What heart rate zone do I need to be in to burn fat?
The simple answer to this is… there isn’t one!!
As trainers we often get asked “will I burn fat if I’m working outside of my ‘fat burning heart rate zone’”. No matter whether your working IN or OUT of your ‘fat burning heart rate zone’ you will still burn calories when you workout. Its down to the intensity at which you work that determines the amount of calories you’ll burn! Therefore, if you do a very high intensity workout you’ll burn a higher amount of calories and a lower intensity you’ll burn slightly less.
While it’s true that the relative percent of fat burned will go down, the total amount of fat burned stays the same or goes up. So if you want to push yourself more and exercise over your heart rate zone, go ahead as long as you’re healthy, in good shape, and are comfortable with exercising at a higher level. Heart rate zones are only an estimate. They are not carved in stone.
The exception is if you’ve had heart problems, you’ve had a negative treadmill stress test, and/or you’ve been told by your doctor not to exceed your training heart rate. But this is for heart health, not because of some fat-burning myth.