Posted by: Keen | 2009/01/29

Running,weightloss, heart rate

I would like to loose weight by running(inconjunction with light strength training), I have heard that you should try and control your heart rate for optimal/effective weight loss,ie you cant just jump on the tread mill and go for it, there has to be a level of control. Is this true? or can I just run for 20mins and keep increasing time and speed? I am a 25yr old female, weight57kg height 1.57m. I am hoping to loose 5kg in 5 weeks. how should I run based on heartrate and weight loss goals. Also, I dont want to burn out but do want to push myself to achieve goals. I look forward to the reply!

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Our expert says:
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HI Keen

There is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the use of heart rate when it comes to training for fat loss. It is true that at lower exercise intensities, fat is used preferentially instead of carbohydrates, and so in theory, the rate of fat loss is greater at lower intensity. This has led to the idea that training at certain heart rates are better for fat loss. While there is some truth in this, it’s not necessarily the best way – you see, the important thing for fat loss is not so much how much of the energy comes from fat, but rather the total energy used during exercise. This is the way to optimize total fat loss, and this occurs at a slightly higher heart rate.

So, basically, the range for fat burning will be somewhere between 70 and 85% of maximum. Anything higher than this probably does burn more fat, but the problem is that it’s really hard to exercise for long at this high intensity, so the total fat used is lower. Therefore, the aim should be to exercise for 40 to 50 minutes, at a moderate intensity – it just so happens that for most people this is between 70 and 80%. I know that currently, you're at 20 minutes which is perfect. However, I think over time, as you get fitter, you can look to increase this to about 40 minutes. The intensity is dictated by your perception, not necessarily your heart rate.

If you find that it’s really difficult to lift your heart rate, or that your heart rate is too high, but that you can easily keep going for this long, then don’t worry about heart rate anymore – it’s not like you burn less fat. The main thing is to do a session that you can complete feeling tired, but not exhausted, having lasted for 40 minutes
or more.

One last thing - I have to encourage you to avoid getting stuck on numbers, particularly weight. Losing 5kg in 5 weeks when you weigh only 57kg to begin with is really hard. My advice is to focus on fitness - if you get fitter, you'll see progress that counts. But if you focus on those 5kg, then you'll struggle.

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: theflintstones82 | 2009/02/09

ok i started my own walk jog program about 5 weeks ago just starting the 6th week today, i have lost 18lbs and I don' t measure inches its what I see that i need to change, I started at 255lbs I am now 237lbs my goal so far is 200lbs I am a larger framed male have never been skinny or small, but what I want to do is step it up, i am 46yrs old when jogging at 6mph my heart rate average is 155 when walking at 3.7mph my heart rate is 125mph, so what can I do to burn more,also I eat 6 small balanced meals every day all measured etc, to the T, so I am serious about it helpppp lol

Reply to theflintstones82
Posted by: Boyscout | 2009/01/29

Hi Keen

Well done, many people dont realise the importance of heart rate when it comes to burning energy but you do, so you' re already off to a great start!

Do some research on " High Intensity Interval Training"  or HIIT on the net. Experts say this is the best form of cardio to do if you need to shed some kilos.

I use my heart rate monitor to ensure that I dont take it too easy. What I did is measure my maximum heart rate (your monitor should be able to do this automatically) and then in my periods of high intensity i make sure that my heart rate is constantly in the 80 - 90% of my maximum. I then use the slower interval to recover so that I' m ready for the next high intensity interval.

With HIIT you need to keep your sessions shorter, I do 20min a day only.

Doing strength training ie. weights in conjunction with HIIT worked wonders for me. The weight sessions increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR) so that you burn more during the day.

But more importantly you need to eat the right type and amount of food at the right time to keep your metabolism fired. I eat 6 times a day... try every 2 or 3 hours.

Good luck.

Reply to Boyscout

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