Karvonen Heart Rate Calculator

Karvonen Heart Rate Calculator

The Karvonen method of calculating your exercise heart rate is considered the gold standard, benefiting athletes, or people who are looking for weight loss and fitness improvement.

As a person becomes more fit, their heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood to the rest of the body. When resting, the number of beats per minute slows down. The Karvonen calculation, devised by a Scandinavian physiologist, takes this into consideration by introducing a number called the heart rate reserve into the equation — the difference between your maximal heart rate and your resting heart rate.

To find out what your more accurate target heart rate should be while exercising, you will need to determine your resting heart rate. The best time to check your resting rate is just before you get up in the morning after a good night’s sleep. Take the average of two or three mornings’ readings for greater accuracy.

Exercise Heart Rate Calculator
Step 1.  Enter your age:
Step 2.  Enter your resting heart rate:
Step 3.  Click here...


Estimated maximum heart rate:


Target Heart Rate Zone Limits (Old Method)
50%   =   75%  =  
55%   =   80%  =  
60%   =   85%  =  
65%   =   90%  =  
70%   =   95%  =  


Karvonen Formula
(Heart Rate Reserve Method - The Gold Standard)
50%   =   75%   =  
55%   =   80%   =  
60%   =   85%   =  
65%   =   90%   =  
70%   =  
95%   =  


Cardiovascular Exercise - Burning Fat Optimally

Cardio workouts are a very important part of your program. Although we strongly advocate strength training, cardiovascular exercise cannot be replaced and a program that does not recommend a sufficient level of increased aerobic activity is flawed

For optimal change, physically, mentally and healthfully, it’s important that you keep up your cardio. How much, how often and how fast, is individual. We can help with that one on one.

Every one of us has 100 reasons why we “can’t” test the limits of our potential or push the boundaries. And, every single one of those reasons is a flawed! If you had never pushed the limits of your ability, you would not be able to walk or run. You would not be able to ride a bike or drive a car. You would not be able to read, get on the internet, etc. It is only by going “too far” that we discover our strengths and expand our power.

Push your boundaries, expand your world, explore the possibilities. You deserve “A Life of Your Own”!

A Partial List of The Benefits of Cardio

  • ·         Boosts fat burning metabolism 

  • ·         Allows more rest on less hours of sleep 

  • ·         Slows bone loss 

  • ·         Helps treat and prevent depression 

  • ·         Decreases risk of heart diseases and cancer 

  • ·         Reduces stress and anxiety 

However, there is no list, such as the above, that will motivate everyone to exercise. The passion to change is not found in a list, but within yourself. What is it that you want or need desperately to change, increase or add to your life? Add it to the list! (Discover Your “Why”, Your Reasons for Consistent Exercise by Clicking Here).

The Case for Intensity

Hard, slow, long, short, morning, afternoon… get’s pretty confusing, right? Well, let’s do a little sorting.

Think about this, would you use more $3.00/gallon gasoline if you hit every red light driving across town for 20 minutes, starting and stopping time after time, or 40 minutes of smooth driving on the highway at 65 mph? The answer is you will burn more during shorter burst during a shorter period of time.

Research presented in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise shows that when you work out using high-intensity intervals, the total amount of calories your body burns during an hour after your workout is elevated up to 107% more than with low-intensity, short duration exercise, and 143% more than with low intensity, long duration exercise! That’s because interval exercise peaking at levels above a 70% maximum-intensity effort speeds up your metabolism for up to three hours after exercise – a benefit not found with low-intensity exercise.

Before you completely get turned off by the “hard workout” lingo, understand that there is still an appropriate place for some easy and relaxing exercise. For one, if you are training for a marathon, obviously 20 minute bouts of hard exercise aren’t going to successfully pull you through 26.2 miles. Also, easy exercise is certainly not bad for you at all, just less effective for burning fat.

So How Hard Do I Have To Go?

If you are worrying now that you have to work out really hard, take it easy. You will work out as hard as YOU can; never compare yourself to anyone else. All you have to do is work for a short period of time at a moderate level and then back down and go easy for a period. This is called interval training and is something new to many people. It is simple and once you learn how to do it and realize the fat loss benefits, you will never go long and easy again.

I have worked with severely overweight clients who have found that they actually enjoy and can easily achieve these workouts. Furthermore, the athletes that we’ve coached also find that this type of cardiovascular workout helps to spare hard earned muscle tissue, while burning fat.

When I used to run long and slow, my weight loss was just that, long and slow! But when I cut my exercise time in half and added some interval training, the fat started melting off. The time zooms by so much more quickly when you concentrate on your workout from minute to minute, rather than worrying about the entire session.

No Really… How Hard Do I Have To Go?

On day one, go for as long as you can, up to 30minutes at an easy pace. If you can last 30 minutes, then you are ready to increase your tempo. If you can’t quite reach 30 minutes, then add 2 minutes each day until you are able to go for 30 minutes.

