Heart rate really isn't htat important for weight loss. yes, it IS true that you burn a higher percentage of fat at lower heart rates. HOWEVER! (And this is a big, all caps however) www.sparkpeople.com/community/ask_the_expe
What matters isn't the percentage of fat burned, but the overall calories burned. By not challenging yourself, you are wasting valuable time! If you're like most of us, you don't have hours to spend at the gym. Working out at a lower heart rate burns fewer calories in the amount of time you have, and thus you lose less weight (and consequently, less fat) overall. If you burn only 100 calories in the "fat burning zone" versus 200 in the "cardio zone", you will lose weight more slowly... and thus, fat more slowly. Make sense?
If you want the absolute BEST fat-burning workout, you need to do two things:
1) Intervals! Intervals challenge you, get your heart pumping, and are far more effective and interesting than steady-state cardio. No one wants to run on a treadmill for hours. Intervals engage your brain and challenge your muscle.
2) Strength training! No matter what kind of cardio you are doing, no matter what your heart rate is, you will burn muscle as well as fat. This is tragic, because less muscle = less fat loss. Strength training preserves the lean muscle you have, limiting your muscle loss, and even better, boosting your metabolism by strengthening your muscles! This means more calories burned all day... and more fat loss!
If you do NOT strength train, you could find yourself in an unpleasant state known as "skinny fat" - where you don't weigh a lot, but you have a high body fat percentage. IF you're not strength training, it's time to start, no excuses. And don't worry about that whole "I don't want to get bulky" thing... you're a female (I presume, forgive me if I'm wrong) and therefore you do not have the ability to get bulky. Even most men don't, unless they specifically train like a body builder, eating at a calorie surplus, and lift extreme weights for long periods of time over months and years.
Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 2/6/2013 (11:22)