to show for it - and time is something many of us don't have a huge amount of these days.
Cardio refers to cardio-vascular exercise and this can be any activity that raises your pulse. This could be running, fast walking, jogging on the spot, cycling or using an exercise bike, rowing machine or treadmill.
So what heart rate level delivers the best results for minimal time (but not effort!)
First you need to work out the maximum heart rate level for your age - this will give you a figure to work out safe but challenging levels you can train at.
How To Find Your Maximum Heart Rate Level
Use the formula below to find your MHR - more your MHR is the limit your heart should beat in one minute.
220 - (your age) = MHR
So for example, if you're 36, here's how your works out.
220 - 36 = 184
So 184 is the maximum (100%) heart rate for your age. Vigorous training that takes your heart to this level for more than a minute or two could be risky - although your fitness level will also be a factor.
So now you know what to stay below, work out 70% and 90% - again we'll use aged 36 for our example.
70% MHR = 184 x 0.7 = 128
90% MHR = 184 x 0.9 = 166
Please see the table below as a rough guide - we recommend you also us the formula above to calculate your exact zone.
So now you have this information, what do you do with it?
Training To Burn The Fat!
For some years now, the accepted view is that training at something between 65% - 75% of your maximum heart rate is a good way to burn fat. However, some of the latest research into high intensity training (HIT) has questioned this level.
While it is quite comfortable to training at 65%, many now think this has a limited effect. HIT workouts involve short burst exercises of only 1 to 2 minutes at around 95% of your maximum heart rate. BUT! This is to be done with caution and only after consulting your doctor. We're heard of a number of injuries sustained by those trying HIT, usually due to poor technique.
As with any exercise, one that produces results is one that you're happy to do - and often. If you're currently unfit or over-weight, training at anything above 80% is likely to be difficult. Start with one of the activities listed below at a level you find comfortable for five minutes. Then stop and measure your pulse (see methods below) and check it against our chart.
- Walking fast / Nordic Walking
- Jogging / Running / Jogging on a trampette/ treadmill
If you found it a little challenging but still able to complete the time, work out the MHR as a percentage and use the table below to find the best duration to train at that achievable rate.
MHR (%) Recommended duration
50 - 60 30 - 60 mins
60 - 70 20 - 40 mins
70 - 80 10 - 30 mins
80 - 90 2 - 10 mins
As your fitness improves you'll be able to train at higher rates, but it's important to step up gradually. If an exercise is unpleasant you won't enjoy doing it and therefore less likely to achieve your goal!
How To Measure Your Heart Rate
The easiest way to check your pulse is to use a heart rate monitor worn like a watch. These are now very affordable and have the benefit of being able to monitor your heart whilst training. You can also enter your personal targets and set the goal for a session. It will then beep if you move above or below your target allowing you to speed up or slow down to stay within your MHR zone.
Some take your pulse at the wrist, but the more accurate monitors use a chest strap that transmits the data to the watch.
The old-fashioned way is just as accurate - but it's harder to keep a check while you training. This involves placing your middle and forefinger to the carotid artery in the neck (just below the back of the jaw). Use your watch to measure 6 seconds while you count the beats under your fingers. Then just add a zero. For example, if you count 12 pulses in 6 seconds, your beats per minute would be 120.
Content by Roy Palmer - find me on Google+
WHAT EXERCISE WORKS FOR YOU?