Find your fat-burn­ing sweet spot

Cal­cu­late your op­ti­mum ex­er­cise heart rate for oblit­er­at­ing those fes­tive-sea­son ki­los, writes Stephen Heard.

Sunday News - - WELLBEING -

The ba­sics

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.

Risk rat­ing

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.

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