The single most important part of the Train Smart Accelerated Weight Loss Programme is your heart rate during training. When it comes to reaching your goal, there is nothing more important than knowing what your heart is doing.

In much the same way as metabolism is vital in regards to food, our heart rate is the most important factor for weight loss when it comes to exercise. As you see with the guys on The Biggest Loser, it’s all about training within your target heart rate to achieve the results. If you’re serious about weight loss – or even fitness, for that matter – you must monitor your heart rate.

If I see someone who has just started out in the gym and they have a heart monitor, I know that they are getting the right advice and have a good chance of achieving their results. All too often I see people who are clearly exercising for weight loss, either over-training or under-training. That’s when I know that they are just wasting their time.

No matter who you are, if you have a weight loss goal and want to improve your fitness, a heart rate monitor is your best friend.

The main benefits of a heart rate monitor are:

  • It stops us from exercising too hard. Train Smart revolves around exactly that. If your heart rate is too fast, you are burning sugar that is in the blood stream and not fat. Apart from the fact that it’s not fun at all, there is no point in exercising so hard that you wonder if you’re going to pass out. While this may be great for raising your fitness level in whatever arena you are exercising, it won’t help you lose weight. For instance, if you were to ride the stationary bike at the gym every day for 30 mins at between 70-80% intensity, you will become very fit at riding the stationary bike! But… and this is a very big ‘but’… if you ride the stationary bike at the gym everyday at 55-65% intensity (in the fat burning zone) you will start burning more calories – as opposed to raising your fitness level.Over training is one of the main reasons people stop exercising. If you stay in the fat burning zone, you know the results will come and you won’t over train.
  • It stops us from exercising too easily. We have all been guilty of this. Of course, if you have been exercising a lot, then it is fine to have a few ‘light & easy’ days of exercise. But, if you have got yourself dressed and ready to exercise, you may as well make it count. Don’t be one of those people you see plodding along on the walking machine with a magazine in front of you. They may as well be sitting on the couch with a cup of tea.Train Smart means that we are going to make the training as easy and effective as possible, but you still need to raise a sweat. We need to train with our heart rate operating in the required fat burning zone. You have to use your time effectively to get the results, and you have to make it count.

    There is no such thing as easy weight loss. But it can be fun! Train Smart and you’ll see what I mean

Your optimum weight loss zone.

  • For optimum fitness training, it is best to exercise at a heart rate that is between 70 and 85% of your maximum – for between 30 to 60 minutes, 3 to 5 days per week.
  • For optimum weight loss, it is best to work out in a target heart rate zone that is between 55 and 65% of your maximum heart rate – for between 30 to 60 minutes, 3 to 7 days per week.
  • If you are just beginning your exercise program or are unfit, you may want to start exercising between 50 and 55% of your maximum heart rate until you build up your fitness.

To work out your target heart rate zones for weight loss and fitness, take a look at this table:


For example, if you are 35 years old your target heart rate for fat burning is between 110 & 130 bpm. Any lower than 110 and you are not training hard enough, over 130 bpm and you are over-training and are in the aerobic fitness zone instead.

Once you have figured out your best fat burning zone, you are ready to start burning calories every time you exercise. It’s that easy to make every session count.

Exercising without a heart rate monitor

Although exercising with a heart rate monitor is optimum, you can still begin your Train Smart Accelerated Weight Loss Programme without one. You can simply check your heart rate manually during training. Of course, you still first need to work out your fat-burning heart rate zone.

To check your heart rate manually, firmly, but lightly, press the first two fingers of your hand on the inside of the wrist of your other hand. There is a pulse point below your thumb and just inside the outer bone above the area where you would wear a watch.

Using a watch with a second-hand, or a stop watch, count the number of beats in 30 seconds and multiply by 2. This is your resting heart beat over 1 minute. When you want to take your pulse during exercise, make sure you keep moving at the same time. You can jog on the spot, or keep walking on the treadmill. Take your pulse in the same way, but count for just 6 seconds and multiply the result by 10. See how the result measures up against your Target Heart Rate and either speed up or slow down to reach the heart rate that’s right for you.

If you can’t find a pulse easily, there is another way to work out your heart rate:

Subtract your age from 220.

For example, if you are 40 yrs old… 220 – 40 = 180

So, a 40-year-old’s maximum heart rate is 180bpm (beats per minute).
The Fat Burning zone is approx 55-65%.
65% of 180 = 117bpm

This means that if you are 40 years old, 117 beats per minute is the upper end of your target heart rate for accelerated weight loss. The lower end is 99bpm, so you shouldn’t drop below that.