How to set max HR, & fat burning zone...

Firstly apologies if this is a very simple thing to do and I'm being dim but I'm a little baffled with my new heart rate monitor watch.

I have been given a Polar FS2c heart rate monitor watch and I want to work out my max and min HR levels so that I can enter them into the watch and use the setting that alerts you if you are over or under those levels. I want to be within the fat burning zone as I run mainly to control my weight so here are my questions...

What is the opt heart rate level zones for fat burning?...

How do I work out my max heart rate? I am 26 so....220 - 26 = 194 correct?...

II just strapped it on and ran yesterday without any prep and my avg HR was 155 and max was 177 does that sound right?...

 Sorry for all the questions but I have no running buddies to ask who know about this

Thanks image


  • Don't know about the fat burning  zones, but your max HR is the highest one that your HR reaches upon exertion.

    177 could be right, but it may not be your true max as it depends on how hard you were pushing yourself yesterday.

    A lot of people say that you can calculate it by adding this, subtracting that etc, but the only real value is a  test where you push yourself and see what yours registers.

    And pushing it means bust-a-gut, gasping at the endimage.

    One suggested method is a hill test - find a decent hill (200 - 300 yds distance) run up it at full pelt, turn around at the top, jog down and repeat until you've done it 5 times in total.  Check your HRM for your max reading during that session.

    If you don't have any hills around, then another way is to find a stretch of road/track/pavement etc, same distance and run backwards and forwards (non-stop though!) 5 times, or, a stretch about 1/2m long and run it as fast as you can.  Again, check your HR at the end and see what your max showed.

    But however you do it, make sure you warm up beforehand - don't do these type of exercises "cold".

    Hope this helps.

  • ChloboChlobo ✭✭✭

    ah ok thank you I will do that next time I go out to get my actual max HR for now I have just used to standard equation, I think this is correct...

    220 - 26 = 194

    60% of 194 = 116 min HR

    70% of 194 = 135 max HR

    exercising between 60-70% should burn fat......fingers crossed!!!! image

  • The "fat burning zone" is a bone of contention, and widely regarded to be a load of bunkem, there are reports showing that you actually burn more fat at high intesity than at low intensity.
  • The "fat burning zone" is nonsense.

    It is based on the fact that exercising at lower HR uses a greater proportion of calories taken from fat compared to calories taken from carbohydrates.

    There are two things wrong with it:

    1) in the long term it's the total number of calories burned that is important. To lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit i.e. total calories used up is greater than total calories consumed as food. It wont make any difference if the calories burned during exercise come from fat or carbohydrate.

    2) The "fat burning zone" theory says that you should run slowly as this burns a higher percentage of fat than running fast. If you believe this then you should really walk, as this burns higher percentage of fat than running slowly. But sitting watching TV burns a higher percentage of fat than walking, so you should just watch TV instead. In fact staying bed burns a higher percentage of fat than watching TV!

    Here are some numbers I copied from another website:


    Calories Burned

    Fat Percentage

    Calories from Fat

    Watching TV for 20 minutes

    40 calories

    60 percent

    24 calories

    Walking for 20 minutes

    100 calories

    65 percent

    65 calories

    Jogging & sprinting for 20 minutes

    250 calories

    40 percent

    100 calories

  • ChloboChlobo ✭✭✭
    ok thanks guys I have been looking around online and it seems odd to think that by goiing slower I will burn more fat.....I think I'll just stick to running at the pace I feel comfortable at and use the watch as a timer
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