Cardio for Weight Loss – Find the Right Heart Rate

This article will help you to Determine the best heart rate to lose weight.

To do this, you will learn to take into account your current abilities and your age. This will make it easier for you to adapt your training program.

It is very important to understand this point if your goal is to do cardio to lose weight. Indeed, millions of novice athletes think that all they need to do to lose weight is move a little.

But it's not always that simple.

To begin with, consider the fact that fat loss depends primarily on a good diet. And here I'm not referring to any particular crash diet, but just good habits to keep from being overweight.

Otherwise, all your efforts will be useless, or almost, and you will end up discouraged...

Determine your goal and heart rate to lose weight

Cardio to lose weight - Finding the right heart rate to lose weight

Your goals can be very different: to lose weight, to become more enduring, to gain muscle mass or simply to have a dry and muscular body.

But whatever they are, tracking your heart rate during your workouts will help you reach your goals more effectively.

The best way to do this is to equip yourself with a connected fitness watch or an activity tracker.

In fact, your heart rate is an indicator of 2 important things:

  1. Your current cardiac capacity, therefore the health status of your heart;
  2. The intensity of your weight training or fitness sessions.

And in order for these indications to be as reliable as possible for you, you must first determine your maximum heart rate (MHR).

This is your maximum number of heartbeats per minute during exercise.

To keep it simple, you normally subtract your age from the number 220 if you are a man, 226 if you are a woman, 2172 if you are a gnome 😉


  • If you are a 30 year old woman, calculate 226 - 30 = 196. In this case, 196 is your MHR.
  • If you are a 35 year old male, calculate 220 - 35 = 185. In this case, 185 is your MHR.

I don't have any gnomes among my readers at the moment, so I'll leave the subject aside.

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Of course, this is not an exact science, but this average value is relatively reliable.

From this number, you will apply a percentage, depending on your goal and your current capabilities, during your workout. You will then determine your zone, i.e. your target heart rate.

The right heart rate to lose weight

The important topic of this article is this: What is the best cardio frequency to lose weight?

In fact, there are several interesting heart rate zones to get there.

Here they are, in order of difficulty...

1. Fat burning zone

Yes, there is what is called the burning or fat-burning zone. This is the level of activity during which your body particularly destroys fat to transform it into energy.

What is interesting, especially for beginners, is that this area is relatively accessible. All you have to do is to reach 60 to 70% of your FCM.

The difficulty, however, is to stay in this area for 30 to 60 minutes during each fitness session to burn enough calories.

You can do this quite easily by doing elliptical, of rower apartmentrunning at a fairly slow pace, or walking at a fast pace. Nordic's walk. You will keep a steady pace, but not intense.

Normally, in this heart rate zone to lose weight, you should be sweating during your workout, but you'll still be able to hold a conversation without getting out of breath. So maybe not at first, but you'll get there...

The important thing is to have this physical activity at least 4 to 5 times a week.

To be quite honest with you, this way of do some cardio keeping a steady pace is pretty exhausting in the long run. But, that's the price you have to pay if you want to prepare your body to do more and better in the months to come.

Your long-term goal will be to progressively reach the following 2 heart rate zones to increase your results.

2. Aerobic zone

At this level of cardio exercise for weight loss, you need to achieve 70 to 80% of your FCM.

Your heart rate will be more stressed, and if you do sessions on a elliptical or a rowing machine, you will keep a more sustained rhythm.

The benefit of this area is that you will improve your strength and endurance, while continuing to shed the extra pounds. 


3. HIIT or anaerobic zone

This is the ideal heart rate for lose fatthat's for sure.

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But beware, it's not for beginners, even if you're used to working out. What we call HIIT is high intensity interval training.

The objective is to go up to 80 or 90% from your FCM for about 30 seconds of exercise, then drop back down to the 60% zone, then back up again. So you need to constantly alternate anaerobic zone and recovery phase in the fat burning zone.

This technique is particularly effective for losing weight because of a phenomenon called post-combustion or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

It has the advantage of allowing:

  • a rapid burning of fat during the sport session itself;
  • post-combustion due in particular to the acceleration of the metabolism during 36 to 48 hours after the training.

You will therefore continue to burn calories 1 to 2 days after the end of your session, when you will only do 3 to 4 sessions of 30 minutes maximum per week.

ATTENTION: This advanced super heart rate to lose weight is not for everyone.

You must first have progressed, perhaps for many months, from the fat burning zone to the aerobic zone.

Once you have mastered the aerobic zone, gradually begin to reach the anaerobic zone. When you're in this high heart rate zone, you can't talk during your workout. You can't! 

Develop your muscles in addition to cardio to lose weight

As specialists often point out, there is no more effective way to lose fat than to combine intense cardio and weight training. Indeed, muscles burn calories, even at rest. Building muscle volume is an excellent way to enhance your efforts to lose weight.

I'm not telling you to become muscular like bodybuilders. No, but at least to have a balanced and toned bodybuilding, whether you are a guy (Chouchou) or a girl (Loulou) 😉

To achieve this, subscribe to my free newsletter (below) to receive the first phase of the fitness program over 3 months. He will give you the fundamental techniques to achieve this. 

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