People burn fat at different heart rates during exercise, shows new study


According to a recent research, each person’s optimal heart rate and activity intensity for burning fat during aerobic exercise vary.

Personalized Heart Rate Targets for Effective Fat Burning, Study Finds

It has been discovered by researchers that the ideal heart rate for fat burning differs for each individual and usually does not line up with the ‘fat burning zone’ on commercial exercise equipment. The study’s authors hypothesized that clinical exercise testing, a diagnostic method that evaluates a person’s physiological reaction to exercise, could be a more useful tool for supporting individuals in attaining their intended fat reduction objectives.

The results of the research were posted online today by Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease. It used a modeling strategy based on machine learning.

Reconsidering the ‘Fat-Burning Zone

“Those who want to lose weight or burn fat may be interested in exercising at a level of intensity that promotes the fastest rate of fat burning. According on age, sex, and heart rate, the majority of commercial exercise machines include a “fat-burning zone” choice, says the study’s primary author Hannah Kittrell, MS, RD, CDN, a PhD candidate at Icahn Mount Sinai working in the Augmented Intelligence in Medicine and Science lab. However, since the often advised fat-burning zone has not been scientifically shown to work, people may be working out at intensities that are not in line with their unique weight reduction objectives.

At Mount Sinai Morningside, Kittrell also serves as the director of the Mount Sinai Physiolab, a clinical body composition and exercise physiology lab.

Optimizing Fat Loss: Unveiling the Efficiency of FATmax Heart Rate in Aerobic Exercise

FATmax is a term used to describe the heart rate and activity intensity at which the body burns fat most efficiently during aerobic exercise. Given that fat is now a substantial source of energy, people wanting to maximize fat loss during exercises may be interested in this intensity.

The heart rate at FATmax, as established by a clinical exercise test, was contrasted in the research with anticipated heart rates at different percentages of maximum exertion within the usually recommended “fat-burning zone.”


In a sample of 26 participants, the observed and anticipated heart rates did not match well, with a mean difference of 23 beats per minute between the two readings, according to the study’s findings. This suggests that blanket recommendations for a “fat-burning zone” could not provide sound guidance.

Tailoring Exercise for Optimal Fat Reduction: Exploring Personalized Approaches and Metabolic Health

The next stage of study will look at whether those who stick to a more individualized exercise regimen reduce their body fat and weight more and have better metabolic health indicators, which predict the chance of acquiring illnesses including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

“We hope that our study will encourage more people and fitness professionals to use clinical exercise testing to provide customized exercise regimens designed for fat reduction. Senior author Girish Nadkarni, MD, MPH, Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Medicine at Icahn Mount Sinai, Director of The Charles Bronfman Institute of Personalized Medicine, and System Chief, Division of Data-Driven and Digital Medicine, Department of Medicine, said that the study also highlights the contribution that data-driven approaches can make to precision exercise.

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