Applying the Heart Rate Zones to Exercise

Applying the Heart Rate Zones to Exercise

Recently, I identified the fact that the best exercise for you is defined as the activity that you will consistently engage in for 20-30 minutes or more.  And one you will do and will feel both physically and psychologically confident doing.  Before getting into the specifics regarding the various choices that you can make, it is important that you understand the role that “heart rate zones” play in exercise. 

I believe it is always beneficial for all body types to train in your training zone at least 3 times per week in order to strengthen your cardiovascular system and burn stored fat.  Some body types need to add additional cardio training to their daily routine to help manage their body fat percentage.

There are five target heart rate zones.

The first zone, healthy heart zone, is usually at 50-60%.  Walkers tend to stay in this zone and as you guessed you can walk for long durations of time and achieve maximum fat burn.  In this zone you usually burn 10% carbs, 5% protein and 85% fat.

The second zone is a fitness zone working at 60-70%.  You tend to burn more calories per minute.  Joggers might typify this category.  Keep in mind that the total calories burned depend on distance traveled, your body weight as well as other environmental factors.  The fuel is about the same 10% carbs, 5% protein and 85% from fat.

The next zone is the aerobic zone. The Heart rate is 70-80% and you are working at a high intensity that will only allow you to speak in short choppy phrases.  You will continue to burn more calories per minute and the fuel source is 50% carbs, <1% protein and 50% from fat.

The anaerobic threshold zone is next.  This is working at 80-90% of your maximum heart rate.  At this rate you are not talking.  This training method is usually done in intervals or circuit training.  The fuel source is 85% carbs, 15% fat and <1% protein.

The last zone is usually called the “red zone” for obvious reasons.  You will be working at 90-100% capacity.  This zone does burn a lot of calories but 90% are usually from carbs, 10% fat and <1% protein.

There are devices that you can wear while you work out that help you identify if you are working in your personal training zone.  Prices can range from $40 to $400. 

Choosing the “best activity” is important since you have the capacity to maximize the number of calories you burn per hour during the duration of the exercise.  Again, the best activity is the one you will do and will feel both physically and psychologically confident doing.  Here is a list of some activities and the calories they burn to help maximize your health and fitness benefits for your determined body type.





Aerobics high impact 




Aerobics low impact 








Cycling 10 mph 




Jump Rope 




Running 8 mph 








Tennis singles 




Walking 3.5mph 




Weight Lifting 




Always remember, your cave people ancestors didn’t last much past 30 and they didn’t have much opportunity to develop heart disease, high blood pressure or runaway triglycerides.  They succumbed as victims of a hostile environment or died of one of many rampart pathogens.  They didn’t need to exercise for health but YOU DO.   Get busy with those j20 workouts!




Published by Sadie

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