Optimal Heart Rate for Burning Fat

We get asked alot about “Coach; what is the optimal heart rate to burn fat and lose excess weight?”  We see athletes smashing hard hitting workouts, redlining their heart rates. Pushing their bodies to the limits… But is this the right way to burn fat?

Turns out it is not!

Here’s the deal.

The optimum fat-burning heart rate is often calculated using a percentage of your maximum heart rate. One common method is to use a target heart rate zone based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate. The most widely used formula for calculating your maximum heart rate is:

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)=220−Age

If you are 30 years old then it would be 220- 30 = 190.

Your max heart rate is 190 beats per minute.

Once you have your maximum heart rate, you can determine your fat-burning heart rate zone. The fat-burning zone is typically considered to be around 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.

Here’s how to calculate it:

Fat-Burning Heart Rate Zone = (MHR × Percentage)

For example, for a 30-year-old individual:


So, the fat-burning heart rate zone would be between 60% and 70% of 190:

Fat-Burning Zone=(190×0.60) to (190×0.70)

This would result in a fat-burning heart rate zone of approximately 114 to 133 beats per minute.

So, if you are in a fat-burning heart rate zone of approximately 114 to 133 beats per minute that is the optimal spot to be at for burning fat.

Walking fast to a light jog is typically going to get your heart rate into that range. Lifting weights with a light jog around the gym will get you into that rate. Walking or hiking with a 20 lb backpack will also get you there.

You do not have to be red lining with your heart rate at 190 to burn fat.

Remember, these formulas are guidelines, but there’s room for individual differences. Some experts believe that intense workouts can still torch fat, even if the fat-burning percentage of calories seems lower. Do your own research and find out what works for you.

When gauging exercise intensity, factors such as fitness level, genetics, and overall health play crucial roles and demand consideration.

For custom-tailored guidance, particularly if health concerns are in play, it’s advisable to seek counsel from a healthcare professional or fitness authority. They will craft a specialized blueprint aligned with your unique needs and goals.

Are you interested in training for an endurance event like SEALFIT 20X, Ironman, GORUCK or a Spartan Race?

Looking to get out of a rut and push forward to beat yesterday now?

Do you just want to increase your human potential so that you can move faster to your goals?

Do you have a big event on the horizon and you want to finish the drill?

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