What’s your target heart rate to burn fat?

There are multiple ways to figure out your target heart rate to burn fat, but all of them probably fall short in one way or another because our bodies are so complex.

I'm going to use the traditional 220 - age formula, but the Tanaka Method and the Karvonen Formula may be more accurate.

I will tell you how to lose fat regardless of which formula you decide to use.

In this article you will learn how to maximize your calorie and fat burning efforts.

First of all, you're going to exercise at 70 to 85% of your maximum heart rate.

But how do you know which end of the scale you should fall on?

That’s exactly what you’re about to find out!

Figuring Out Your Heart Rate Zone

The formula is the same for men and women…

For the right fat burning heart rate zone, stay between 70 and 85% of your estimated maximum heart rate.

Here’s the formula:

220 – age = max heart rate x 70 to 85%

So let’s say you’re 40 years old…

220 – 40 = 180 (estimated max heart rate)
180 x .70 = 126
180 x .85 = 153

Your heart rate zone to lose fat is between 126 and 153 beats per minute.

The rules change if you’re extremely deconditioned. If you’re starting a new exercise program, you want to stay closer to the 70% range especially if you have certain health conditions.

What’s The Right Fat Burning Zone For You?

Now that’s a great question!

When I worked as a Trainer, I got to observe a lot. One of the things that I noticed is that the leanest people were always the ones who put some intensity into their workouts.

Regardless of what kind of formula you use to figure out your fat burning zone, do your cardio at the highest intensity level that you can sustain for your total workout time.

For example, if you’re doing 30 minutes of cardio, you may be able to work at 82% of your max heart rate and still finish.

If you do 45 minutes, you may only be able to sustain let’s say 75%.

The point is not to get stuck at either end of the 70 to 85% scale.

See if this makes sense...

Let’s say you do 30 minutes of cardio at 140 beats per minute.

If 140 beats barely causes you to break a sweat, do you think you’re maximizing your workout time?

Also, if the workout is too easy you won’t feel like you’re accomplishing much either.

Doesn't it make more sense to let your breathing guide you?

Use your breathing to measure your intensity level.

If you’re working at 75% of your max heart rate and you’re able to easily hold a conversation, you need to put some oomph into it!

You don’t have to reach the point of hyperventilation, but you should be sweating and breathing somewhat heavy during your workout.

Do the calculations to figure out your target heart rate to burn fat, but also use breathing to determine if you’re getting the most out of your workout.

Related Content

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Exercises To Lose Weight Quickly

Workout Program Design


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