In Part 1 I took a look at the range of heart rates (HR) that burn the most fat as measured in my own VO2max testing.
A great reason to heart rate training (HRT) is that it takes into account your condition. When I weighed 285 lbs and I was on the couch my heart rate was in the 90’s. Now that I am at 170 lbs my resting heart rate is in the 50’s. When I did the least amount of activity at my heavy weight it would make my heart rate go up quickly. I used to joke that just walking to the fridge made my heart rate go to 130. The problem is, it wasn’t actually a joke. If you are out of shape doing HRT is a great way to take that into account.
So what’s a good method to do this with? I keep bumping into a method called the Maffetone method (White Paper: MAF Exercise Heart Rate – How it can help improve health and sports performance). This method takes 180 and subtracts your age to get your max HR for workouts. The range should be that max HR minus 10 to the max HR.
My Maffetone Numbers
My age is 58. In my case the Maffetone rate is a max HR of 180-58=122 bpm. My training should be done between 112 and 122 bpm. The number almost magically corresponds to my own RER value of 0.7 from my VO2max testing.
At 120 bpm my RER is 0.7 and is starting to rise. Although the RER was lower at lower heart rates that’s not really a relevant point since the higher level is more valuable for training. This is why a morning walk may or may not be a useful thing. If the person isn’t burning much fat because of the lower pace/heart rate they may not be getting their goals (of improved heart health and/or fat loss).