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Old 03-25-2009, 04:37 AM   #1
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Newbie - Best heart-rate level for weight loss

Is it right that the best 'level' for losing weight is at 65% of max
heart rate?

Whenever I use the cross-trainer I go pretty hard at it and find my
heart rate is way over 80% max.


Would I be better calming things down a bit and sticking to 65%?

 
Old 03-25-2009, 03:20 PM   #2
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Re: Newbie - Best heart-rate level for weight loss

Read up on the concept of anaerobic threshold.

Usually your anaerobic threshold is about 80% to 85% of your maximum heart rate, although this can vary from person to person, and maximum heart rate can vary considerably from person to person in comparison to the often used 220 - age approximation.

Below the anaerobic threshold, you can exercise for a long duration. Generally, the higher the intensity within that range, the more calories you burn during exercise, and the more calories you will continue to burn after exercise. Longer duration also burns more calories during exercise and will result in more after exercise calorie burn. Beginners may be advised to gradually work up the intensity and duration to be able to maintain a long duration workout just under the anaerobic threshold.

Above the anaerobic threshold, you can exercise for short sprints (half a minute to a minute typically). Such exercise will feel really hard. A common concept is to do intervals of anaerobic intensity exercise interspersed with low aerobic intensity "active rest" intervals. This is sometimes called high intensity interval training or HIIT. It is considered very effective at burning calories for the amount of time spent, in part because after exercise calorie burn is higher than with aerobic exercise. However, it may not be suitable for beginners or some others (e.g. people with existing heart problems). Beginners with low physical fitness sometimes make the mistake of accidentally going anaerobic and feeling more worn out than they expect after an exercise session, which they may have had to stop earlier than planned.

Note that heavy weight training is similar to HIIT in terms of calorie burn and after exercise calorie burn.

What it all means is that generally, higher intensity is better, though you have a choice of targeting the top of the aerobic zone and doing long duration exercise, or doing anaerobic sprints / HIIT in a given workout. However, be sure that you are medically clear to do higher intensity exercise, since sometimes people with existing heart problems get heart attacks when doing higher intensity exercise (note the phenomenon of "snow shoveling heart attacks" where emergency rooms see many heart attack patients during the first big snow of the season, as otherwise sedentary people do high intensity exercise clearing snow from in front of their houses).

 
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:43 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie - Best heart-rate level for weight loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlhb View Post
Read up on the concept of anaerobic threshold.

Usually your anaerobic threshold is about 80% to 85% of your maximum heart rate, although this can vary from person to person, and maximum heart rate can vary considerably from person to person in comparison to the often used 220 - age approximation.

Below the anaerobic threshold, you can exercise for a long duration. Generally, the higher the intensity within that range, the more calories you burn during exercise, and the more calories you will continue to burn after exercise. Longer duration also burns more calories during exercise and will result in more after exercise calorie burn. Beginners may be advised to gradually work up the intensity and duration to be able to maintain a long duration workout just under the anaerobic threshold.

Above the anaerobic threshold, you can exercise for short sprints (half a minute to a minute typically). Such exercise will feel really hard. A common concept is to do intervals of anaerobic intensity exercise interspersed with low aerobic intensity "active rest" intervals. This is sometimes called high intensity interval training or HIIT. It is considered very effective at burning calories for the amount of time spent, in part because after exercise calorie burn is higher than with aerobic exercise. However, it may not be suitable for beginners or some others (e.g. people with existing heart problems). Beginners with low physical fitness sometimes make the mistake of accidentally going anaerobic and feeling more worn out than they expect after an exercise session, which they may have had to stop earlier than planned.

Note that heavy weight training is similar to HIIT in terms of calorie burn and after exercise calorie burn.

