The one thing that has perplexed me in practice is seeing people who are “sick” but physically fit. Or the person who’s significantly overweight, but has been on a strict and consistent exercise regimen.
It all comes down to what is our “fuel” source: fat or sugar?
Your body’s fuel source will be dependent upon a myriad of factors with the main one being your heart rate. You’ve probably seen this on the exercise equipment you’re using. You can put your hands on those metal electrodes and your heart rate will be displayed. Then it will tell you if you’re in the “burn zone” or not.
But their calculations are all wrong.
The 180 rule
Dr. Phil Maffetone has trained thousand of endurance athletes and has developed a different method of calculating the optimal heart rate range that gets you into burning fat. Here’s the simple calculation:
180 – age = Target Heart Rate (upper limit)
Minus 10 will determine your lower limit
So if you’re 40 years old, your upper limit would be 140 and your lower limit would be 130.
So you just remain in that range for about 20-30 min and that’s what we call the “anaerobic” zone where you’re burning fat for energy.
Your current fitness level will alter your zone as well:
- Subtract 10 if you’re recovering from a major illness or on medications
- Subtract 5 if you’re just starting into an exercise routine, exercising with injury, lowering your level of exercise, have allergies/asthma
- Add 5 if you’re a competitive athlete training for more than 2 years consistently
You’ll notice that when you start to implement this you’ll feel like you’re not exercising hard enough. But keep at it and you’ll notice results over time.
- Monitor your heart rate. If you can either take your pulse (feel your wrist or neck area, count how many pulses yo feel in 15 seconds and then multiply that by 4), use the heart rate electrodes on the exercise equipment or better yet, get a dedicated heart rate monitor. (I know some devices like apple watch and fitbit have this built in).
- Stay within your calculated target heart rate
- Lather, rinse and repeat!
Have you tried this before? If you have, what have you noticed? Leave your comments below
Get the book “The Maffetone Method” as it goes in depth on this topic
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