Welcome! Today, we’re diving into one of the 4 exercise pillars that we focus on here at The Smart Fit MethodTM: aerobic efficiency. This is a key aspect of unlocking your fitness potential. You may have heard the term before: it’s the thing that people cycling the Tour de France have a lot of.
What does it mean though?
Well, aerobic efficiency measures your ratio of intensity to effort; intensity depends on the type of exercise – for example, it’s your pace while walking or the watts you produce while cycling – and effort is based on your heart rate. The better your aerobic efficiency, the more active you can be while maintaining a lower heart rate. More efficiency means oxygen is going where it needs to go fast and your blood is pumping with more ease.
In short, aerobic efficiency determines how hard you can go comfortably.
One way to train aerobic efficiency is by doing zone 2 workouts. These are workouts that are about 65%-75% of your max heart rate. Zone 2 workouts are the ones you can hold a conversation while doing. They are also where we oxidate fat for energy. For some people, walking around is a zone 2 workout. For others, cycling for hours can be zone 2. It depends on your aerobic efficiency. When you get better at zone 2, you generate more power while staying in zone 2.
To increase your aerobic efficiency while training on your own, you can take Dr. Philip Maffeton’s advice and train at 180 beats minus your age. This means that at age 60, you would train at under 120 heart beats per minute. When you train in this way, over time you’re able to do more while exerting less. At first, it may seem slow to you; however, if you keep going, your progress will likely surprise you.
Improving your aerobic efficiency improves your aerobic baseline and this makes all of your other zones much higher. When you train properly, over time your experience of exercise changes. What once left you breathless you’re now able to do while chatting. Your endurance is up and new personal bests are upon you.
We get you going safely in zone 2 with our Smart Ride sessions on the CAR.O.L. bike. This offers you Reduced Exertion High-Intensity Interval Training (RE HIIT) to build your ability to do more while exerting less.
Sources / Learn More:
Averill, A. et al. (no date) Aerobic efficiency explained, SportTracks. Available at: https://sporttracks.mobi/blog/aerobic-efficiency-explained
Heart rate zones training guide: Rei co-op (no date) REI. Available at: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/how-to-train-with-a-heart-rate-monitor.html%C2%A0