Once you reach 30 minutes try this workout:

  • 10 minutes easy

  • 15 minutes of alternating 1 minutes hard,

  • 1 minute easy

  • 5 minute easy cool down

Progress slowly so that you do not get frustrated and disappointed. Do not set your goals too high and you won’t lose faith in yourself. The beauty of this workout is that I only ask you to go “hard” for a minute or two at a time. Most people can do that as there is a light at the end of that short tunnel. Exercising for 30 minutes steady can get boring and you wonder if you are ever going to get done!

After a few workouts, you will know exactly what speed and grade you should exercise by viewing the cardio machine monitors in front of you. Make sure to write it down so that you don’t forget. Then each workout, try to bump each level just a little faster, over 12 weeks, you can really progress to a good clip and burn even more fat and boost your metabolism just that much more.

But better yet, use a heart rate monitor in lieu of speed and grade, it’s a more scientific measure of intensity.

Each time you workout, make the up tempo portion (the 1 minute interval) just a little harder… perhaps increase your pace or the grade.

Don’t be scared, just experiment a little and find out what you can do. You don’t have to and never should exhaust yourself. Just get to a good tired level and get that metabolism revved up!

But I Am Tough, Can I Go Harder?

Sure, but most exercise related injuries are due to overuse or progressing too quickly. Be careful and add just a little more each time that you exercise. Most of our clients work moderately hard, but if you are really trying to shave off a final few pounds, you may find that an increased duration and intensity can really help.

In times when I was really trying to get as lean as possible, I will boost my cardiovascular exercise to 50 minutes, but remember, I had been a lifelong athlete and I could handle this.  Some of my clients can do this as well, but please use your best judgment.

Regardless of how long you go, remember, that the most important factor is that you turn on that “switch”. That switch inside our bodies that says, “Hey, I better improve, so that if I do this tomorrow, I am really ready.” All kinds of physiological effects begin to take place after an intense workout. The only way to turn on that switch is to push hard for a short time during each exercise routine.

How Often Should I Workout?

Start doing cardio three times per week (in addition to your strength training sessions). For some this may be enough. However, since we are keeping our workouts short, you may be able to find time to go 5 or 6 times per week. If you are really dedicated to lose weight, start with 3 workouts the first week, 4 the next, 5 the third, and if you can add a 6th the fourth week, you will be on your way to really changing your body.

So I Can’t Go For A Long Run Or Walk Anymore?

So does that mean that a long run or walk is wrong? Absolutely not! I still like to go for a 60 minute Sunday morning run and explore the wooded trails, but we have learned for way too long that you must do this to lose weight. Not true at all! Enjoy a long walk or run only if you want to or are training for a long race. In that case, you need to be doing something completely different. You are more than welcome to send us an email for race workouts, which we will be more than happy to provide.

The interval workout is the fastest way to increase fitness and lose weight. In essence, what you are doing is demanding that your body recover under stress after your interval bouts. Fitness, believe it or not, is improved during the period after a tough one minute interval surge. This is when your body is forced to recover while you continue to exercise.

I encourage overweight people or those who have not exercised in a long time to begin very slowly, since it is easy to overdo it. Remember, begin slowly and build to a level that you can handle! Since you may not be familiar with this routine, you may workout too fast and then may not be able to finish the entire workout. The sped of these surges is not as important as it is to make sure that you get to a level where you are out of breath and are looking forward to the end of that minute. But, remember, I urge you, I caution you, I implore you not to go too hard until you find your aerobic level. This is not only dangerous, but can lead to injury and medical problems.

In a Hurry? Use the 1200 Second Fitness Solution

  • 5 minutes easy

  • 10 minutes of alternating 1 minutes hard,

  • 1 minute easy

  • 5 minute easy cool down

Perform your cardio session first thing in the morning, if you can, on an empty stomach. This has been shown to be a more effective fat burning time of day. Keep a written log of your cardio sessions and try to slowly and progressively one up yourself a little each session. Never kill yourself, but if you can feel your legs stimulated an hour or more after your workout, you have done exactly what you need to do.

Additional Resources:

Read the interview entitled, "6 Keys to Optimize Your Cardiovascular Training for Enhanced Fitness & Fat Reduction"



© 1999 - 2008 HealthStyle Fitness, Inc & Brian Calkins - Cincinnati, Ohio

Home ::   Contact   ::   About Us  ::  Programs  ::  Private Studio  ::  Announcements  ::  Success Stories  ::  Store  ::  Resources  ::  Newsletter

Cincinnati Adventure Fitness Boot Camp for Women  ::  Mason & Blue Ash Adventure Fitness Boot Camp for Women  :: Cincinnati's Total Fitness Makeover  :: Northern Kentucky Fitness Boot Camp