What is a Fat-Burning Heart Rate?
The heart rate for fat burning is the rate of heartbeats per minute that one should ideally attain to burn fat to lose weight.
Fitness professionals have often noted that attaining a heart rate for fat burning for weight loss is ideal. However, exercising is just one of the factors related to fat-burning heart rate.
The Link Between Heart Loss and Fat Loss
Now, what is the link between heart rate and fat burning? Heart rate often shows the intensity of physical activity that one is doing.
The resting heart rate, which refers to a person’s heart rate when they are lying down, usually hovers between 70-120 beats per minute.
Physical activity makes a person’s heart rate increase. A high-intensity workout often achieves the maximum heart rate that one can achieve safely. However, that is hard to maintain because of which it is hard to determine your maximum heart rate. The fat-burning heart rate falls between the extremes, the resting heart rate, and the maximum heart rate.
Why is it important? People concerned to lose fat often try to achieve a heart rate for burning fat through high-intensity exercise. When a person hits their fat-burning heart rate, the body burns more stores fat, sugar, and other carbohydrates.
Fat-Burning Heart Rate Chart
As you may have guessed, there is a method to calculate someone’s maximum heart rate and fat-burning heart rate. The heart rate for fat burning is dependent upon maximum heart rate.
To calculate the maximum heart rate, one should subtract their age from 220. For instance, the maximum heart rate of a 20-year old would be 200 beats per minute.
Now, a person’s upper limit and lower limit should be calculated. The upper limit is about 70% of the maximum heart rate, and the lower limit is about 50% of the maximum heart rate. Now, taking the same example, the upper limit of the 20-year old would be 140 beats per minute, and the lower limit would be 100 beats per minute.
People who are interested in increasing their endurance often try to train at 70-85% of the maximum heart rate. This is also called the ‘cardio-zone.’
Heart Rate for Fat-Burning Chart
The heart rate for fat burning can be calculated by using the above formula. For your convenience, this article provides the table according to the respective age of a person.
Age (in years) Target Heart Rate (50-85%) Maximum Heart Rate (100%)
20 years 100-170 bpm 200 bpm
30 years 95-162 bpm 190 bpm
35 years 93-157 bpm 185 bpm
40 years 90-153 bpm 180 bpm
45 years 88-149 bpm 175 bpm
50 years 85-145 bpm 170 bpm
55 years 83-140 bpm 165 bpm
60 years 80-136 bpm 160 bpm
65 years 78-132 bpm 155 bpm
70 years 75-128 bpm 150 bpm
bpm= beats per minute*
All our bodies have different zones wherein a body can lose weight. The four main training zones are as follows:
1. Warm-up zone
This zone is where your body prepares itself to venture into more intense workouts. The heart rate is around 50-70% of your maximum heart rate, and you can easily converse and go on for a long time. It usually involves low-intensity exercise.
2. Fat-burning zone
The fat-burning zone is where your heart rate should be around 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. You may sweat and breathe harder than usual. Also, you may burn more stored fat calories than glycogen at this point.
a. Aerobic zone
The aerobic zone is still under a comfortable zone where the heart rate is around 80-90% of your maximum heart rate. You would be able to talk in short phrases and more calories burned. This will also make your heart pump hard, which will also keep your heart healthy.
b. Anaerobic zone
In this zone, you would not be able to talk, and it is impossible to spend more than a minute at this zone since your glycogen reserves would be depleted fast. The heart rate at this point would be 90-100% of your maximum heart rate.
Workout Intensity Heart Rate How to Identify via the Talk Test
Low 50-70% of MHR Can talk with relative ease
Moderate 70-80% of MHR Can talk, but slightly.
High 80-90% of MHR Talking is difficult.
Maximum 90-100% of MHR Cannot talk at all.
Is it Accurate?
While monitoring your heart rate for fat burning might help you in your weight loss journey, it may not be wise to depend on it wholly since burning fat depends on how much exercise you are doing and the exercise intensity.
The higher the heart rate, the more fat burned than any other calorie source. This makes many people think that attaining a fat-burning heart rate is all one needs to do for shedding fat. However, the reality may be more complex since there are a lot of factors to take into account.
A study revealed that the correct heart rate for fat-burning is around 60.2%- 80%.
The Americal Council on Exercise (ACE) has also said that it is essential to take the method of calculating the maximum heart rate and the other factors with a grain of salt. As long as you are exercising, it should be enough. They also have their own heart rate calculator, if you want to check that out.
How to Measure Heart Rate?
In simple words, how to keep track of your heart rate?
There are various tools for the same, and you do not need anything costly or fancy.
1. Traditional Tracking
Yes, the traditional way is the cheapest. All you need to do is use your fingers to track your pulse. You will have to stop exercising, find your pulse and then count the beats for 60 seconds or 30 seconds (then multiply the number by two).
2. Wrist Monitor
Wrist-band heart rate monitors have become very popular in recent times. They just fit on your wrist like a regular watch.
The advantage is obvious. First, you won’t need to stop your activity from counting your heart rate. Secondly, there are fewer chances of getting your heart rate wrong. On the plus side, these devices also measure the daily steps, calories burnt, and other things along with heart rate.
3. Chest Strap Monitor
Chest strap monitors can be strapped across your chest, which can then monitor your heart rate, then send wirelessly to your compatible device. These devices can be worn during any kind of activity, including swimming. These straps are flexible and can be fit onto any body type.
A Fat-Burning Workout
Needless to say, the intensity of exercise required for the heart rate for fat burning depends on the body type and the metabolism of the individual.
But, how can you know if you are in the fat-burning zone? Try the ‘talk test.’ If you can not talk during your exercise or immediately after, you are working at vigorous levels. If you can, however, maintain a conversation but are breathless, you are in your moderate level of heart rate and probably in your fat-burning zone.
Some exercises to reach the heart rate for fat burning:
- brisk walking
- ballroom dancing
Check out how to get the best outdoor exercise equipment on a budget here.
Other Ways to Lose Fat
Besides intense exercise, there are other ways to lose weight too, which you need to keep in mind. The best way would be to miss and match both exercises with other factors to lose weight easily and fast.
You can follow a proper diet with lots of vegetables and a proper nutrition profile to actually speed up your weight loss. Try to eat more whole grains, protein, low-fat, and other nutritious foods.
2. Drink Water
Drinking lots of water will also help your body keep hydrated, which will further maintain your body temperature, create mucus and saliva, cushion sensitive tissue, and many other essential functions.
In a nutshell, you can give importance to the heart rate for fat burning but try not to fixate on it. The heart rate which burns fat is usually around 70% of the maximum heart rate. However, mix exercise with other methods to lose fat so that you can speed up the process.
Moreover, go for a slow and steady weight loss pattern. The American Heart Association suggests a heart rate of 50% of the maximum heart rate. Losing more than two pounds in one week is not healthy. Start slow but steady so that losing weight feels like a breeze. You can also refer to your dietician or doctor for advice. If you are consistent in your hard work and exercise, it will pay off.
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.