Myth: You must stay in a certain heart rate zone to burn fat

This is rubbish. If only it was that simple. Some of the old-school cardio machines have 'fat burning zones' written on them. Again, these have since been proven to be rubbish. Our bodies are a lot more complex than this. Different ethnicities, body shapes, age, genetic make-up etc can all affect your heart rate.

Heart rate can be a great way to track the efficiency of your heart whilst training (e.g. a lower heart rate on an exercise test would signify that your heart is more efficient in that test than a previous test) and some also believe that a lower resting heart rate signifies improved fitness. However, using heart rate for fat burning purposes is discouraged and will not help you shed the fat. 

Recent research highlights the benefits of a combination of high intensity interval weight and cardio training for shedding body fat. However, it takes quite a lot of time to condition the body for this type of training.

It should also be mentioned that if you are trying to tone up and shed fat the most important aspect is your nutrition/diet.

Health and Fitness Testing NZ Tips:

Use heart rate to track fitness not burn fat

Perform high intensity interval weight and cardio training if you are trying to shed fat/lose weight (to avoid injury > 12 months training history is recommended for this type of training)

Get your diet sorted. Seek help from a qualified dietician or nutritionist. If someone doesn't have these qualifications then specific nutritional advice may be harmful to your long-term health

Peter Halstead                                                

MPhty, PGDipSportMed, BSpEx, MPNZ