In order to maximize your results, it is important to exercise in your optimal heart rate zone. According to Phil Maffetone, it is best to use the 180 Formula to determine your maximum heart rate you should be aiming for in a given workout. When training above this heart rate, your body will shift to using readily available sugar (i.e. the food in your stomach) rather than fat for fuel. So for optimal fat burn, use the following formula.
The 180 Formula:
To find your maximum aerobic training heart rate, there are two important steps.
1. Subtract your age from 180.
2. Modify this number by selecting among the following categories the one that best matches your fitness and health profile:
a) If you have or are recovering from a major illness (heart disease, any operation or hospital stay, etc.) or are on any regular medication, subtract an additional 10.
b) If you are injured, have regressed in training or competition, get more than two colds or bouts of flu per year, have allergies or asthma, or if you have been inconsistent or are just getting back into training, subtract an additional 5.
c) If you have been training consistently (at least four times weekly) for up to two years without any of the problems in (a) and (b), keep the number (180–age) the same.
d) If you have been training for more than two years without any of the problems in (a) and (b), and have made progress in competition without injury, add 5.
Once a maximum aerobic heart rate is found, a training range from this heart rate to 10 beats below could be used. For example, if an athlete’s maximum aerobic heart rate is determined to be 155, that person’s aerobic training zone would be 145 to 155 bpm. However, the more training closer to the maximum 155, the quicker an optimal aerobic base will be developed.
In order to avoid injury and improve flexibility, it is very important to stretch before AND after each work-out. All stretches must be held for a minimum of 30 seconds to actually begin to stretch the muscle due to the muscle spindle cell response. Muscle spindle cells are nerve receptors in the belly of the muscle that respond to a slow stretch and initiate contraction. It takes 30 seconds to fatigue the muscle spindle cells and actually begin to stretch the muscle. Check out these two charts for proper stretching techniques:
Beginners should start slow and can walk in place if at any point in the workout the exercise is too much. Since high intensity exercise is contraindicated for those with chronic illness or adrenal fatigue, it is critical for those in this group to use beginner modifications and only push themselves to low or moderate intensity (as long as they have been cleared by a doctor to begin exercising.) People in this group may also opt for our lower intensity beginner workouts. Incorporating 20-30 minutes of steady exercises such as walking, biking, or swimming a few times a week to build up their cardiovascular system is also a good idea.
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