What Is The Best Way To Measure Exercise Intensity?

exercise intensity for natural weight loss

The easiest way to monitor your exercise intensity is to take your heart rate. Simply count your pulse over 15 seconds, then multiply this number by 4. This then gives you the beats per minute and is the ideal way to check the intensity of your workout.


The pulse is most effectively measured over the carotid artery in the neck. You could also take your pulse at the elbow (brachial artery) or the wrist (radial artery).

For natural weight loss it is recommended that you work at 60 - 80% of your maximum heart rate. At this moderate level you can maintain your exercise intensity for a longer period of time, which assists fat burning.

It takes time for your body to switch from using glucose or blood sugar for energy to the secondary energy source, which is stored body fat. 

Your Ideal Heart Rate

What is your exercise intensity?

The following equation can be used to determine your ideal heart rate:

  • For Men: Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) = 220 - age
  • For Women: Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) = 225 - age

Example: A female aged 45 has a MHR of 180. To work in her fat burning zone her heart rate should be 126 beats per minute. (70% of 180 = 126)

Tips on Exercise Intensity

  • Increase the intensity of your exercise sessions over time. Once you become comfortable with a routine, it is important to increase the intensity in order to continue benefiting.

Frequency and Duration of Exercise Sessions

For natural weight loss it is recommended that you exercise at least 4-5 times a week.

The morning is the ideal time to exercise as this kick starts your metabolism for the day. You will burn more calories, even after you have stopped exercising.

To optimise fat burning, aim to exercise for a minimum of 40 minutes. If you are just starting out with an exercise plan, work within a comfortable level. If you are breathless and feeling stressed slow the pace down.

Doing too much too soon could result in injury. When you start an exercise program that is realistic you are more likely to make lifelong changes.

Tips on Frequency and Duration of Exercise Sessions

  • The more exercise you do the greater capacity you have to burn calories for energy. Even incidental exercise will get you to your goal weight quicker.
  • A daily walk in the morning will result in more calories being burned during the day. This is also a great way to start the day.
  • Avoid exercising on main roads and other polluted areas. Walking in a park or by the beach is healthier and more enjoyable.

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