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Day 10 - 180 minus your age

My old workout regiment wasn’t doing me any favors.

I used to see how hard I could push myself whenever I was working on the elliptical, an exercise bike or the Stair Master.

I wanted the sweat to be pouring off of me.

Then someone had the audacity to suggest that I check out the work that Phil Maffetone was doing. I looked him up, spent a few minutes on his site and proceeded to ignore it and kept on being a bonehead.

Luckily for me, a year later I was enrolled in the Primal Health Coaching program and the developer of the program, Mark Sisson, also referred to the breakthrough work that Phil Maffetone was doing.

Sisson described how Phil’s work had changed his approach to exercise.

Mark Sisson knows a little about exercise and fitness. He started Mark’s Daily Apple blog in 2006 with millions of readers and wrote multiple best-selling books—The Primal BluePrint (2009), Primal Endurance (2015) and The Keto Reset Diet (2017).

But it’s what Sisson did prior to developing the Primal approach to nutrition, movement, and recovery that got my attention regarding Maffetone’s work.

Prior to starting Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark Sisson was an elite marathoner and triathlete coming in 4th in the Hawaiian Iron Man.

But at age 35 he had to stop competing because of chronic injuries and osteoarthritis.

Sisson talks about the number of his competitors that had to quit competing because their bodies were breaking down, but also the ones that had to quit because they died. From heart disease. That was the part that he said made the least sense to him. How could these elite athletes be dying from heart disease? They were some of the fittest people on the planet!

That was the question that led Sisson to the work that Maffetone was doing.

It turns out that someone can be incredibly fit, but not necessarily healthy.

Chronic training at an elevated heart rate increases the production of stress hormones, inflammation and can also lead to compromised immune function and cardiovascular issues.

Based on his research Maffetone developed his 180- program. This program is centered around finding the appropriate target for your heart rate during your exercise.

180 minus your age is the target number.

If you have been exercising regularly (at least 4 times per week) for up to two years without any of the above problems, use the 180-age number.

However, if you’re recovering from a major illness (heart disease, any operation, any hospital stay, etc.) or on any regular medication, you’ll need to subtract an additional 10.

Subtract another 5 if you have not exercised before, or done so irregularly; have been exercising with injury; have regressed in training or competition; get more than 2 bouts of cold or flu per year; or have asthma or allergies.

If you are a competitive athlete and have been training for more than two years without any of the above problems and have made progress in completion without injury, add 5.

A lot of competitive athletes were skeptical of Maffetone’s work.

Mark Allen decided to give it a try.

Allen credits Maffetone’s training for helping him win the Ironman World Championships SIX TIMES.

Prior to meeting Phil, Mark was using more of a “no-pain, no-gain” approach that he had used as a swimmer and that approach had not produced wins.

Phil convinced him of the merit of building a strong aerobic base by letting his pace be dictated by his heart rate.

He trained that way for 5 years and then dominated the sport for the next 6 years.

But let’s say that you’re not interested in getting ready for the Ironman. How about exercising in a way that drastically reduces injuries and burnout and conditions your body to burn fat instead of relying on sugar?

I’d sign up for that class all day long.

And then throw in the bonus of producing less oxidative stress / inflammation when you exercise or just walking down the street and you’ve got a pretty compelling bargain.

If you’re doing any type of conditioning work now I’d encourage you to get a heart rate monitor and start using Maffetone’s formula.

Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from walking, get out and walk every day. At least 30 minutes a day. It helps you burn body fat, it’s a great way to unwind and it gets you outdoors.

If you want to learn more about 180- your age, here’s a link to an interview that Maffetone did with Runners Connect and here’s a link to his book, The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing that he talked about in the interview.

Congratulations on staying after this!  Yep, some familiar assignments but today we’re going to add a new one.

Eat real food 

Enjoy your walk!

Using the stopwatch on your phone you’re going to hit start and do as many perfect form push-ups as you can and then rest for the remainder of that minute, when the next minute starts – same drill.  You’re going to do this for a total of 7 minutes and add up how many push-ups you can do and record it in your journal.  


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