Finding Your Ideal Heart Rate Zone: 3 Zone Breakdown
As you go about your cardio workout program, one thing that you should be making sure to take into account is what heart rate level you need to be working at for best results.
While any form of cardio training is definitely going to offer some key fitness benefits, certain levels of cardio training are going to push the boundaries more than others, bringing your fitness level up a notch.
In other cases though, you may not want to push this boundary and may do better working out at a more moderate pace that keeps the heart rate at a lower level.
The ‘Fat Burning Zone’
The first zone to talk about when it comes to your target heart rate is the fat burning zone. Most people think that this is the ideal zone to be in if they want to lose weight, but this isn’t always necessarily the case.
The good thing about the fat burning zone is that it can be used with lower carb diets since you won’t be using glucose as a fuel source. The bad thing about this zone is that it does little to boost your metabolic rate.
The fat burning zone will have you working at a lower intensity level, usually at about 60-75% of your maximum heart rate.
You can figure out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.
The Anaerobic Fitness Zone
The second zone that you may want to think about working in is the anaerobic fitness zone. This zone is much higher and is going to be where the primary fitness benefits are derived. This is the zone that will ensure that you see improvements in your VO2 max conditioning level and that you are burning up body fat for hours after the workout is completed.
That said, this zone is much more intense, so not something that can be easily done by beginners, or that can be used by those on low carb diets. You do need glucose as a fuel source for this zone, so eating some higher carb foods will be important.
This zone will have you working at around 85-95% of your VO2 max.
The Health Zone
Finally, the last zone that you may work in while you perform your cardio training is the health zone. The health zone is essentially going to comprise anything that is below the fat burning zone and that simply gets you up and moving around.
This zone is great for beginners or just those who are looking to add a little more physical activity to their day. If you’re someone who is trying to get in shape or who doesn’t want to be doing intense workout sessions, this is the zone to be working at.
So there you have the vital points to note about which target heart rate zone you should be working at. Look at the overall goals you have set and then select the right zone for you based around that.
For more information on moderate versus high intensity workouts, check out this article.