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heart rate and "fat burn zone"??

peas
Mar 18 2007 04:11
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I am totally new to all this.....

my girlfriend told me that you needed to be within a certain window with your heart rate to burn fat while exercising. If above that window you were more likely to build muscle instead of burn fat.  I have searched the net trying to find a formula.  And I found this:

220-34 (age)=186

186-70 (resting heart rate)=116

116 65%-85%=  75.40-98.60

75.40+70(resting heart rate)=145.40

98.60+70(resting heart rate)=168.60

heart rate between 145-168

But It (the website) said that you would burn more fat if you kept your heart rate below 145, but you would burn more calories overall if your heart rate was above 145.

can anyone explain this to me and tell me what to do?????

I have been pretty sedentary for the last 5 years.  I quit smoking 40 days ago and started exercising.  I have been a size 4 to 6, but have gained weight since I quit smoking. and yes I am eating more, but I am probably eating what (amount) I should have been eating all along.  I have most likely remained small by not eating.  About  2 years ago I quit smoking for 3 months and started running about 1 mile a day.  I never lost any weight and only got bigger in the butt and thighs.  Did I quit too soon?  It seems, although it has only been a few weeks that the same thing is happening.  My pants are all tight in the butt and thighs.  I have gained about 3 to 5 pounds, which may be water.  I am drinking a lot of water which I never did before.  So what is the deal with this?  Do I just have some sort of body type were I will get bigger if I exercise? I am 133 currently, medium frame, 5 foot 3.  I would prefer to be slender.....  oh I am biking 20 minutes a day, walking 20 minutes , and trying to do some leg lifts, stomach crunches, arm exercises. 
16 Replies (last)
The "fat burning zone" is a bit of a misconception.  When you exercise, a certain percentage of your energy will come from fat.  The easiest way to explain how this relates to HR and calorie burn is by example:

Let's say you are in the HR zone in which you burn 50% of your calories from fat for 30 minutes, and you burn a total of 200 calories, 100 of those will be fat calories.  But, if in that same 30 minutes you are in a higher HR zone, you are going to burn more overall calories, say 350, but only 30% come from fat (126).  Well, in the higher zone you have not only burned more calories overall, but more fat calories too.

Hope that helps!
That is the most accurate way to determine your training range from your age adjusted maximum predicted heart rate.  If you are in excellent physical condition and doing training for an endurance event you would aim for the 70-85% MPHR.  

The most efficient training range for fat burning would be between 50 and 65% MPHR.  Unless you have excellent aerobic capacity from extended training, most people who's heart rates are above the 70-75% range are anaerobic and no longer burning fat. 

Weight gain is common with the beginning of an exercise program and can be attributed to muscle gain and water weight.  Continuing an exercise program and increased water intake allows the body to self correct.
just bumping up again since topic is brought up again.


220-34 (age)=186

186-70 (resting heart rate)=116

116 65%-85%=  75.40-98.60

75.40+70(resting heart rate)=145.40

98.60+70(resting heart rate)=168.60

heart rate between 145-168

But It (the website) said that you would burn more fat if you kept your heart rate below 145, but you would burn more calories overall if your heart rate was above 145.

 

OK,  how do I know what my resting heart rate is, as stated above for her?

I'm 53, so I start with 220-53+167

I thought my aim was 65% to 85% of said number.

Yet, when I went on my elliptical trainer and set it for fat loss the number I was 'told' to aim for was 109!

Now I usually set it on 'random' with a fairly high setting of 12 with HIIT going up to '20' which is the hightest intensity/resistance of this machines.

So, my question is this where does 109 come in and how do calculate to get that?

 

Oneis2many- the so called "fat burn zone" is the lower rate.  A larger % of cals burned are from fat in this zone, however you have to work longer to burn more calories.  Personally I think going harder for a shorter time is just as effective since you burn more calories - then although a less % is from fat you will burn more fat -- its sort of a "6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other" situation.

Review those threads linked above for better explanations.

oneis2many, 109 is 65% of 167.  The machine is doing the formula for you based on age and without factoring in resting heart rate which is more common than the formula above. 

Two things, first using age to determine max heart rate is extremely inaccurate in most cases and second the higher the intensisty of your workout the more calories you will burn.

