If you took a poll of why most people workout on cardio equipment, 90% or more will tell you they want to lose weight or tone up (which you have to lose fat to tone up). So out of those people how many to you think heart rate train? Not many, some know what their heart rate is, but don’t know where it should really be. So that is not helping them achieve their fat loss goal in the most efficient way possible. If I asked you if you wanted to lose 400 fat calories out of 600 calories burned in an hour workout versus losing only 150 fat calories out of 800 total calories burned in an hour; which would you choose?! Hands down you would pick 400! Well then why aren’t people doing this during their workouts? It is because they do not heart rate train. All your top athlete’s heart rate train and that is because they work with exercise physiologists which know how to get them to reach their top potential in the shortest amount of time possible.

This best and most accurate way to test your heart rate is by getting a Vo2 max test done. This can cost around \$100-250. For zero cost I can get you close to your actually anaerobic threshold hold using a formula or a self perceived test. The formula is as follows: 180-your age. Take that number and add 10 if you exercise 4+ times a week for the last few years, the number stays the same if you exercise 2-3 times a week for the past year, and you subtract 10 if you have not been exercising. For the self perceived test: Hop on a treadmill and warm up for 3-5 minutes then go up to a comfortable speed for 5 more minutes then go up in speed every minute until you reach the point of heavy breathing. At this point make note of what your heart rate is and this is your Anaerobic Threshold. As I mentioned earlier you have 5 heart rate zones.

Zone 1 = Warm-up/Easy
Zone 2 = Aerobic Development/Medium
Zone 3 = Aerobic Development/Hard (the top of this zone is your Anaerobic Threshold)
Zone 4 = Anaerobic Endurance/ Very hard
Zone 5 = Speed & Power/Extremely Hard (You can usually only stay in this zone for 30sec-1min at a time)

Example of the Zone Chart

ZonesHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart RateHeart Rate
Zone 5132138143149154160165171176182187193198204209
Zone 4132138143149154160165171176182187193198204209
Zone 4120125130135140145150155160165170175180185190
Anaerobic Threshold120125130135140145150155160165170175180185190
Zone 3120125130135140145150155160165170175180185190
Zone 3108113117122126131135140144149153158162167171
Zone 2108113117122126131135140144149153158162167171
Zone 28488919598102105109112116119123126130133
Zone 18488919598102105109112116119123126130133
Zone 172757881848790939699102105108111114

Also, the more cardiovascularly fit you get, the higher your anaerobic threshold gets. So I would recommend testing your Anaerobic Threshold every 6-8 weeks. To burn the largest amount of fat calories, work out in zones 2-3 for the majority of your work outs. To move your Anaerobic Threshold up and improve cardiovascular endurance, train in zones 4-5 once or twice a week. If you train in zones 4-5 more that twice a week I would recommend taking a rest day or an active rest day which means working out in zones 1-2. Now that you have the tools to work out more effectively let’s get moving!