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Heart Rate to Burn Fat

What's the best heart rate to burn fat? The answer is, surprisingly, "It doesn't matter!". You need to forget about fat burning heart rate zones. What a joke. That isn't the real secret to fat loss. Let me explain…

Somewhere in the 80's (a time I call the "dark ages of fat loss fitness"), some fitness guru made the mistake of thinking low-intensity exercise was best for fat burning. They looked at the charts and found that if you exercise at a low intensity and within a specific heart rate zone, then you'd burn proportionately more fat.

But a big piece of a little pie is still a small piece of pie compared to a medium sized piece of a big pie. What does that mean? Let me explain again…

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If you exercise at a high intensity, you will burn a smaller proportion of your calories as fat, that's true. However, you'll also burn many more calories, and that's the key to fat loss. You want to exercise at a high intensity, not a low intensity.


In fact, interval training is the best way to burn fat in a short amount of time. More on that in a second, but first, let's look at a recent study that compared high-intensity cardio with low-intensity exercise (or what I call, "the LIE").

Researchers had one group of subjects do 5 days of LIE cardio and another group did only 2 days of LIE cardio, but also added in 3 days of high intensity cardio. Each group had to burn 400 calories per session.


So the LIE workouts lasted longer, and the high intensity cardio sessions burned 400 calories faster. However, both groups always burned 400 calories through exercise every day. Based on that alone, you'd expect the LIE group to lose more fat because they exercised in their target heart fat burning zone, right?

Well, the results came out the exact opposite. The LIE group didn't lose any belly fat at all, but the high-intensity cardio group did! So only hard exercise burns fat. And hard exercise means higher heart rates than the fat burning zone.

Steve Hays

In another even more important study, researchers from Australia compared slow cardio with interval training. The slow cardio group exercised for 40 minutes and the interval group exercised for only 20 minutes.

Guess who lost more belly fat? It wasn't the slow cardio group! It wasn't the folks who exercised at the so-called best "heart rate to burn fat". Instead, it was the interval group who exercised hard and then had short periods of easy recovery.

The interval training group would have had a heart rate that went up and down, up and down, for the complete workout. It goes to show heart rate doesn't mean too much for fat loss. It's the intensity of exercise that counts.

So if you are doing slow, boring cardio at a specific heart rate because you think that will burn fat better, you're going to be disappointed. The heart rate zone is a joke.

WOMEN: Click here to discover the truth about cardio for fat loss, and why the two components of short, burst exercise workouts have been scientifically proven to better for fat loss and losing your belly fat.

MEN: Click here to uncover the secrets of short workout you can do to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, all while getting in and out of the gym in under 45 minutes only 3 times per week, so that you can get on to more important things in your life.

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