Find your fat-burning sweet spot
Calculate your optimum exercise heart rate for obliterating those festive-season kilos, writes Stephen Heard.
This form of training hones in on the body’s engine room during exercise to find the fat-burning sweet spot.
By calculating the maximum number of times your heart (should) beat per minute and the optimum target zone around the 50 to 70 per cent mark, participants can find the most effective intensity to work out and drop the pounds.
The method requires simple mathematics and access to some form of monitoring apparatus to track and record your heart rate – this can be achieved by using sensors already built into gym equipment or with wearable technology like a smart watch or bluetooth chest strap.
Those without access to gadgets can still get involved by timing their pulse on the inside of their wrist.
Giving it a bash
There are a few ways to calculate your maximum heart rate.
Without paying a visit to the hospital and completing a stress test with a trained professional, the most basic technique to find the maximum number of times your heart should beat every minute is to subtract your age from 220.
For example, I subtracted 35 from 220 to get the jacked up heart rate of 185 – the recommended maximum rate for my age group when completing an aerobic activity like running.
The most effective fat-burning zone sits around 50 to 70 per cent of the maximum heart rate during activity.
In this instance my goal was to float in the broad gap of 97 and 157 beats per minute. I would be using both an inbuilt treadmill monitor and a smart watch to
The most effective fatburning zone sits around 50 to 70 per cent of the maximum heart rate during activity.
track my heart rate across 30 minutes of exercise.
To begin, my resting heart rate clocked in at a sleepy 57 beats per minute.
Following a warm up, it quickly shot up just shy of the target zone to 92.
Increasing the pace and incline of the treadmill, my internal rhythm took off. It skipped from 104 to 127 and then to 150, before topping out at 172 beats per minute after a short sprinting interval.
The majority of the session was easily spent in the ideal fatobliterating territory. Being a one-off experiment and without taking diet or previous fitness level into account, I shouldn’t expect any immediate results.
Why you should try it
If you have a pulse, you can complete heart rate training.
The recent rise of wearable technology makes it an extremely accessible way to track your target heart rate during exercise and help achieve a maximum health and fitness level.
The training can also be used across most forms of physical activity.
Those with heart problems should consult a medical professional first before completing any training that puts pressure on the ticker.
Research has shown that the simple age-based formula to find the maximum heart rate is not entirely accurate for all participants – factors including fitness level, ailments and old age should also be taken into account.
Unfortunately, it isn’t the beall and end-all of weight loss.
Find out more
To get started, there are several specific calculators available online to find the recommended target heart rate for your age group.