Cardio Heart Rate Zones – What zone burns the most calories?
Let me explain the 3 cardio heart rate zones and find out which zone burns the most calories and is the most effective for fat loss.
Have you ever measured your cardio intensity? Do you think it’s measured by how much you sweat or by your ability to talk while you’re doing cardio? Or do you use the cardio machine’s built-in heart rate monitors?
BEWARE, a lot of the cardio machines that are out there have built-in heart rate monitors and also calorie counters which are NOT always accurate. They usually overestimate how many calories you’re burning, which justifies consuming more food or liquid calories afterwards.
A heart rate monitor or a fitness watch such as a Polar or a Fitbit will help you find out if you’re in the zone. By zone, I am referring to the ideal zone for you. That way you’ll no longer have to guess and waste your time while doing cardio.
Don’t have a Polar or a Fitbit? Read below:
- Stop exercising momentarily.
- Take your pulse for 15 seconds. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery— which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.
- Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats per minute.
Let’s take a look at the different workout intensities and which one burns the most calories!
Low intensity cardio is defined as less than 60% of your maximum heart rate. For me, that is about 100 beats per minute or bpm. On an elliptical machine, based on my age and my weight, I’ll burn about 400 calories per hour. Great for leisure but not so great for burning calories.
Medium intensity cardio or steady state cardio is defined as 60 to 75% of your maximum heart rate. For me, that is about 100 to 130 bpm. I’ll burn approximately 500 calories per hour with this type of cardio. If I hit the elliptical let’s say seven days per week, theoretically I’ll burn a pound of body fat.
High intensity cardio or the aerobic zone is defined as 75-85% of your max heart rate. For me, that is about 130-150 bpm. Now I’m going to burn 600 calories per hour with that intensity.
You’ll get the most from your workouts if you’re exercising at the proper exercise intensity for your health and fitness goals. If you’re not feeling any exertion or your heart rate is too low, pick up the pace. You got to train hard but you also must train strategically. With a steady state cardio, you’re going to burn MORE calories in LESS time!
Inspire to Aspire,
Author & Life Coach
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