If you are like most people starting out with an exercise program then you may not quite understand what your Target Heart Rate is and why it’s important.  Most Health and Fitness Experts recommend that you exercise within 55% to 85% of your Target Heart Rate in order to get the best results from your exercise program.  But how do you figure out what your Target Heart Rate is?

Checking your heart rate is a great way to determine if your exercise program is either causing you to be under trained or over trained.  You see if you are not reaching 55% to 85% of your Target Heart Rate then you are either not getting the full benefit from your training or you are reaching an period of over training.  Your MHR determines the highest output of your cardiovascular system.  If you fall below the 55% range then you will not benefit from the exercise program you are doing.  If you are over the 85% maximum then you can enter in to a state of over training which can cease your progress quickly.

One of the easiest ways to determine your Maximum Heart Rate is to subtract your age from 220.  The formula looks like this; 220-age=Target Heart Rate.  If you are 45 years old then your target heart rate would be 175.  This is true whether you are a male or female.  Your Targeted Heart Rate does not change whether you are in great shape or just starting out.  You cannot train your Targeted Heart Rate.  This means that your targeted heart rate does not change from beginner to advanced level of fitness.

So then since becoming more fit does not affect your Targeted Heart Rate what does it do?  What happens as you get more fit is your body can handle more of a work load at your maximum targeted heart rate.  You can exercise more intensely, push heavier weight, run longer or faster.

But you may want to focus on having your heart rate at the higher level, closer to the 85% of the maximum, in order to burn more calories which in turn will help you lose more fat.  You see there is a zone within the lower portion of the 55%-85% equation.  Some experts said that the “Fat-Burning Zone” is closer to the 55%-75% range.  This estimation would mean that you would burn less calories at the smaller range than going all out at the maximum.  In essence you would burn more fat by training at a lower level for a longer period of time.

When your body is looking for energy to complete a rigorous training program it looks for the easiest substance to break down for a quicker energy supply.  This ends up being your stored carbohydrates or glycogen.  This is what your body looks for when you are training at 85% of your Targeted Heart Rate.  But these supplies run out quickly so your body will look for the next easiest substance to break down which would be fats.  So for those of you who are into long distance running should have a fats source for energy so that your body can remain energy full to complete the task.

But when we are talking about fat loss then we are talking about burning calories.  The healthiest way to lose body fat is to make sure that you are burning more calories than you are taking in.  This means that when you are ready for bed your body should be at a calorie deficit.   This is why it is important to burn more calories by training at a Targeted Heart Rate of 85% of your maximum heart rate.

There are many training programs that will help keep you in the calorie burring zone that can last several hours after you are done training.  This is why it is so important to hire a qualified Fitness Coach so they can develop a program that will keep you burning calories throughout the day.

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