In the Zone: The Secret to Burning Fat

Ever wonder how hard you need to workout in order to burn fat and see results? You must be in what’s called your “target heart rate” zone. In order to calculate your target heartrate, subtract 220 from your age, then multiply that number by 60% and 80%. These two numbers represent the target heartrate zone you must be in when you’re participating in any cardiovascular exercise.

For example, I am 39 years old. I subtract 39 from 220, which gives me 181. Then I multiply 181 by 60% and 80%, which gives me 108.6 and 144.8. These two numbers are my target heartrate zone, which means my heart must beat between 108.6 and 144.8 beats per minute in order for me to burn fat.

The simplest way to test your heartrate is, after you’ve been exercising for about 15 minutes, to place your pointer and middle fingers beside the side of your neck until you feel your carotid artery. Then count the number of times your heart beats for 20 seconds and multiply that number by 3. This number will equal how many beats per minute your heart is beating and whether or not you’re in your target heartrate zone.

Another way you’ll know you’re in your target heartrate zone is how much you’re sweating while doing your exercise. If you’re sweating profusely from your forehead, chest area, back, etc., then you’re definitely in the zone! So have fun and remember, if you need to burn fat and want the best results, be in your target heartrate zone!

– Michael Brummer, Certified Personal Trainer


  1. I absolutely agree with you Michael. People simply need to be educated about getting in the “zone” if they want to see results from their cardio. As a fitness professional myself with over 15 years experience I can attest to the fact that one of the biggest misconceptions out there is doing low-intensity aerobic exercise (walking) is all you need to lose fat. The placards on cardio equipment that tell people their only in a fat burning zone if they’re doing low intensity work are part of the problem. Excellent post. I’d simply add one more suggestion which is to consider purchasing a heart rate monitor to help measure your target heart rate zones during workouts. They can be very helpful. Take care..Shane

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