When it comes to weight loss, we’ve been conditioned to believe that hard work equals success, and we believe this to be true in all of life, including the gym. The harder you work therefore the greater the reward.
But the truth might actually surprise you: working harder does not necessarily mean more weight lost.
High intensity exercise is great for cardiac and athletic conditioning and building endurance, but in order to lose weight – you’ll want to exercise in your fat-burning zone and that happens at a lower level of physical intensity than you might think.
In order to determine what your personal fat-burning zone is, you’ll first need to figure out your maximum heart rate. Use this formula:
Max Heart Rate = 220 – Your Age
Let’s use the MyZone color scale to better understand heart rate zones, based on your maximum heart rate.
Each color represents a percentage of your maximum heart rate. That means if your maximum heart rate is 200, and you’re working out and your heart is beating 100 times per minute, that’s 50% of your maximum heart rate, and that puts you in the grey zone.
So what are the different zones good for?
GRAY = Optimal for Resting Heart Rate Zone and Cool Down Zone
BLUE = Optimal for Cool Down and Warm Up Zones
GREEN = Optimal for Warm Up Zone and Low Intensity Exercise
YELLOW = FAT BURNING ZONE (which means weight loss!)
RED = High Intensity Exercise
This is an “average” of the heart rate zones, so if you’re new to fitness, you’re likely to experience that fat burning, or weight loss, effect in the green zone, and as your fitness level improves so will your body’s response to the various heart rate zones.
How can you tell if you’re in the zone? There are two options: the no-tech approach and the tech-solution.
The no-tech approach involves some math in addition to a clock. First of all, figure out what 81% of your maximum heart rate is and what 90% of your maximum heart rate is. This is the range you want to be in while exercising for maximum fat loss. Now, every 10 minutes, take your pulse for 20 seconds and triple that number – in the zone? Good. No? Then you simply adjust your intensity level to get in the zone.
Most of us prefer the tech approach, especially with all the great fitness wearables. Use a device that calculates your heart rate and keep an eye on your numbers while working out. Even better? Use the MyZone Effort Tracker paired with your smart phone and glance at the app periodically to ensure your display is yellow. Tracking your heart rate for maximum fat loss during exercise can really be that simple!
At Elevate Fitness clubs, we’ve partnered with FitMetrix which allows you to pair your own fitness wearable (no need to buy our monitors, see a list of compatible devices here) with our exclusive Elevate Fitness app available download in Google Play and the App Store) and track your workouts and progress.
This is the MyZone Effort Monitor (a really cool, and inexpensive heart-rate monitor) and here are our five favorite things about it:
1. You can see exactly how many calories you burn during a workout or a class and therefore know which workouts are most effective. Instead of using predictive measurements taken at the wrist like a lot of fitness trackers, this is tracking your actual heart rate activity and that makes the data super accurate. (We recommend that you use Myfitnesspal to track calories in and MyZone to track calories out and aim for a deficit every day). As a result you don’t have to guess or trust your gut.
2. MEPs – an MEP is a MyZone Effort Point – the harder you work, the more points you earn. You’ll be constantly trying to set new records and do whatever you can to increase your MEPs score, which means you’ll always be pushing yourself harder = better workouts (this concept is based on gamification theory, which you can read more about here)!
3. Your trainer can log in and see your numbers and your numbers won’t lie to your trainer about how many workouts you did last week, or how hard you pushed during those workouts (and that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what those numbers say)!
4. Your friends can motivate you and MyZone has a social component. Your friends and workout buddies can like and comment on your workouts and can even use the app to challenge each other for bragging rights (or to see who’s buying the first round this weekend).
5. Unlike our ex’s, numbers don’t lie so at the end of the day, if you manage your numbers, you’re guaranteed results. Trust in the math and the weight loss will follow.
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