I am excited to try something new with my fitness training program.
Currently I do cardio six days a week, 45 minutes per workout, alternating days between my recumbent bike and rowing machine. I also alternate the type of training I do each day. I also do 30 minutes of basic strength training workouts three days a week.
Here is what my week looks like in terms of cardio workouts (each day starts with about a 10 minute warm-up on the bike and some stretching; for my max heart rate (MHR), I have been using 170:
- Monday: 45 minutes on the bike; three minute warm up, followed by 40 minutes steady state at 75% of my MHR, followed by two minute cool down
- Tuesday: 45 minutes on the erg; three minute warm up, followed by 8 intervals of 5 minutes each, with each five minute interval consisting of the following: two minutes at 65% MHR; 2 minutes at 75% MHR, and one minute at 85% MHR, followed by two minute cool down
- Wednesday: 45 minutes on the bike; three minute warm up, followed by 40 minutes steady state at 60% of my MHR, followed by two minutes of cool down
- Thursday: 45 minutes on the erg; 3 minutes warming up, followed by 40 minutes steady state at 75% of my MHR, followed by two minute cool down
- Friday: 45 minutes on the bike; three minute warm up, followed by 8 intervals of 5 minutes each, with each five minute interval consisting of the following: two minutes at 65% MHR; 2 minutes at 75% MHR, and one minute at 85% MHR, followed by two minute cool down
- Saturday: 45 minutes on the erg; three minute warm up, followed by 40 minutes steady state at 60% of my MHR, followed by two minute cool down
While not physically taxing, the days where I have to keep my heart rate at 60% max are hard, since I need to go REALLY slow.
So while I think I am in decent shape, I’ve always been interested in trying new approaches to working out, to see if I can improve my fitness level.
I recently discovered the web site of Dr. Phil Maffetone. Dr. Maffetone has worked with world class athletes, celebrities, as well as the general public. His extensive list of clients include professional football and baseball players, race-car drivers, Olympic medalists, and six times world iron-man champion, Mark Allen.
What intrigued me most about his training approach was the emphasis on heart-rate monitoring, which I am a big fan of already, as you can tell from my workouts above. However, rather than having a variety of heart training workouts like I show above, Dr. Maffetone recommends a simple training method known as the 180 formula.
The 180 formula starts with a person taking 180 minus their age to determine their maximum heart rate for training. From there, depending on an individual’s current health status, he or she would make a few simple, but key adjustments to arrive at their final maximum heart training rate.
In my case, I will just start with 180-57 to get a heart rate of 123, and that becomes what I train at every workout. While Maffetone notes that you can use this formula to come up with a training range, perhaps from 10 beats below to your maximum training rate, the closer you are to the max rate the better.
I will continue to do my cardio workouts six days per week, alternating between biking and rowing, as well as continue strength training three times per week. I plan to keep my heart rate under 123 for the strength training workouts as well.
I am looking forward to seeing what, if any, improvements I notice from this approach.
My first guess is that it will be less stressful on my body, and so I should not feel overly tired after a workout. I did try this today when I was doing part of my strength training workout, and it was quite hard to keep my heart rate at 123 when doing burpees ( I realize burpees aren’t best classified as a strength training exercise, but I don’t think of them as strictly cardio either). My heart rate would jump to about 129 after just a few burpees, and then I would have to wait almost 45 seconds for my rate to get back to 123. It will be quite interesting to see if I am able to get more efficient at doing burpees with this training method.
I’ll share my progress on the blog, after my first month of using it.
Anyway, that’s enough talking, tomorrow it’s time to put the plan in action.