Exercise! - Target heartrate reached by lower intensity for bigger ladies?

01-13-2008, 02:56 PM
Okay, so to burn fat we agree we need to be working out at a certain % right, and maintain that to heat up our furnaces. What I have noticed lately is, it takes a lot less huffing and puffing to get my heartrate up than it did when I was skinny, so do I still need to huff and puff, or should I maintain the lower intensity if my heart rate is right? In other words, walking at a moderate pace gets my heart rate up fine, but walking at a brisk pace is doable, but shoots my heartrate way over what it should be. So which do I do?

And also does that mean that bigger ladies don't need to "work it" as hard to get the same results; as long as the heart rate is correct, then that's what we should stay at?

I suppose what I'm asking too is, am I still gonna lose fat working at a lower intensity as long as my heart rate is right, or do I need to pump it up to get the benefits? I'm thinking about adding a third exercise video to my day, so I'm especially curious about this concept, to be sure I am doing all this right.... help! :D

01-13-2008, 03:31 PM
It is possible that the target heart rate you were told to work out at is not as appropriate as it used to be. In general as you progress you will have to keep working harder to achieve the same heartrate. You always have to keep bumping up workouts to keep progressing.

The reason you may be getting to a similar heartrate with less effort now is the muscles and limbs have now come in sync with your cardiovascular system and you are now used to that effort level. I know sometimes my breathing is the limiting factor, sometimes my body.

If you feel you CAN work harder, in general there is no reason not to, unless you are a cardiac patient.

This "shoots my heartrate way over what it should be" makes me think that what you have as a target heartrate is too low.

The "fat burning zone" is a myth see the stickies above

01-13-2008, 03:48 PM
Well I disagree about the target heart rate...i favorited this site a while back and feel it's a credible source for target heart rate. http://www.nbc.com/The_Biggest_Loser/lifestyle/getting_fit/cardio.shtml

this article also points out about heart rate and what % to work out at for each fitness level:

And because I'm not at the point where I'm used to the effort (I just started 6 days ago), I know that's not it. Maybe I can reword this way: being a big girl, it doesn't take much to make me sweat, or for my heart rate to shoot up. I'm out of shape, so the slightest exercise and boom, my heart starts racing. Like, feeling like it's gonna beat out of my chest. But the thing is, I'm not jumping around or running or even walking briskly; my heart rate is up there cause there is a lot of me to move and I'm out of shape. So what I was asking is, am I gonna get the same benefits if I'm not hanging from the rafters, cause my heart rate is already going at a good pace. I hope that was a little more clear as to my question. :D

01-13-2008, 03:59 PM
When it comes to working out, a calorie is a calorie. The harder and longer you excercise, the more calories you will burn. So do what you're capable of. If you feel that your heart is going to "beat out of your chest" then you're going too hard.

I found this excerpt on-line:
Fat-burning zone vs. cardio zone
Many health clubs have charts listing “fat-burning zones” and “cardio zones” posted on their walls and on the cardiovascular machines. These ranges mislead people to believe that they are burning more fat, or only fat, when exercising at certain heart-rate intensities.

There is a lower-intensity “fat burning zone” in which you utilize a greater percentage of calories from fat. However, the total number of calories burned at that rate is less than at higher intensities, so the total fat calories burned generally ends up being less, as well.

For example, let’s say that you jog at a low intensity and burn 100 calories, 75 of which come from fat. At first glance, that looks good – that’s 75 percent of calories burned from fat! But if you were to jog at a higher intensity for the same period of time, you could burn 200 total calories, with 125 of them coming from fat. Although your percentage of fat calories burned drops to 62.5 percent, you still burn more total calories and more fat calories overall at the higher intensity.

The bottom line: for sustained weight loss, you have to burn more calories than you take in. Focusing on burning “fat calories” won’t help. Calories are calories – get out there and burn them.

I am frequently excercising above my target HR, but I am not breathing hard and I feel fine. If I slow things down, I get bored and I burn less calories. It's all about perceived excertion. Do what is comfortable.

01-13-2008, 03:59 PM
The biggest loser gives a target heart rate of 55-90% that is an enormous range....what are you picking for a target?

If you feel like your heart is about to beat out of your chest, you are probably working quite hard. Your initial post made it sound like you felt you werent working all that hard.

In general a pace you can maintain for 20 minutes is a good base pace with intervals higher. You should FEEL like you are putting in an effort. If it FEELS easy in general, unless you have a heart condition, you can do more and you will get more reward.

For many people RPE (refer back to the BL site for descriptions) is more useful. If you can chatter away easily you arent working hard enough. If you cant speak for gasping you are working too hard.

You will always get more weight loss return by working harder in a sustainable fashion (i.e. not JUST sprinting because you cant sustain a sprint which is 95% of HR)

01-13-2008, 05:52 PM
Ennay, as she so often is, is perfectly right about this. Your target heart rate should be the highest rate you can maintain for 20 or 30 minutes. The harder you work, the more calories you burn. If you aim for the lower end of the spectrum (55%) then you will burn fewer calories than if you push a bit harder and do 65% or 70%. A bigger woman who is out of shape will get an increased heart rate with less intensive exercise than a fit woman, but if you can push a bit harder and sustain a higher HR, then this would be the thing to do.

(Don't forget, one of the main goals of exercise is to burn calories: pushing a bit harder means burning more calories.)

01-13-2008, 06:07 PM
Well I chose 70% as a target, but use the talk test myself, as it gets hard after that %. If I am breathing so heavy I can't talk or say anything without gasping for air, then yes that is when I slow it down.

01-13-2008, 06:17 PM
well there you go...the talk test! It sounds like a good place to start, you may find that 70% is hard now, but later 70% would be too easy - but dont be afraid of the heartrate going up if you still FEEL ok and can still talk.

Truth be told, somedays my HR is just higher than others for what seems like the same effort. Its one of the reasons I prefer RPE. I use HR over time just to judge fitness.

I reread your initial post and see where I was confused by what you meant. Yes, when you are very out of shape, you will go a lot slower and hit 70% than you did when you were in shape.

The important part is to keep working hard - just remember that "hard" will keep changing as you get in better shape.

And it isnt the weight so much as just fitness, there are some skinny unfit people and some fat fit people.

01-13-2008, 08:33 PM
I've been wondering about this same thing, myself.. I get winded just going up the darn stairs at work.. Whew! Thanks for posting this topic!