Zones: How to Burn Fat

How to Burn Fat

Here’s a little story about a client of mine who lives near me in Cambridgeshire.  He wanted to lose weight but was struggling, despite recently having joined a slimming club and he was going to the gym four nights a week. He’d being doing this for the last three or four weeks, was off the alcohol, was eating all the right stuff, yet despite all his hard work he had not lost one pound. I have heard this so many times and you can understand why so many people join a gym with good intentions only to get disillusioned and give up going after a month or two.  He contacted me after searching for ‘gym equipment to hire in Cambridge‘ in Google and I’ve been able to help him achieve his goals by recognising which ‘zone’ he should be working in.

I asked him what he was doing at the gym; he normally has a good warm up first before going hell for leather and burning as many calories as he could in the 60-90 minutes he would spend in the gym.

I asked if he knew what zone he was in “well I normally spend 30 minutes running on the treadmill the one behind the entrance door, and then I spend some time on the bike, cross trainer then normally finish off on the rower at the other side of the room”. This wasn’t quite what I meant by zone.

I explained that I was referring to his heart rate zone, he still looked lost.

Alright let’s start at the beginning

Do you know your maximum heart rate, if you don’t you can use the formula 220 minus your age to give you an estimated maximum heart rate. In his case he is fifty years of age so his max heart rate would be 220-50=170

So now let’s break that maximum heart rate of 170 down in to five work out zones

Very Light
Between 50-60%      of your maximum heart rate        85-102ppm
Between 50-60%      of your maximum heart rate        102-119ppm
Between 70-80%      of your maximum heart rate        119-136ppm
Between 80-90%      of your maximum heart rate       136-153ppm
Between 90-100%    of your maximum heart rate       153-170ppm


Working in the different zones will give different results.

Very Light
You will improve your overall health and help your body recover
You will burn fat and improve endurance
Improves your aerobic fitness
Will increase your ability to sustain high intensity for longer
Should only be done for short periods but will help reach maximum performance and speed

In the light zone you will burn fat and improve your endurance
Moderate zone improves your aerobic fitness.
The hard zone will increase your ability to sustain high intensity for longer.
Hitting the maximum zone should only be done for short periods but will help you to reach maximum performance and speed.

I asked him what he was aiming to achieve. His first aim was to lose some weight and secondly improve his general health.

By going hell for leather in the gym he was probably working in the hard to maximum zone, although he was getting the benefit of improved fitness he was burning calories to produce muscle which will not result in weight loss.

I suggested he first needed to monitor his heart rate while exercising and then concentrate in the zones which will target his objectives, lose weight and improve fitness, zones light too moderate.

He asked if he could hire gym equipment from me and once he started training in the right zone he was able to burn fat and started to see the weight coming off; as it did he felt stronger, fitter and eventually able to step up to the higher zones without feeling like a washed out rag at the end of his training session.  He hired a treadmill and a cross trainer.

If you have a heart condition, in cardio rehab or suffer from high blood pressure check with your doctor first as this can reduce your maximum heart rate and thus the target zones.

If you’d like some help too, please give me a call on 0800 612 6822

Les Walsh,

Hire Fitness, Cambridge