Stu Mittleman and Dr Philip Maffetone have both written about how the optimum balance of health and fitness can be achieved through training the metabolism to work more efficiently. This can be achieved by monitoring the heart rate to determine the correct level of intensity for your exercise routine.
So what is the optimum heart rate that you need to be exercising at?
Stu Mittleman identifies three levels –
1. MAP – the Mostly Aerobic Pace promotes fat utilisation and is great for releasing tension and stress in the body. It is also the zone you want to work in initially if you do not take part in any regular form of exercise.
2. MEP – the Most Efficient Pace is the most productive zone for developing increased energy and stamina.
3. SAP – the Speedy Aerobic Pace is when you are burning mainly sugar. SAP interval training is really useful when you have built a good fat burning foundation.
So keeping it simple … using, Stu Mittleman’s formula, the upper limit of the MEP zone is 180 – your age and this is the maximum you want your heart rate to be working to ensure that your body is at it’s most productive and efficient level of movement. Working at or below this maximum level also ensures that your workout becomes a pleasure rather than pain, which will steadily increase your level of vitality.
For more information on how to calculate the precise figures for all the zones have a look at the Slow Burn book by Stu Mittleman.
I have just finished reading “Slow Burn, burn fat faster by exercising slower” by Stu Mittleman, an endurance athlete who completed a 1000 mile race and looked better at the end than he did at the beginning! In Slow Burn he delivers a program for creating energy and endurance so you can go the distance and feel great doing it every day. A useful skill in many areas of life I would have thought!
One of the key points I took away from this book is that there is a huge variety of approaches to exercise programs and diets – the trick is to find the approach that is right for you. This may be one specific program or it may be a combination. Only you will know what works for you by raising your level of awareness and learning what kinds of food energise you, what type of movement brings you pleasure and what activities make you feel youthful, vibrant and full of life?
As a result of what I’ve learned I have completely changed my usual routine of pushing myself around the hills to walking on the flat at a much more steady and comfortable pace. With the use of a heart rate monitor I can have the confidence that I am working within a zone that is stimulating my metabolism and creating a solid foundation of fitness without causing excessive strain on my body. A completely different experience which I look forward to 3- 4 times a week!
For more information on this program and other resources to enhance your health and well being join me on the next Keeping it Simple – Health and Wellbeing workshop on Saturday 12th March 2011. Spaces are limited so confirm your place today by emailing Heather or calling 0800 406 535.