Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

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Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:57 pm

Get out of the zone

First, although it might sound better for weight loss to burn a higher percentage of fat, the real-world effect of that intensity on your body composition is next to nil. “The idea that all of a sudden when you hit this zone the fat is just being sucked out of your system is simplistic,” says Christopher Breen, an exercise physiologist and online coach in Long Island. “That completely ignores that losing or maintaining weight is basically a matter of calories in versus calories out.”

If the key determinant of weight loss were the percentage of fat you’re burning, then your best bet would be to remain still, because that’s when you’re burning the highest percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates. But, as Breen says, total calories burned is what matters...


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... ae69897a0a
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:04 pm

Initial reaction without reading article ----- bull-fucking-shit.

Now, I'm gonna go read the article.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:08 pm

If I understand it correctly, it's more a critique of the idea of a special fat-burning zone being the key to getting lean. The argument being that for the same exercise period of say, one hour, a more intense level of activity will burn more calories, which is more relevant to weight loss or maintenance.

“If you’re exercising at this lower intensity, you’re burning fewer calories per minute,” says Christine Brooks, a University of Florida adjunct instructor and the coaching science coordinator for USA Track & Field. “The average person walking for an hour is going to burn only a couple hundred calories.” In that time, you could burn more than twice as many calories running, cycling or using an elliptical machine at a moderate intensity.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:11 pm

...which, now that I think about it for more than a second, is not what Maffetone is suggesting. He suggests you start with walking, but slowly ramp up to more intense--and calorie burning--levels of activity, while training your body to maintain a lower hear rate and thus emphasize fat-burning.

Nonetheless, food for thought.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:16 pm

After reading the article - head turned sideways a few times. Things that make me go hmmmmmm.. Still a lot of bull-fucking-shit.

Perhaps written by someone without much knowledge on the subject. Yes, empirically it's right. But a whole lot of bastardization to make it about today's ADHD generation is what it all about. Not the true method to get the results in my mind.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by syaigh » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:32 pm

What this article fails to recognize, and most people fail to recognize, is that the low intensity longer duration work is not just about burning calories. Its about a whole lot of physiological adaptations that are absolutely necessary in order to sustain higher intensity activities for longer duration in the future.

Why do most people burn out of exercise programs after 6 months or so due to overuse injuries or psychological roadblocks? Because they are pushing too far out of their adaptation zone. We are a bunch of fat, lazy, out of shape people and it takes a long time to get to where we can do a few high intensity workouts a week in conjunction with low intensity longer duration exercise every day.

Maffetone's heart rate zones and definitions may not really make all that much sense in a black and white metabolic way, but in terms of using heart rate to set an rpe zone where one can work for longer periods of time while BOTH creating positive adaptations AND not creating a recovery deficit is the true magic of the method.

Can't tell you how many crossfitters I've trained who can go hard for their WOD of choice, but when it comes to putting in actual work over a longer period of time (weightlifting, powerlifting, or throwing) they run out of gas in a very short period of time. Adding low intensity/longer duration cardio to their workouts either as recovery or a replacement for a training day always helps a great deal.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:42 pm

syaigh wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:32 pm
Maffetone's heart rate zones and definitions may not really make all that much sense in a black and white metabolic way, but in terms of using heart rate to set an rpe zone where one can work for longer periods of time while BOTH creating positive adaptations AND not creating a recovery deficit is the true magic of the method.
And therein lies what the article should have said. Instead of what it actually said. "NOT CREATING A RECOVERY DEFICIT IS THE TRUE MAGIC OF THE METHOD."

well stated Syaigh.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:50 pm

Also, if you want to get all geeky, the math argues against the fat-burning zone. Walk two miles in an hour, and you’ll burn about 200 calories, with roughly 140 of them fueled by fat. Cycle moderately for that time, and you’ll burn about 500 calories, with about 250 of them fueled by fat — so you’ll burn more calories and more fat. “When I worked with people in a gym, I would tell them, ‘Ultimately, it’s a matter of calories; the fat burn will take care of itself,’ ” Breen says.

But what about this fundamental critique? There's some truth to this, isn't there?
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:05 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:50 pm
Also, if you want to get all geeky, the math argues against the fat-burning zone. Walk two miles in an hour, and you’ll burn about 200 calories, with roughly 140 of them fueled by fat. Cycle moderately for that time, and you’ll burn about 500 calories, with about 250 of them fueled by fat — so you’ll burn more calories and more fat. “When I worked with people in a gym, I would tell them, ‘Ultimately, it’s a matter of calories; the fat burn will take care of itself,’ ” Breen says.

But what about this fundamental critique? There's some truth to this, isn't there?
I'm not going to pretend to be more learned than I am on this subject - but, yes. Empirically that is correct based upon what I have read.

The part that I don't like is the tone of "efficiency in fat loss" "do what is more better." To me, fat loss is about what is sustainable. What is sustainable is looking at the long term. There is nothing in this article that I can tell that looks at the big picture. It's myopic to me.

But to answer your question - it is correct.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Sua Sponte » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:30 pm

syaigh wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:32 pm
What this article fails to recognize, and most people fail to recognize, is that the low intensity longer duration work is not just about burning calories. Its about a whole lot of physiological adaptations that are absolutely necessary in order to sustain higher intensity activities for longer duration in the future.