The theory behind the "Fat Burning" zone is that you can workout much longer at a lower intesisty so even though you are burning fewer calories per minute you are burning more total calories because you are working out for many more minutes and a higher percentage of the calories burned are coming directly from fat.  But for many people workout time is limited so by working out at the highest intensty they can for the full amount of time they have available will burn the most calories and the most fat.  Often intervals or HIIT is used to up the total intensity of the workout.

In all honesty, our main goal here is to loose weight.  Sure, you can take your heart rate, weight, and such n' such, and make it all scientific sounding (even if it is!) but in all fairness, that makes me worry about the formula, is my heart rate where it should be, and yada yada yada.  The MOST important formula to know below is:

3500 calories = 1 pound.

Boom.

Equations don't make exercise fun, only more depressing.  If you remember to count your calories just as this website allows you to do, and excercise on a regular basis, you are going to loose weight.  No fancy equations or algoritms.  It's all just a matter of burning more than you eat; simple caloric deficiency at its finest!

darrinfher2008, "In all honesty, our main goal here is to loose weight.  Sure, you can take your heart rate, weight, and such n' such, and make it all scientific sounding (even if it is!) but in all fairness, that makes me worry about the formula, is my heart rate where it should be, and yada yada yada.  The MOST important formula to know below is:

3500 calories = 1 pound.

Boom.

Equations don't make exercise fun, only more depressing.  If you remember to count your calories just as this website allows you to do, and excercise on a regular basis, you are going to loose weight.  No fancy equations or algoritms.  It's all just a matter of burning more than you eat; simple caloric deficiency at its finest!"

You make a very good point and I agree with what you said but it doesn't answer the question that was asked.

I use the original formula to calculate my MHR and THR -- (220 - age)*70% for the low end of aerobic activities and (220-age)*85% for my high rate.

But mostly I have just been experimenting.  I started my program just about 2 months ago, counting calories (1200/day), and working out 5-6 times a week, including about 30-40 min outdoor walking 3 days a week, and 3 days strength training (now with 20 min. cardio also) the other 3 days. I have lost about 10 pounds, so I am on track.

I lost weight faster--not visible on the scale but in my stomach in the mirror--when I walked with my monitor showing between 70%-75% of my Maximum Heart Rate.  I don't pay attention to the scale because I am also building muscle tissue which weighs more. 

I boosted my walks up to at least 30 minutes over 80% 3 times a week and found I did not loose inches as fast, and 'felt' fatter again, and I suffered more isoreness, too.  After two weeks of that I have dropped back to the 70-75% range this week and am already seeing the difference. 

My cardio workouts are with dvd's and I usually go up to about 95% somewhere in there and have to go slower than the teacher to keep it down around 90%.  Those are still not really high enough calorie burns to justify the reduced fat-burning percents.  Elliptical machines, steppers, rowing machines that move you up to 600-700 calories/hour might justify all the sweat. 

My experience is that I lose more weight when I keep the THR in the lower 'fat-burning' ranges.  Do the math with actual calorie burns for your weight, for different intensities, and watch your own body.  More calories per hour is not necessarily enough more to burn more fat. 

trhawley said it best. Basically don't worry about HR stuff if your goal is just too loose weight. See how much time you have a day to exercise, and how often you can do it. Then go at intensity that will make you work, but you can maintain for that time without completely draining yourself. So you can repeat it next time. For example if you have only 30minutes a day, and you can only exercise 3 times a week. Then there is enough rest that you can push yourself harder, then for example if you could do 60 minutes 5 times a week.

P.S. as others have mentioned the formula is inacurate enough to be pretty much useless. IMHO. Real way to find out your resting heart rate is to get a heart rate monitor and measure as soon as you wake up. For max, well thats the interesting one, basically after a good warm up you go all out for a few seconds. Repeat 3 times with adiquite rest in between and take the max of three.

UD

Peas... While 3500 calories are indeed one pound, how you lose those calories makes all the difference in the world.  First,  you need to gain aerobic fitness, and this will take a good 6 months, especially if you have just quit smoking. To gain an aerobic "base", you need to walk/jog/bike/eliptical at a heart rate of 180 less your age, or 146 beats/min.

Do not, I repeat do not, do any weights, fast running, etc that would raise your heart rate over this limit.  I highly suggest an investment in a decent heart rate monitor, costs about $100-, Polar brand is well known.

