If you’ve never used a heart-monitor during your cardio workouts, you’re missing out! Heart rate monitors are no longer only used by elite athletes, they are now a common training tool used by people of all levels of fitness and a vital tool for anyone wanting to improve performance and overall fitness. If you’re looking to optimise your endurance or weight loss, it’s time to put the MAF 180 Formula to use.
What is the MAF 180 formula?
Designed by Phil Maffetone, the 180 Formula enables you to find the optimal aerobic heart rate to base all your cardio endurance training, teaching your body to use more stored body fat while you work, rest and play. Used correctly, the formula will help you achieve peak aerobic function during your training, increasing both endurance and fat burning, while limiting excess stress, muscle imbalance, and other issues that can occur with high-intensity anaerobic training.
Aerobic base training is often used by endurance athletes like runners, cyclists, and swimmers, because developing your aerobic energy system allows you to go faster and longer at a lower heart rate. This places less stress on the body, therefore requiring less recovery time, giving the body more of a chance to boost performance. However, there are many other benefits to aerobic base training, including:
- Increasing fat burning capabilities
- Managing stress levels
- Less tiring of muscles
- Preventing injury and disease
Calculating your aerobic heart rate
Your aerobic heart rate is based on your age and current health. The general formula is 180 minus your age. For example, if you are 30 years old and have good health and fitness, your maximal aerobic heart rate will be 180-30 = 150BPM and your training zone will be 140-150BPM. However, this number can vary from person to person – here’s a basic calculation taken directly from Phil Maffetone’s website:
Subtract your age from 180, then modify from one of the categories below:
- If you have or are recovering from a major illness (heart disease, any operation or hospital stay, etc.), are in rehabilitation, are on any regular medication, or are in Stage 3 (chronic) overtraining (burnout), subtract an additional 10.
- If you are injured, have regressed or not improved in training (such as poor MAF Tests) or competition, get more than two colds, flu or other infections per year, have seasonal allergies or asthma, are over weight, are in Stage 1 or 2 of overtraining, or if you have been inconsistent, just starting, or just getting back into training, subtract an additional 5.
- If you have been training consistently (at least four times weekly) for up to two years without any of the problems mentioned in a) or b), no modification is necessary (use 180 minus age as your aerobic HR).
- If you have been training for more than two years without any of the problems listed above, have made progress in your MAF Tests, improved competitively and are without injury, add 5.
How to optimise your aerobic training
Once you know your aerobic heart rate, you’ll need to monitor your heart rate during your training. This is where a simple heart rate monitor comes in. When you’re first starting aerobic base training, you’ll ideally want to stick only to low-intensity aerobic exercises such as running, biking, and swimming – this means minimal to no weight training and no HIIT until you’ve improved your aerobic system.
For the best results, slowly get yourself up to your aerobic heart rate zone and stay there for the duration of your training session. This isn’t about going hard and fast like high intensity workouts, but keeping up a slower pace for an extended period of time. Progress can be slow to start with, and definitely takes some commitment, but after a few months you’ll find you’re getting faster and able to train longer while maintaining your aerobic heart rate.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of aerobic training? Contact us today to discuss how we can improve your health and fitness with the MAF 180 method.