Heart Rate Training Zone by James @ Viridian Winchester_edited-1

What Heart Rate should I train at?

What is the right heart rate for your training and why it maybe different to what you might expect. Changing the Maximum Heart Rate at which you train is key to effectively burning fat. If you knew you could train for less time but burn more fat wouldn’t that be good news?

Fitness is about achieving your goals and the relative progressions needed to attain those goals. Here are some guidelines and starting points on how to consider what is the correct heart rate zone for your training?

Maximum Heart Rate approximation is 220, less your age in years divided by the % of the remainder (So Age = 50 220-50=170/100 * %HEART RATE:

  • When you exercise you burn both fat and glycogen, you need to burn both, it is only by burning the glycogen ( that your body will start utilise and burn the fat itself.) Glycogen is the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars such as glucose, which get utilised to fuel your workout.
  • Exercising at 50% of MHR (Maximum Heart Rate) your body will roughly burn 60% Fat and 40% Glycogen
  • Exercising at 75% MHR you will roughly burn a ratio of 35% Fat and 65% Glycogen.

Hence it appears that working at a low intensity burns more fat than high intensity work outs? But it is not that simple unfortunately so consider this table and the following points:

30 Minutes of ExerciseFat Calories BurnedGlycogen Calories BurnedTotal Calories Burned
Exercising at 50% of MHR (Low Intensity)120 Cals80 Cals200 cals
Exercising at 75% of MHR (High Intensity)140 Cals260 Cals400 cals
Example for article about how to determine your Heart Rate Zone for your training.
  • High intensity workouts i.e. interval training, burns more fat than low intensity programmes, you might wonder why?
  • It’s all to do with calories. When you train in a higher heart rate zone, you burn more calories so in turn you burn more fat but you also need to consider your relative fitness levels and the type of exercise you are undertaking

Many  people think that it is best to undertake Steady State Cardio Exercise (Low Heart Rate, long duration exercise) but in reality you need to balance your individual  fitness levels not only at the start but as your progress through your training programme. What is right for you at the start will not remain the same over time. You will need a programme with progressions that enables you to phase achievement of your goals. Hence generalised charts of optimum Heart Rate Zones and equipment that indicate fat burning zones are helpful as broad approximations but will need customising to suit your individual needs.

How Can You Get a Customised Programme to Suit Your Needs?

It really is important to get some professional advice from a reputable and qualified personal trainer and to make sure you start training at a heart rate and level of intensity that is appropriate to your individual fitness level.

If you would like to come and discuss your particular needs and how I can help you achieve your goals, then signup here for a FREE Consultation and if you decide to Book a block of 9 sessions or more you can also save yourself an extra 15% with my introductory offer.


James Kerby