Doing fast, anerobic workouts burns sugars moreso than fats, and further calls and conditions your body to eat more sugar based foods.  This, in turn, creates fat from the unused sugars after a meal. 

Eat complex carbs such as vegetables, beans.  Lean proteins, and for fat flax and olive oil.

Do this, and exercise 4-5 times weekly at 45-60 mins, and the pounds will drop off.  I have lost 167# in  3 mos.  ( 191# to 175, but added some muscle too)

Good luck. 

Original Post by whitewomanover50:

I use the original formula to calculate my MHR and THR -- (220 - age)*70% for the low end of aerobic activities and (220-age)*85% for my high rate.

But mostly I have just been experimenting.  I started my program just about 2 months ago, counting calories (1200/day), and working out 5-6 times a week, including about 30-40 min outdoor walking 3 days a week, and 3 days strength training (now with 20 min. cardio also) the other 3 days. I have lost about 10 pounds, so I am on track.

I lost weight faster--not visible on the scale but in my stomach in the mirror--when I walked with my monitor showing between 70%-75% of my Maximum Heart Rate.  I don't pay attention to the scale because I am also building muscle tissue which weighs more. 

I boosted my walks up to at least 30 minutes over 80% 3 times a week and found I did not loose inches as fast, and 'felt' fatter again, and I suffered more isoreness, too.  After two weeks of that I have dropped back to the 70-75% range this week and am already seeing the difference. 

My cardio workouts are with dvd's and I usually go up to about 95% somewhere in there and have to go slower than the teacher to keep it down around 90%.  Those are still not really high enough calorie burns to justify the reduced fat-burning percents.  Elliptical machines, steppers, rowing machines that move you up to 600-700 calories/hour might justify all the sweat. 

My experience is that I lose more weight when I keep the THR in the lower 'fat-burning' ranges.  Do the math with actual calorie burns for your weight, for different intensities, and watch your own body.  More calories per hour is not necessarily enough more to burn more fat. 

This is wonderful! Congratulations on your weight loss. I am sure you are looking fantastic now. Reading your post is a bit of relief for me. :) having read through almost all the posts for high heart rate and low heart rate and what burns fat and what doesnt, I realise I am on the right path now. I am doing fat burn setting on treadmill and arc trainer for 5-6 days a week. I am also doing strength training for about 20 mins everyday. Havent started the outdoor walk as yet but looks like I should. And yes, I am for sure watching my calorie intake. Did you also have a target for how much calorie you wanted to burn everyday. I need to lose a minimum of 20 pounds in the next six months. Reading about you, I feel I can do it. Thank you Maam.

Regards

Shikha

shikhaatreya - this is an old post, and I don't think the poster you were replying to is even on CC anymore.

But as dbacker said in the other post you asked about this, you don't need to keep your heart rate in the "fat burn zone".

And for anyone reading this thread through, davemeltzer's advice to avoid weights or fast running is simply bull crappity crap crap crap.

I did a google for this info ... and here it is. I was wondering how your heart rate affects weight loss and burning fat.

I'e been running with weights and the pounds are coming off FAST! So not sure how to take davemeltzer's opinions.

However this is a really good thread.

Original Post by shellysplace:

I did a google for this info ... and here it is. I was wondering how your heart rate affects weight loss and burning fat.

I'e been running with weights and the pounds are coming off FAST! So not sure how to take davemeltzer's opinions.

However this is a really good thread.

When you say you are 'running with weights" does that mean you are holding on to like the 3 lb weights while running?  I hope you aren't using ankle weights, that is just a prescription for big injury!!  running with weights isn't exactly "weight lifting"  Weights in the context of this thread and others is lifting weights Heavy weights - doing a full body weight lifting routine

Also this zombie thread when I wrote my replies in 2007 I wasn't doing weights I was only doing cardio stuff and can tell you big mistake.

In 2009 I started lifting weights, last year I joined a gym with real squat rack and really was able to put more effort into my weight lifting and managed to totally resculpt my body and although the pounds didn't change much I lost inches 

When I got my diet under control managed to lose 15 lbs and was able to be even thinner than I was at 20 lbs less.  

My personal preference now is to lift weights for the best fat loss and do metabolic workouts "intense high heart rate pumping" for the best fat burning ever.

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