When one wants to lose weight, people always wonder, if their heart rate should be in the cardio zone or in the fat burning zone . Both these heart rates have their own advantages and disadvantages.
All of us have a different fitness goal in mind. Some of us workout to lose weight, while there are others who workout to build stamina. Since the goals are different, it is natural that we will use different fitness regimes and techniques. One of the important factor that is always taken into consideration is the heart rate. Heart rate is used to measure the heart beats, which help in assessing the intensity of the workout and the benefits, one can get from the workout. When the heart rate is higher, it has a different impact on the fitness level as compared to a heart rate, which is lower. Therefore, a person whose fitness aim is stamina, will work out in the cardio heart rate zone, while a person who wants to lose weight will aim to shed off fat from the body and work in the fat burning heart rate zone. This is exactly the starting point of the cardio vs. fat burning heart rate debate. Which one is better than the other and why, are the questions, that arise then.
Difference Between Fat Burning and Cardio Heart Rate
In order to throw some light on the differences, we will first have to know what is the maximum and target heart rate for a person. The maximum and target heart rate for a person is different for males and females and it also is different for people in different age groups. The formula to calculate maximum heart rate for men – subtract the age of the person from 220, and to calculate maximum heart rate for women – subtract it from 226. The resultant number is the maximum heart rate. Now this brings us to the target heart rate. The optimal heart rate for burning fat is 60 to 70% of the maximum heart rate, while the optimal heart rate for cardio is 70 to 80% of the maximum heart rate.
This brings us to the next point in the debate, which is the benefits of the working out in either of the heart rates. When a person works out in the fat burning heart rate, he is able to decrease body fat, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It also helps in decreasing the chances of different degenerative diseases and not to forget the risk of injury. Majority of the calories burnt in this heart rate zone come primarily from fats. When a person works out in the cardio zone, he is able to improve the cardiovascular and the respiratory system, which in turn help in strengthening the heart. When endurance is the target, this is the heart rate zone that a person should be working out in. Although the number of calories burnt in this heart rate zone are higher, only half the amount of the calories come from fat.
You will now want to know fat burning or cardio heart rate, which one should choose. When one works out to lose weight, it is natural that the person will want to concentrate on burning more calories. In other words, it means that you will have to follow the maxim, ‘higher the intensity of the workout, higher is the weight loss’. However, if you are suffering from high cholesterol or high fat percent in the body, then you will have to work out in the fat burning heart rate zone itself. If you want to achieve both, then you may want to alternate between the cardio heart rate zone and the fat burning heart rate zone. The best exercise program in such a case is interval training. This workout is a great way to not only burn calories, but also helps in building endurance. It will give you the benefits of a cardio workout as well as that of fat burning workout.
I hope, this write-up has cleared the doubts about the right heart rate zone for you. It is advisable to talk to your health care professional about the heart rate zone in conjunction with your fitness goal, so that you are able to reach your fitness goal rather faster.