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 Post subject: heart rate monitor for fat loss?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:32 pm 
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I wasn't sure where to put this so here goes....does anyone have experience of using heart rate monitors for fat loss? I've been learning about fat burning training zones for cardio and i am wondering if its worth me buying a heart rate monitor. Currently doing a program of weights and cardio (brisk walking).

I've been told to stick close to 130bpm but have no idea if i am close to that when i do my cardio (brisk walking). So I guess what I'm asking is

1. Is brisk walking good for fat loss (over jogging/running)?
and 2. Is a heart rate monitor worth the investment?

Thanks in advance! :)


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 Post subject: Re: heart rate monitor for fat loss?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:43 pm 
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Sorry this is going to answer your questions in a somewhat round about way.

When you exercise at a lower intensity your body uses a higher % fat as its primary fuel. As you up the intensity the body uses a smaller % of fat as a fuel. Because of this you will hear the recommendation to do lower intensity over higher intensity and at face value this totally makes sense but there is another factor here and that is calories burned over time. When you do lower intensity work you burn fewer calories than you would doing higher intensity work over the same time frame. So lets assume a person does two workouts. One is a 30 minute walk and one is a 30 min run. For the walk they burn 200 calories. Of these 70% come from fat for a total of 140 calories. Now for the run they end up burning 300 calories. Because of the intensity the ratio of fat used drops to 60% but that still ends up being 180 calories which is almost 30% more fat calories burned than the lower intensity workout.

Assume the same person did 30 min walk workout and a 20 min walk workout. For they walk they burned 200 calories and because the used more fat as fuel 70% of those calories were from fat totaling 140 calories of fat used. For the run they burned 300 calories because of the higher intensity and the fat ratio went down to 60%. That would be a net of 180 calories of fat uses. So even though the ratio of fat burned down you still burn more fat if you up the intensity.

Now is running of jogging better than brisk walking for fat loss? Yes and no. Mathematically it is without a doubt better. The thing is a lot of people really hate running/jogging and so they end up not doing it regularly and cutting workouts short. So a walk done is going to be much better than a run skipped. If you don't like running just stick with the walking. Also remember that diet is far more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss.

Now for the HRM question. You can certainly optimize workouts with one but I think they offer more for people working on performance goals than weight loss goals. The 130 bpm thing is just a guess so if you are using that number you are really just as good not using one at all. To really get the most out of a HRM you would want to find your lactate threshold, figure out what your five training zones are and get a HRM that allows you to program those in.

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 Post subject: Re: heart rate monitor for fat loss?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:44 am 
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thank you vegantri for the reply. I dont mind jogging, I find it more fun than brisk walking, however I cant do it everyday, 2-3 times a week max. With the jogging, then cooling down and stretching I find it takes more time than a brisk walk which i can fit in before breakfast quite easily every morning.

Before I went to see my trainer i was jogging for fat loss but its something my trainer told me to stop to focus on brisk walking, who suggested 130bpm.

How does one find out their lactate threshold?


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 Post subject: Re: heart rate monitor for fat loss?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:17 pm 
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Here is how I do it. I strap on my HRM and go to a 400 meter track. I start with a 10 minute warm up at a pretty easy pace. Once the warm up is done I start doing a pace of 70-80 seconds a half lap. Every half lap I pick up the pace a little bit until I can't go any faster and have to give up. Note my HR and that is my threshold. It isn't as scientific as lab testing but works fine.

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