Fat-Burning Heart Rate Definition, How’s it calculated and chart by age

Fat-Burning Heart Rate: Definition, How’s it calculated and chart by age?

In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle and a fitter physique, understanding the relationship between heart rate and fat burning is paramount. A key aspect of optimizing your workouts lies in determining your target heart rate zones to effectively burn fat. This article delves into the science behind fat burning, how to calculate your fat burning zone, ways to determine your maximum heart rate, the influence of age on fat burning zones, and suggests some effective fat-burning workouts.

What’s the Best Heart Rate to Burn Fat?

When aiming to burn fat, finding the sweet spot for your heart rate is crucial. The best heart rate to burn fat is often referred to as the “fat-burning zone.” This zone typically falls between 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Operating within this range ensures that your body primarily relies on fat as its energy source, making it an efficient strategy for weight loss. However, it’s important to note that burning fat isn’t the only goal during workouts, as other heart rate zones contribute to overall fitness.

How to calculate Your Fat Burning Zone?

Before calculating a fat burning zone, you need to determine your maximum heart rate and then targeting the appropriate percentage within that range. 

Determining Your Maximum Heart Rate

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) refers to the highest number of beats per minute (bpm) that your heart can reach during intense physical activity or exercise. It is often used as a guideline to help people determine their target heart rate zones for different levels of exercise intensity.

Age RangeMax Heart Rate (BPM)

There are a few methods commonly used to estimate your Maximum Heart Rate:

220-Age Formula: The most well-known method is the “220 minus your age” formula also known as The Fox formula. According to this formula, you subtract your age from 220 to get an estimated maximum heart rate. However, this method is a rough estimate and might not be accurate for everyone.

  • 220 – your age = maximum heart rate

Tanaka Formula: A more accurate formula, proposed by Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka, is 208 – (0.7 x Age). This takes into account individual variations a bit better than the traditional 220-Age formula.

Determining Your fat burning zone

Here is how to find the lower and upper limits of your fat burning zone:

  • Maximum heart rate for your age x .64 = lower end of fat burning zone
  • Maximum heart rate for your age x .76 = higher end of fat burning zone

Fat Burning Zones by Age

Age GroupMaximum Heart RateFat Burning Zone (60-70%)
20-29200120-140 bpm
30-39190114-133 bpm
40-49180108-126 bpm
50-59170102-119 bpm
60-6916096-112 bpm
70+15090-105 bpm

Best Fat-Burning Workouts

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves alternating between periods of intense exercise and recovery. It boosts metabolism and maximizes calorie burn long after the workout ends.

Steady-State Cardio: Engaging in moderate-intensity cardio exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling can keep your heart rate within the fat-burning zone for extended periods.

Strength Training: Building muscle increases your basal metabolic rate, promoting fat loss even at rest. Incorporating compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses can be effective.

Circuit Training: Combining cardiovascular exercises with strength training in rapid succession can elevate heart rate while engaging multiple muscle groups.

Outdoor Activities: Activities like swimming, hiking, and cycling not only burn calories but also provide an enjoyable way to stay active.

The Takeaway

In the journey to burn fat and achieve fitness goals, understanding how heart rate zones affect fat metabolism is indispensable. By calculating and targeting the fat-burning zone, individuals can strategically enhance their workouts. As age influences fat-burning potential, tailoring strategies to accommodate these changes can lead to more effective and satisfying results. Whether it’s through HIIT, steady-state cardio, strength training, or outdoor activities, incorporating these workouts into your routine can help you unlock your body’s fat-burning potential.