What it all means is that generally, higher intensity is better, though you have a choice of targeting the top of the aerobic zone and doing long duration exercise, or doing anaerobic sprints / HIIT in a given workout. However, be sure that you are medically clear to do higher intensity exercise, since sometimes people with existing heart problems get heart attacks when doing higher intensity exercise (note the phenomenon of "snow shoveling heart attacks" where emergency rooms see many heart attack patients during the first big snow of the season, as otherwise sedentary people do high intensity exercise clearing snow from in front of their houses).
Thanks for the info. Although not particularly fit, I'm able to do around 20 minutes on the cross trainer (turned up a few levels) and my heart rate (its got monitor on) is about 80% or so of my max. During this I sweat a LOT and feel pretty shattered afterwards.

Another exercise I do on the statonary bike, is set it to FAT BURN, which adjusts the resistance so that your heart rate stays at about 65%. I find this pretty easy and could do this much longer - if I didnt get bored (about 30 mins)

So, which exercise is best for me? Admitedly, the second is more fun because it doesnt hurt so much but I dont want to be wasting my time...

 
Old 03-26-2009, 08:06 AM   #4
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Re: Newbie - Best heart-rate level for weight loss

If you are extremely wiped out at what is supposed to be 80% for 20 minutes, you may want to back off the intensity just a bit (see if you can go longer and not feel as wiped out at 75%, for example), since it is possible that you are unintentionally just barely crossing into the anaerobic zone (at that level, you lose endurance, but are not getting the maximum benefit that anaerobic sprint / HIIT training would give). Remember that the percentages of maximum heart rate zones are approximations, and the maximum heart rate formula based on age is also an approximation; your actual heart rate zones may differ.

Looks like the stationary bicycle you are using is using the notion of "fat burning zone", where a high percentage of calories burned come from fat. However, at that lower intensity, the number of total calories burned per amount of time is lower. So it is likely that the higher aerobic intensity not only burns more total calories, but also burns more fat calories even though the percentage of calories burned from fat is lower. Note also that some people find anaerobic sprints / HIIT to be effective at losing body fat, even though anaerobic intensity training uses a much lower percentage of calories from fat. In addition, higher intensity exercise does result in greater post exercise calorie burn.

 
Old 03-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #5
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Re: Newbie - Best heart-rate level for weight loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlhb View Post
If you are extremely wiped out at what is supposed to be 80% for 20 minutes, you may want to back off the intensity just a bit (see if you can go longer and not feel as wiped out at 75%, for example), since it is possible that you are unintentionally just barely crossing into the anaerobic zone (at that level, you lose endurance, but are not getting the maximum benefit that anaerobic sprint / HIIT training would give). Remember that the percentages of maximum heart rate zones are approximations, and the maximum heart rate formula based on age is also an approximation; your actual heart rate zones may differ.

Looks like the stationary bicycle you are using is using the notion of "fat burning zone", where a high percentage of calories burned come from fat. However, at that lower intensity, the number of total calories burned per amount of time is lower. So it is likely that the higher aerobic intensity not only burns more total calories, but also burns more fat calories even though the percentage of calories burned from fat is lower. Note also that some people find anaerobic sprints / HIIT to be effective at losing body fat, even though anaerobic intensity training uses a much lower percentage of calories from fat. In addition, higher intensity exercise does result in greater post exercise calorie burn.
I think I understand what you mean about the fat burning zone.

So, if say I trained at this 65% level, and burned 100 calories, at a fat% of 70% I'd burn 70 'fat' calories.

But if I trained at 80% and for sake of argument burned 150 calories, even though fat% might be lower at 50%, it'd still be 75 'fat' calories.

It seems there is some benefit from the lower intensity although I understand that higher intensity is better. Seems it'd be OK for a light workout though.

 
Old 03-26-2009, 09:07 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie - Best heart-rate level for weight loss

Yes, that's the idea.

Within the aerobic zone, where you can exercise for long periods of time, higher intensity burns more calories both during exercise and afterward. Be sure not to accidentally go into the anaerobic zone and reduce your endurance that way if you want to do a long aerobic workout. Of course, your other option is to intentionally go into the higher end of the anaerobic zone in sprint intervals, interspersed with easy "active rest" intervals between.

 
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