Home > Motivation, Weight Loss > Target Heart Rate Zone is a Joke if You are Serious about Losing Weight

Target Heart Rate Zone is a Joke if You are Serious about Losing Weight

woman runnerHave you ever heard that to lose weight you should stay in the “Target Heart Rate Zone?” This term may sound important and technical, but it’s actually a joke, especially if you are serious about losing weight.

Let me just start out by saying that while it may be safer for those just starting a workout program to start at a low intensity level, most people who are looking to change their body need a more intense exercise program. While some exercise is better than none, our bodies are amazing and you are probably capable of more than you think!

The idea behind the “Target Heart Rate Zone” is that since you use fat for energy at low intensities and primarily carbohydrates at higher intensities that you should not exercise at an intense level. Now think about this, do you really think intense exercise is bad for you and that  it won’t get you into incredible shape?  This is where the “Target Heart Rate Zone” becomes very deceptive because it’s actually the high intensity exercise that burns the MOST CALORIES! Isn’t that really the name of game? If you burn more calories, you burn more fat, period. It doesn’t matter the percentage. It’s the overall total calories burned that counts.

Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy in the body. Why work against it? You might think, don’t I need to use fat as energy to burn fat? Nope. When you take into account the fact that high intensity exercise increases your overall metabolic rate much higher than low intensity training AFTER your workout and throughout the day, you would best make use of your exercise time doing high intensity training and burning more calories. That means that if you and your co-worker both worked out this morning and she walked for 30 minutes at a low intensity level and you ran for 30 minutes and kept the intensity level high, you would be more likely to burn more fat while you are both sitting at your desks that day. Guess who’s going to look better at the company Holiday Party this year?

So, remember this: the more calories you burn, the more fat your burn. Forget about percentages and fancy terms. Workout as hard as you can and as long as you can, eat to lose (don’t diet!!!) and you will see changes faster than you can find your calculator to figure out your “Target Heart Rate Zone.”

Additional Reading for You…..

What is the fat burning zone? Should I run more slowly to lose fat?http://www.runningforfitness.org/faq/weightloss.php

Busting the Great Myths of Fat Burning: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/busting-the-great-myths-of-fat-burning.html

Categories: Motivation, Weight Loss
  1. richard
    January 30, 2010 at 7:38 am

    I exercise 4x a week and usually bike or use elliptical for 30 min. my heart rate avg is 150 and often in the 160’s I am 66 and 230 lbs. I am trying to get my weight down to 210. The trainer at the gym says I need to slow down to burn fat and that I am burning carbs to much and they turn into a charco like substance in my body. What do u think? Thank you Richard

    • nikigfitness
      January 30, 2010 at 9:41 am

      I think it’s time to talk to a different trainer….and try some interval training to mix it up. A few minutes of high intensity training follow by low, then repeat several times throughout the workout. Keep your body guessing with different forms of exercise and to keep from getting bored with your workout. Good luck!

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