Heart rate is a measure of how hard your heart is working and thus helps people determine the intensity of a particular workout.
A heart-rate zone that improves cardiovascular fitness is defined as between 55 and 80 percent of maximum heart rate, according to The American College of Exercise. Unless you are training for a figure or body building competition where working in the fat-burning zone exclusively helps you preserve every bit of lean body mass, it is best to focus on improving fitness and calorie burn with varying levels of intensity.
I get a lot of questions about the “Fat Burning Zone” versus the “Cardio Zone” from people using exercise equipment.
When you work your body harder, your heart beats faster and your body turns to different fuel sources when working at various levels of intensity.
The maximal heart rate is age dependent, for as we grow older, the heart beats a little more slowly. A less-conditioned individual may see benefits to her heart health at the lower levels of this recommended zone while an athlete needs to work at a higher intensity to improve fitness. The benefit of working in the fat-burning zone is that you target stored fat and thus encourage weight loss.

In this study, significant overlap between the fat burning and cardio zones existed, indicating that a person working within 60 and 80 percent of maximal heart rate is likely to be maximizing fat oxidation. If you choose to work in the lower range of the cardio zonethe fat-burning zonebe prepared to work out longer to burn enough calories to affect weight loss. It makes sense that people seeking to lose weight would want to maximize fat loss, so oftentimes they strive for a heart-rate level that falls within the fat burning zone. The fat-burning zone occurs at the lower end of the cardio zonebetween 55 and 70 percent of maximum heart rate. But, keep in mind, that if you work in a higher zone, you burn a greater amount of calories overallwhich is important to weight loss.
Incorporating high cardio and lower cardio zone exercise into a workout routine will offer the most aerobic and weight loss benefit. When working at this intensity, a greater percentage of calories burned comes from stored fat. Although a lower percentage of these calories will come from fat sources, the total number of fat calories burned will likely be the same or greater.

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Take, for example, a person who burns 100 calories in a 15-minute walk at a heart rate of 55 percent of maximum. The last 10 tips are EXCLUSIVE to the book so if you want them, you’ll have to buy the book!
However, a person who runs those same 15 minutes and burns 200 calories may burn only 50 percent of those calories from fat, but will burn a total of 100 fat calories in the same amount of time.

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