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lauramr lauramr
Tue, Feb 23, 2010 08:02
target heart rate question
Would love replies from anyone who knows this:

I have read that to burn the most fat during cardio workout, you should exercise at 60-70%. I can't find out the answer to this question: If I I am working out at 80-90% of target is that better, worse or no difference?


CarolynDiets CarolynDiets
Tue, Feb 23, 2010 13:02
Target Heart Rate Response
Neither better nor worse. It's just different and has a different effect on your training. Here it is in a nutshell:

When you move you burn calories. Some of the calories you burn come from a kind of sugar that's stored in your muscles. You have a limited supply of this sugar and when you're out, you're out until you eat something and get some rest. Some of the calories burned will come from fat. Even the thinnest person will not run out of fat to burn in exercise. So fat is your long-term energy storage.

The percentage of calories burned from fat varies depending on how intensely you are moving (how high your heart rate is). However, this doesn't mean that you burn no fat at high levels. In fact, you can burn more fat at high heart rates even as the percentage goes down. There's a chart here that you can look at:

Notice that the high intensity exercise burns about 40 percent of the calories from fat while the low intensity exercise burns 50 percent of calories from fat. However, you would still burn more total fat calories in the high intensity exercise than the low intensity exercise because you burn more total calories.

So what should you do? It depends. In most cases it's best to keep your heart rate in a range that you can continue your workout for 20-60 minutes without danger of injury. At very high heart rates it is possible to go only for a few minutes before fatigue sets in.

However, if you are training your body to do short sprints, you will want to move at higher intensities. If you are training for endurance, you want lower intensities. If you're training for fat loss, choose something that gives you joy and that you can continue for a reasonable amount of time. A lot of research suggests that people get the most benefit by doing short periods of high intensity mixed with periods of lower intensity.

Does that make sense?


lauramr lauramr
Tue, Feb 23, 2010 14:02
thank you
Thank you Carolyn! That was very helpful. I am a new exceriser, about 25 lb overweight and 47 y.o. I can easily complete a 35 minute eliptical or cross trainer workout but was confused about the heart rate. I certainly can't "carry on a normal conversation" while doing the workout but am loving it!
Thanks again

CarolynDiets CarolynDiets
Tue, Feb 23, 2010 18:02
"Carrying on a normal conversation"
There are a lot of different ways to learn how to recognize your body's signals as far as exertion goes. The test "can you carry on a normal conversation" is not one that works for me. However, the test "Can you sing a song while exercising" does work. What works even better is making sure my breathing is synched up with my steps (but that is something that probably only makes sense to me). I think that it is a pretty individual sort of thing. However, if you're completing your workouts and feeling good afterward, that tells you everything you need to know. I'm glad you're having fun!


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