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Do You Work Aerobically??

The term Aerobic Training is probably familiar to you and associated with long steady paced runs/cycles and fat burning etc…. These are true but with developments in fitness and social media it gets a bit confusing, and I often find people just doing a workout they’ve found because it looks like what they need and keeps them moving… This is good of course but, in many cases, people strive for workouts that bring variety and work different components and muscle groups etc, although truth is they have no idea why they’re doing it or the true benefits…

Following one routine or Instagram exercise for days then jumping onto the next provides random, temporary, and limited progress that has no long-term benefit and often leaves the individual back where they started sometimes believing they must push harder, faster within a shorter timeframe leading to frustration and little results….

For me being a Fitness Coach means educating clients as to why they need to change their approach to workouts helping them work more Aerobic (think cardio) and I do this using MAP training method (maximum aerobic power)… The main principle of MAP is repeatability which means designing training sessions that focus on the pace you move so that it is the same each set… Think of a runner doing 1km splits and he must do 5 at the same pace or someone combines three movements such as rowing, wall balls & push ups and do a set number of each for 5 rounds completed at the same pace known as mixed modal aerobic training….

Maybe you’re wondering how can this benefit me as I just feel my way through whatever workout I’m doing and happy as long as I get it finished?… Well the truth is unless your completing your workouts at the same pace you’re not working aerobically, that is using oxygen to create muscle contractions… if you need to keep changing pace to recover then you are working more an-aerobically which is using lactate and at times creatine to produce muscle contraction… In reality all 3 energy systems always work simultaneously but teaching your body to move through workouts using the aerobic system more has game changing benefits….

Opex Fitness have really changed the landscape in this area to make MAP training more simple and useful to use in the general population regardless of people’s goals or levels of fitness… Being an Opex CCP coach myself I use MAP training with clients and in my gym classes to coach people to work more aerobically which can be tough because most have trained with intensity in mind all their life and the idea of slowing down to eventually get faster opposes their own training philosophy and requires patience which many don’t have….

I had an experience that blew my mind during the Opex CCP course… We did weekly zoom class discussions with James Fitzgerald one of the co-founders of Opex who was crowned the fittest man on earth after winning the first CrossFit Games in 2007… With such an inspiring background at the highest level this guy amazed me with his devotion and commitment to teaching what I thought was mainly for high level athletes but he taught us the importance of applying MAP principles to the general everyday person looking to improve fitness because it enables better longevity, reduced injury, improved skills/technique, improved fat metabolism and better overall fitness performance amongst many other benefits but the most important thing I believe it teaches patience…

James Fitzgerald told us a story about a top-level CrossFit athlete at the games one year (I’m sure it was Matt Fraser but can’t remember exactly!) when he finished the competition, he said that was the toughest workouts he ever done which meant his training for the event was less intense and more aerobic… This means despite what many see and think these athletes working at incredible intensity’s even with weights when competing but the training that leads up to the competition is aerobic using MAP principles to repeat and sustain set paces below aerobic/lactate thresholds…. Just so happens these athletes have trained this way so long that their aerobic capacity for this training is so highly developed to work at higher paces that would destroy an average Joe like myself!… The fact is they know when to change gears better within workouts because of all the MAP style training…

James Breese the author of Maximum Aerobic Power has done a great job publishing a book aimed at over 30s using the MAP principles… His analogy comparing humans to gears in a car explains why we must pace and learn to use the full range of gears 1-5 with the goal being to reach 5th gear and remain in cruise control… Like a car we must be able to use all 5 gears and know how it feels with gears 1 & 2 being explosive movements (creatine), 3 & 4 anaerobic (lactate) and 5 being aerobic (oxygen)… Like a car we have use for all gears at different times during a workout but because we have not given the time to learn how to pace and learn our gears better most of us use gears 3-4 unknowingly and just grind through fuel quicker….

I love this topic and it’s certainly not going to attract many people wanting to quickly lose weight and buff up because it requires patience and commitment but for any age, shape, size, or fitness level I believe using MAP principles can bring more enjoyment and results from fitness if used correctly….

If you would like more information or a personalised program using MAP training drop me a message and I’ll get back to you soon…

Andy Armour

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