Target Zone for Maximum Weight Loss

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Question: I am new to exercising but I have made good progress since I started training 6 weeks ago. I have a few questions. To lose weight I was told at my gym that I should keep my heart rate at 60% of it’s maximum to burn more fat. Is that true? What is the most accurate method to determine my maximum heart rate? My schedule varies, should I try to workout at the same time each day even if I am tired from work?
Answer: While low-intensity exercise, exercising at 60% of your maximum heart rate, will burn more fat as a higher percentage of overall calories burned it burns less overall calories and less overall fat than high intensity exercise which means to keep your heart beating at 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. The greater the work load the more calories are needed to perform the work. That’s why walking uphill on a treadmill is more effective in weight loss than remaining level or if you run, doing sprints on a hill verses jogging around a track. The definition of high intensity exercise does not mean going out and running sprints if you haven’t exercised before or it’s been a long time since you exercised. It does mean exerting and challenging yourself in spite of the difficulty and discomfort involved. The level of relative intensity changes as your body changes and becomes more accustomed to exercise. This means you have to continually increase your efforts as you grow stronger and more fit.
There are more than a dozen methods and calculations to determine maximum heart rate though the most widely used is the most simple: 220 – your age = MHR. It’s absolute accuracy has been challenged in recent years but the thing to remember is that other methods though potentially more accurate are still going to be within 5 beats of the 220 method and all the calculations are just an estimate. The 220 – age is convenient and less complicated than the others.
Everyone has a time of the day when they feel most energized and vigorous. This time varies from person to person and your schedule often dictates when you can train. If your training time varies from day to day it may be more challenging to get to the gym but if you have it in your schedule you will be more inclined to do it. While convenient to have a set time to train each day the most important thing is to make time to train.
Push yourself to train at more intense levels but vary the method of your training to prevent boredom and diminishing returns on your exercise investment. Estimate your maximum heart rate and how high you need to get it to know where it needs to be so it is 70% to 85% of your maximum. Put your training in your schedule and get to the gym whenever you schedule it.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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