HRM help if I may please


New Member
Ok so today was my first ever ride with my first ever Heart rate moniter (which I got for christmas). It worked perfectly, but I am wondering If i have got it set correctly. I set it for my age (46) and it automatically gave me the lower and upper levels for a fat burning programme of 113 and 96 bpm. I set off and did my usual 25 miles. But I found it impossible to ride as slowly as the moniter was telling me to (to fit in the range). I was happy at between 130-145 bpm and completed the ride without getting out of puff at all. The alarm was going off throughout the ride telling me to slow down/reduce the bpm. I was riding at around 75-80% of my max bpm roughly.

Anyway my questions are:

1) Do i really need to ride at such a slow rate to stay in the fat burn zone?
2) am I actually fitter than I think?
3) should I set the moniter to a lower age maybe?

I thought that riding at a pace which exerts you but doesnt see you getting out of breath was the optimum fat burning pace(ish)...which was what i was doing...but the moniter thought I was doing too much.

I want to burn fat primarily. On todays ride I really felt that the moniter was underestimating my 'ability'...

...any thoughts ?

Twenty Inch

New Member
Behind a desk
You'll need to cycle much slower than you think to burn fat. It can be really frustrating.

Did the HRM invite you to enter your weight as well as your age?

There's plenty of info on the web about using HRMs to increase fitness - you might find it useful if you only have a basic model. They are a tool, like any other, and need to be used correctly.


Welcome to the wondeful world of the obsessive number freak. :smile:

As I understand it, the 'fat burning' rate is about 10 - 12 mph and taking it very gently. The figure you need to take note of is the average for the ride. It's amazing that putting a bit of zing into the pace will give you a significantly higher average. On the other hand a normal ride with a bit less effort on the tough bits will give you one on the lower side.

I'd say it was almost impossible to ride at the fat burning rate outside a gym environment. The road just throws too many changes to the output to keep it constant.

I wouldn't get disappointed at what you are reading on the HRM. You're going to burn something on the ride even if the HRM isn't recording it as such.

One thing you will notice is the reduced rates you clock as the weight comes off :smile:


New Member
Did the HRM invite you to enter your weight as well as your age?

no it doesnt have that facility...erm...well I havent found it yet anyway.

Would I be right to assume then that if the moniter is currently programmed correctly that i need to be riding a lot slower to burn off the fat? ...which in turn tells me that I need to be doing longer rides at this slower pace right?
Sounds about right BTFB. Back in the days ... winter rides were around the 2 - 4 hours at a nice steady pace. Pros like Armstrong based their training on steady 5 - 7 hour rides with regular primes to keep the interest up. I suspect 'steady' for Armstrong was a bit brisk for me.

hopefully somebody with coaching knowledge will put it a bit more elegantly than me.
To set zones and use them effectively you need to determine your actual max HR as well as your resting HR. The Max based on your age is notoriously innacurate.

Example my theoretical max is 220-44=176
Actual max =191

If I used the theoretical my training zones would be meaningless.

I determined my own Max by doing a self test, you can find many examples on the internet. It basically involves a warm up and then going all out for a short distance, preferrably up a slight incline. If you don't see stars and feel like you're going to die then you haven't tried hard enough. This should give you as accurate a Max as you will get without going to a lab - Caveats apply about being in good health and fit yabba, yabba, otherwise it might kill you!

Without doing this you are getting meaningless info.
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