Ask the Trainer: Heart Rate and Weight Loss
Question: My cousin (who is very overweight) and I have been working out every night for the last several weeks, but she can never get her heart rate any higher than 123. If she tries to get it higher she can barely breathe. Will she be able to lose weight if her heart rate never goes above 123?
Answer: Your cousin will lose weight as long as the calories she’s burning are higher than what she is taking in. It is all about calories in versus calories out. It may take your cousin longer to burn 300 calories at the heart rate of 123 versus 140, but the duration will be the key. Your cousin may need to train for 30 minutes instead of 20 minutes in order to burn enough calories. My recommendation would be to have your cousin go to a doctor and see if there is a reason her heart rate will not go over 123 beats per minute even at high exertion. Also, if this does end up becoming an issue I would recommend better nutrition as an alternative to having to burn a lot of extra calories. Sometimes it is easier to just eat fewer calories.