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Will I burn fat faster if I train above my target heart rate?

The first thing to know is your target training heart rate zones. When you know your zones you will use these zones to establish a cardiovascular training program that is in alignment with what you want and relative to your current fitness levels.

The answer to your question though is generally yes. The higher intensity in which you train the more overall caloric expenditure needed and by default the more fat you burn. Fat is simply calories and the more you burn that are not replaced with food the faster your body fat comes down. Just be safe and listen to your body and then train hard.

Once you find your proper training zones it is best to stay within them as much as possible. This does not mean you can’t push yourself and go over your top zone, but you will need to be careful when you do.  If you are doing a high intensity workout, the goal would be to increase your workload (speed, incline, level, watts) throughout the workout. If you push over your top heart rate early in the workout, you might not be able to finish, or if you are able to finish the workout, your form may be poor and you increase your risk of injury. Your heart rate is a good gauge to prevent you from over training. Heart rate can also help gauge hydration. If your heart rate moves over your top zone too quickly, this could indicate poor hydration and is a sign to reduce your workload. When it comes to burning fat, even though training at high intensities will help improve your metabolism, training too high can put you in an over training state which will then cause you to hit a plateau- which may actually hinder your weight loss. Mixing up your intensities and heart rate zones during the week is the most effective way to train. Trying to push to your heart rate limits every day will have a negative effect over time.

Yes you can lose fat faster by training above your target heart rate, but you need to be careful not to over train and increase any health issues. Meeting with you medical provider to determine any health status should be first on your list. Understanding the cardio zones and the effect each zone has on your cardio and body is very important to the development of your fitness program.

Depending on your fitness status and age, usually reaching your target zone 2 to zone 3 thresholds once or twice a week should be enough for increase fat burning. Remember to excise with care.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.