Cardio Health – 7 Important Lessons

The following points are key takeaways from an excellent book I studied earlier this year called “Primal Endurance” by Mark Sissons and Brad Kearns.

It’s such a great book on endurance training but there are lots of great takeaways for anyone, irrespective of training for an endurance event or not.

I hope you enjoy them:

  1. Your maximum aerobic heart rate is 180 beats/min minus your age.  So mine is 180-34 = 146BPM.  That’s very low and I can get to that level without pushing myself at all.  I was very surprised!
  2. Aerobic exercise emphasises fat burning and anaerobic exercise (anything above 146BPM for me) emphasises glucose burning
  3. Mitochondria (the energy centres within a cell) prefer to burn fat as opposed to glucose and burn fat more cleanly (think a lovely electric engine vs a big gas guzzler)
  4. Using glucose for fuel instead of fat creates a huge amount of free radical damage.  This affects all cells increasing the speed of ageing
  5. Training intensities that are above your maximum aerobic heart rate (even slightly) but below your maximum “all out” efforts are known as “The Black Hole” a term used by Phil Maffetone – who has spent 30 years training olympic level triathletes
  6. Training in the “black hole” not only damages cellular activity but stresses the adrenal glands, leading to fatigue and burn out if over used
  7. Training in the “black hole” also places unnecessary stress on the heart and lungs, increasing cellular damage in these tissues

So what can YOU learn from the points above?

Well, first of all, increasing efficient energy production reduces stress on your body.  That is done by balancing the correct levels of carb/protein/fat for your body.  Feeling sluggish = wrong ratios

Secondly, to increase your daily energy it’s a great idea to implement some form of aerobic training into your weekly plan.  This improves mitochondrial function and helps to boost endorphins too, without the unnecessary lull you can get after a training session that was too hard for you.  This type of session might be a brisk 60min walk twice per week for example.

In my weekly workouts I have at least one that fits the aerobic zone, even when lifting weights, which is a perfect blend of energy production and metabolism boosting!