Calculate Your Training Heart Rate Zones

Calculate Your Aerobic Training Heart-Rate Range for Fat Burning

This fat-burning range will lie between 50 and 75 percent of your heart-rate reserve.

Using the example above, 50 percent of 100 beats per minute is 50. And 75 percent of 100 is 75. Next, add your resting heart rate to both numbers: 50 + 80 = 130 and 75 + 80 = 155. Your heart rate during aerobic training that will most efficiently burn fat is 130 to 155 beats per minute.

More: The Myth of the Fat-Burning Zone

Calculate Your Aerobic Training Heart Rate for Fitness

The range required to improve aerobic endurance is higher than that needed for fat burning, between 75 and 85 percent of your heart-rate reserve.

Again using the previous example, 75 percent of the heart-rate reserve of 100 is 75, and 85 percent is 85. Again, add the resting heart rate to both numbers.

Re-add your resting heart rate to both numbers: To improve your aerobic endurance, you need to aim for between 155 and 165 heartbeats per minute.

More: 4 Tips for Using a Power Meter Wisely

Calculate Your Aerobic-Anaerobic Threshold Heart-Rate Range

This range represents the upper limits of aerobic exercise—the point just before you push yourself into exhaustive anaerobic work. Exercising at this intensity is usually done to improve athletic performance. It is not recommended for weight loss.

The range to accomplish this task lies between 85 and 90 percent of your heart-rate reserve. Again, using the example of a person with a heart-rate reserve of 100 and following the same math process as in previous steps: the desired range would be 165 to 170 beats per minute.

Be advised, however, operating at this intensity level will not burn body fat. It becomes a carbohydrate (muscle-glycogen burning) exercise.

More: Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise: Which Is Best to Burn More Fat?

Calculate Your Anaerobic Training Heart-Rate Range

This is all-out effort and represents 90 to 100 percent of the cushion of your heart-rate reserve. The goal here is to go as fast as you can for as long as you can.

Using the same example, anything from 170 beats per minute to your maximum of 180 beats per minute becomes pure anaerobic, carbohydrate-burning, exhaustive, lactic acid-producing exercise.

This is no-pain, no-gain type training.

More: 3 Interval Training Plans to Build Fitness Fast

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John Bobalik is an exercise physiologist and coordinator of Purdue University Calumet's Fitness Center. Contact him at

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