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32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need to loose some weight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I recently acquired a heart rate monitor (HRM), need to set up the Zones. I have been riding a long time, but have not been loosing any weight. The HRM/training books/web guides are telling me that my average heart rate is two high when ridings , Zone 4 +. My cadence is at 90+, which is good right? So I am trying to keep a good cadence but I need to gear back, and stay in the Zones 1 to 3.

On point:

"The Heart Rate Monitor Book For Cyclists" (Sally Edwards & Sally REED) states the Following:

Zone 1: 50%-60%
Zone 2: 60%-70%
Zone 3: 70%-80%
Zone 4: 80%-90%
Zone 5: 90%-100%

Some Web Sources state the following:

Zone 1: 60%-65%
Zone 2: 65%-75%
Zone 3: 75%-82%
Zone 4: 82%-89%
Zone 5: 89%-94%
Zone 6: 94% -100%

( . . . I seen the above in a few different places.)

Why isnt this standardize? Which zone method would you recommend. In the end both will work. but should I always be above 60% HRM? What about 70-75% I am bruning mostly Fat or has my fat burning rate decreased a lot? Remember I trying to change my riding style for maxium weight loss.




5,358 Posts
First off, cadence has nothing to do with heart rate.

Next, the "fat burning zone" is a myth. Or rather, it is an incorrect interpretation. At lower efforts, you burn mostly fat. At higher efforts, you burn the more fat than at lower efforts, but you also burn glycogen (sugar) that is stored in the muscles and liver. For example, at 140 bpm you may burn 400 cal/hr fat and 200 cal/hr of glycogen, while at 170 bpm you'd burn 450 cal/hr of fat and 300 of glycogen (number for illustration only). There's a lower precentage of fat at the higher intensity, but you're still burning more calories then.

But then after you are done riding, you need to replenesh those glycogen stores. If you don't load up on on carbohydrates right after your ride, you rebuild those stores from body fat. So either way, you are burning fat.

What is true is that at lower intensities you can ride for much longer. Even though you burn fewer calories/hr at lower intensity, you still burn way more than you would sitting on the couch. So for weight loss, riding at an endurance pace and doing longer rides works better than more intense, but short, rides.

On the heart rate training zone URL thing you posted, I do most endurance rides in Z2-3. But I have frequent excursions to Z4 and 5. Riding an entire ride in a narrow HR zone is mentally difficult and boring. The best way to lose weight is to do at least one ride a at a pace that'll let you ride for 3 or 4 hours, and as many shorter rides as you can fit in during the week. Work up to the long ride by about 10% per week. Don't obsess over heart rate, just ride.

Premium Member
15,996 Posts
How did you set your zones?

kroettger1 said:
I am bruning mostly Fat or has my fat burning rate decreased a lot?
Your "fat burning rate" will never decrease with increased intensity. It's just that you can metabolize fat at an essentially fixed maximum rate. As you increase intensity, additional demands come from other sources -- typically glycogen, or blood sugar.

Carbohydrate is the primary fuel (along with oxygen) of endurance exercise. The burned glycogen must be repleted somehow -- you'll lose weight regardless of what the source of calories burned is, so long as you eat less than you use. There's no "best" zone.

It should not, however, be possible to do repeated, sustained rides in zones 4-5, as Friel calls them. The fatigue would be too great. So, when you say you are mostly riding in Zone 4+, how did you get that? If you are using 220-age or some such, know that this formula is nonsense for any individual. If you did a max HR test, it's likely you didn't achieve your real maximum, and so what you think is 80% of HRmax is only 65, or whatever.

In the end, riding hard burns more calories than riding easy, but riding so hard that you ride considerably less total hours due to fatigue will burn less net calories.

32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My Zones are the Following:

Zone 1: 60%-65% 113-122
Zone 2: 65%-75% 122-141
Zone 3: 75%-82% 141-154
Zone 4: 82%-89% 154-168
Zone 5: 89%-94% 168-177
Zone 6: 94% -100% 177-189

My Limits are set at 113 to 141

21,832 Posts
Better numbers

ericm979 said:
For example, at 140 bpm you may burn 400 cal/hr fat and 200 cal/hr of glycogen, while at 170 bpm you'd burn 450 cal/hr of fat and 300 of glycogen (number for illustration only).
Concept is right, numbers are off by a factor of two (AKA wrong!). A conditioned athlete can typically get 200 calories per hour from fat metabolism. You're off the hook with your caveat :)
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