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Heart Rate in Zone 2

fraserforbesfraserforbes Posts: 9
edited May 2013 in Road beginners

I have started to train using a heart rate monitor using zone. I would like to loss wight so the correct zone is 2.
I read and great article on this site about riding at zone 2 will make you quicker and burn fat.

Am new to cycling (6month) and good for 50miles. But no matter what I do I am unable to keep in zone 2 and a slow pace would be zone 3. Putting on my overshoe knocks me out of zone 2. Getting off and walking would mean I spend 99% of the time walking.

what should I do?

Here is a ride data for more details



  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    Dont go thinking that just because your slipping into zone 3 you are not burning fat anymore. Zone 2 means you are only burning fat and not doing any aerobic or anaerobic exercise. You are still burning calories.
  • marylogicmarylogic Posts: 355
    Are you basing your zones on what Garmin connect tells you or have you done a proper test (search the training board for advice on how to do this if you're not sure)?

    I find the zones garmin connect calculates for me are way off - I haven't been able to fix it, maybe others know how?
  • SoSimpleSoSimple Posts: 301
    As stated above, don't get hung up about staying in zone 2.

    Heart rates and zones differ for everyone and as has been already said, Garmins aren't the most accurate. The bottom line about losing weight is to create a calorie deficit and to do that you need to work across the whole range otherwise your body will become accustomed to your workouts and in time you'll stop losing weight.

    I've been cycling for less than 6 months too and decided I'd get plenty of miles in the saddle and after 800 miles had lost no weight at all. I have however started to gain more tone and people assume I've lost weight but the scales don't lie!

    After stepping up my work rate and tackling more hills-often outside zone 2 and into zone 3 and above, the weight is finally starting to fall off
  • Hills make it a lot harder to stick in your target zone (if it is a low HR zone) and your route goes over a fair number of hills. Tbh I wouldn't worry too much. If you've got time for a 3 hour ride, go for a 3 hour ride at a pace where you get to the end of it. That's probably the best approach to burning fat (assuming you stay out of zone 1). There's a chance you won't lose weight quite as fast if you put on leg muscle as well as losing fat, but that's not really a problem...
  • ricky1980ricky1980 Posts: 891
    fraser, mind point me to the article about HR zone please? i am interested in it myself. I keep my HR above 150bpm on my rides all time (if possible) i just figured that's a good rate about 80% of my max rate which 190.

    I have no clues about zones and what they mean, would appreciate the help
    Road - Cannondale CAAD 8 - 7.8kg
    Road - Chinese Carbon Diablo - 6.4kg
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    There's a lot of obvious nonsense written and spoken about heart rate zones. So I would just ride as you feel and reduce your sugar consumption to encourage the weight loss. I don't see how riding very slowly is good training for riding rapidly...

    I really think you cannot 'fat burn' to reduce weight, 'zone 2' puts you at about 300 calories/hour, 12 hours a pound. And you will end up ravenous...

    I would carry on with your club rides, just ride as fast as you can and enjoy the experience. The rest will follow. Assuming not too many cakes at the stop of course.

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,256
    There is no such thing as a 'fat burning' zone - it's an urban myth.
  • Hi,

    The zones am using are working out use a few methods, British cycling and in this article ... sts-28838/

    I have setup the Garmin to my zone and not to their setup.

    I agree its best just to ride and ride and eat less to loss wight and speed will come after that.

  • g00seg00se Posts: 2,221

    The zones am using are working out use a few methods, British cycling and in this article ... sts-28838/

    I have setup the Garmin to my zone and not to their setup.

    I agree its best just to ride and ride and eat less to loss wight and speed will come after that.


    Did you calculate the zones using max heart rate or lactate threshold heart rate?

    I found MHR harder to calculate and any under-estimation cascades down to the boundaries for the lower zones. if you underestimate a max heart rate, you're not going to be pushing yourself enough when you're supposed to be in a particular zone (e.g. threshold intervals). When I calculated/estimated my LTHR, the zones were quite different (higher) and seemed to feel more appropriate. ... N9,4JDWH,1

    Using LTHR rather than MHR also has a benefit if you're not fully fit - as max heart rate doesn't really change with fitness - just age. But the LTHR will increase as your fitness improves. So as you get fitter, you should regularly test your LTHR and reasign your zones.
  • jane90jane90 Posts: 149
    The misconception with "fatmax" (the optimum levels of burning fat) is that the greatest proportion of energy derived from burning fat (as opposed from carbohydrate breakdown in the muscles as glycogen depletion) occurs at low aerobic exercise intensities (low HR zone) but it's not equivalent to the most amount of fat burnt during a session at any particular intensity.

    For example, if you ride for an hour at a low intensity burning 500 kcal/hr at 75%, you would burn off 375 cal of fat. But if you rode at a higher intensity to burn off 750 kcal/hr but only 60% of it from aerobic fat burn, you'd still burn 450 cal of fat - 75 cal more than exercising at your "optimum" rate.

    Your fatmax level will also depend on your fitness levels, so the fitter you become the higher the point at which you'll burn the most proportion of calories as fat. For very unfit people it will be closer to 60% of HRmax rising to 70-75% for trained athletes (although individual genetic variations can be wide).
  • So how do you work out LTHR?
  • g00seg00se Posts: 2,221
    Your threshold heart rate is an estimated relation to your threshold power. Sometimes called lactate threshold or functional threshold. It's the power you can, if fit, maintain for an hour.

    There are various methods but the best one I found is to use a turbo or gym bike - or find a flat, straight route you can ride for 30 minutes solo (a TT route?). Go flat out for 30 minutes and use your HRM to average your heart rate for the last 20 minutes. Don't use the first 10 minutes as a warm up, warm up properly before-hand, try to use the same pace over the whole 30 minutes.

    By flat out, they mean as fast as you can at a maintainable pace. You should be just about done at the end - but not in a quivering heap :).

    If you start off too fast, you may fall off towards the end. Too slow a start and you'll come in under it. I guess that's why they say not to include the first 10 minutes in the average as it allows a bit of leeway to get your heart rate up and find the right pace.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I suggest reading more in depth about training in the fat burning zone as it isn't necessarily the best. Yes you'll burn more fat in zone 2 than any other zone, but once the ride is over, that's it. Riding in zones 3 and 4 gives the body a better workout, burning less fat than zone 2, but has a better calorific fat consumption and continues after the ride. If you're building muscle and cutting down on your food intake, you will lose weight.

    Here's one site explaining the myth of the fat burning zone. ... zone-myth/
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
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