Burning Fat and Why Monitoring Heart Rate Matters

If you’ve ever been on a cardio machine before, chances are you’ve noticed something on the control panel indicating target heart rate zones. These different zones claim to help achieve different goals through your exercise routine by aiming for a set heart rate range.

One of the most popular target heart rate zones is the fat-burning zone. It’s thought that in this heart rate range, your body efficiently burns the most fat.

What Is the Fat-Burning Heart Rate Zone?


At rest, the human heart averages at about 60 to 100 beats per minute. With exercise, this rate inevitably increases because the body requires blood to be pumped to various muscles to perform whatever the physical activity requires.

The fat-burning heart-rate zone refers to the heart rate range where your body uses its fat stores for fuel as opposed to sugar or carbs. Generally, your fat burning heart rate is determined by multiplying your maximum heart rate by 50% and 70% [1].

To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 220-30=190 beats per minute.

From there, you can calculate your fat-burning zone by taking your maximum heart rate and multiplying it by 50% (0.5), as well as 70% (0.7). In this example, the individual’s fat-burning range would be between 95 beats per minute and 133 beats per minute [2].

How Much Should You Rely On Your Fat-Burning Heart Rate Zone?

Is using this heart rate technique effective? Some studies indicate that the best heart rate range for burning fat is actually between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate [3].

This may mean that how much fat you burn varies from person to person and that any increased heart rate may aid in burning fat. It also indicates that you shouldn’t fully rely on just your heart rate range to burn fat.

This range can help determine how hard you should be working during your exercises, but you shouldn’t ignore other factors relating to weight loss and body composition.

Usually, a body that has a lower fat percentage has a higher amount of muscle mass because muscle burns more calories at rest. How much muscle mass a person has depends on the activities performed during a workout session.

Strength training with heavier loads and resistance will cause your body to adapt and increase muscle mass. While just performing cardio-related activities won’t have the same effect.

Either way, aiming for a set heart rate can give you an idea of the intensity that should be targeted. Wearing a heart rate monitor, such as a FitBit, may prove beneficial throughout your fat loss journey if you decide to implement this heart rate monitoring method.

Other Factors To Focus On


When it comes to burning fat, exercise and heart rate ranges shouldn’t be your only focus. Nutrition is the true foundation of health.

What you put in your body is what you get out of it. There are also various other factors you should be aware of and include if you want to burn excess fat. These include:

  • Eating a healthy and nutritious diet - Your diet should consist mostly of whole foods over processed foods. This means snacking on vegetables and fruits as opposed to store-bought and pre-packaged food items. Be sure that your macronutrient intake is at a proper balance, including the right amounts of carbs, proteins, and fats.
  • Hydrating throughout your day - Drinking water can help reduce your caloric intake, which can help further weight loss and prevents you from drinking your calories through sugary beverages [4].
  • Making sure you are eating the correct portion sizes - Today’s society gets carried away when it comes to portion sizes. The portions of food you should be eating are likely smaller than you think. If you eat at a restaurant, consider packing up half your meal for lunch the next day.
  • Not relying on quick-fix diets - Decreasing fat and changing your body composition takes time and consistent effort. A quick-fix diet isn’t going to get you to a sustainable place. Go slow and take your time when making appropriate changes to your life.

Use Heart Rate Monitoring as a Tool, Not a Primary Metric

Heart rate monitoring is a great objective measurement to determine how hard you are working during exercise. It can also help track your resting heart rate on a regular basis.

A healthy resting heart rate, as mentioned above, is 60-100 beats per minute. By ensuring your heart rate stays within this range, you are supporting a healthy body and an environment in which fat loss can happen easier.

Consider adding an infrared sauna to the end of your workout routine as well. There’s a reason virtually every gym incorporates them into their locker rooms. They have a myriad of health benefits, one of which includes raising your heart rate, simulating mild cardio.

JNH Lifestyles aims to promote a joyful, natural and healthy life through the use of affordable, easy to install infrared saunas. Check out all our offerings here and see why people love infrared therapy! Happy sweating!


[1] Marcin A. (2019). “What’s A Fat-Burning Heart Rate and How Is It Calculated?” healthline.com, 7 March 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate#:~:text=Heart%20rate%20increases%20during%20exercise,This%20leads%20to%20fat%20loss.

[2] Fletcher J. (2019). “Fat-burning heart rate: Everything you need to know.” medicalnewstoday.com, 9 August 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326002#summary

[3] Carey DG. (2009). “Quantifying differences in the "fat burning" zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training.” pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, J Strength Cond Res., October 2009, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19855335/.

[4] Daniels MC, Popkin BM. (2011). “Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Nutr Rev., 1 September 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929932/.