Why do most people burn out of exercise programs after 6 months or so due to overuse injuries or psychological roadblocks? Because they are pushing too far out of their adaptation zone. We are a bunch of fat, lazy, out of shape people and it takes a long time to get to where we can do a few high intensity workouts a week in conjunction with low intensity longer duration exercise every day.

Maffetone's heart rate zones and definitions may not really make all that much sense in a black and white metabolic way, but in terms of using heart rate to set an rpe zone where one can work for longer periods of time while BOTH creating positive adaptations AND not creating a recovery deficit is the true magic of the method.

Can't tell you how many crossfitters I've trained who can go hard for their WOD of choice, but when it comes to putting in actual work over a longer period of time (weightlifting, powerlifting, or throwing) they run out of gas in a very short period of time. Adding low intensity/longer duration cardio to their workouts either as recovery or a replacement for a training day always helps a great deal.
Well said and entirely aligns to my experience as well.

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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Sua Sponte » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:42 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:50 pm
Also, if you want to get all geeky, the math argues against the fat-burning zone. Walk two miles in an hour, and you’ll burn about 200 calories, with roughly 140 of them fueled by fat. Cycle moderately for that time, and you’ll burn about 500 calories, with about 250 of them fueled by fat — so you’ll burn more calories and more fat. “When I worked with people in a gym, I would tell them, ‘Ultimately, it’s a matter of calories; the fat burn will take care of itself,’ ” Breen says.

But what about this fundamental critique? There's some truth to this, isn't there?
I don't claim expertise on the method or the intent but what I have read of the Maffetone method is more centered on improved performance than optimal amount of fat burning (vs. optimal percentage of fat burning while still getting a training effect). His claims are by to my understanding, again limited, are the body trains itself to be more efficient at breaking fat down to train so one doesn't hit a wall during endurance events due to glycogen depletion.

While I have had good results from the method, I have not realized a training effect where it requires great physical to get the heart rate into or above the specified zone (180 - age minus correction factors). I have had the effect that I can move faster without exceeding the zone but it's still easy for me to exceed it.

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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:27 am

The fundamental critique that on a minute per minute basis, X activity only burns Y calories can be leveled at any exercise program targeted at weight loss....because as a single silo measure of promoting weight loss, exercise is a bit crap compared to caloric restriction.

The real question is which form of rhythmic prolonged exercise promotes the most overall calorie deficit WHILE also being sustainable over the long haul AND without inspiring huge spikes in appetite. When you apply that real world lens, two endurance modes start to shine. A low and slow approach that is more like NEPA in its subtlety and effect and High Intensity very short intervals which IME, tend to blunt appetite.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Sangoma » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:33 am

Blaidd Drwg wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:27 am
The fundamental critique that on a minute per minute basis, X activity only burns Y calories can be leveled at any exercise program targeted at weight loss....because as a single silo measure of promoting weight loss, exercise is a bit crap compared to caloric restriction.

The real question is which form of rhythmic prolonged exercise promotes the most overall calorie deficit WHILE also being sustainable over the long haul AND without inspiring huge spikes in appetite. When you apply that real world lens, two endurance modes start to shine. A low and slow approach that is more like NEPA in its subtlety and effect and High Intensity very short intervals which IME, tend to blunt appetite.
Spot on. Lab versus real life results, lots of folks don't understand the difference. Even though metabolically mid-intensities seem to burn more fat, in real life polarized approach seems to be easier to follow and therefore more likely to bring results.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by odin » Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:45 am

Sua Sponte wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:42 pm
Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:50 pm
Also, if you want to get all geeky, the math argues against the fat-burning zone. Walk two miles in an hour, and you’ll burn about 200 calories, with roughly 140 of them fueled by fat. Cycle moderately for that time, and you’ll burn about 500 calories, with about 250 of them fueled by fat — so you’ll burn more calories and more fat. “When I worked with people in a gym, I would tell them, ‘Ultimately, it’s a matter of calories; the fat burn will take care of itself,’ ” Breen says.

But what about this fundamental critique? There's some truth to this, isn't there?
I don't claim expertise on the method or the intent but what I have read of the Maffetone method is more centered on improved performance than optimal amount of fat burning (vs. optimal percentage of fat burning while still getting a training effect). His claims are by to my understanding, again limited, are the body trains itself to be more efficient at breaking fat down to train so one doesn't hit a wall during endurance events due to glycogen depletion.

While I have had good results from the method, I have not realized a training effect where it requires great physical to get the heart rate into or above the specified zone (180 - age minus correction factors). I have had the effect that I can move faster without exceeding the zone but it's still easy for me to exceed it.
I think this is worth repeating. Maffetone does discuss fat loss, but it's performance and health that his method is aimed at primarily, fat loss is just a by-product. Not saying the LSD v HIIT debate isn't of interest for people but critiquing Maffetone along these lines is a bit like critiquing ashtanga yoga as strength training.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by odin » Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:45 am

Sua Sponte wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:42 pm
Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:50 pm
Also, if you want to get all geeky, the math argues against the fat-burning zone. Walk two miles in an hour, and you’ll burn about 200 calories, with roughly 140 of them fueled by fat. Cycle moderately for that time, and you’ll burn about 500 calories, with about 250 of them fueled by fat — so you’ll burn more calories and more fat. “When I worked with people in a gym, I would tell them, ‘Ultimately, it’s a matter of calories; the fat burn will take care of itself,’ ” Breen says.

But what about this fundamental critique? There's some truth to this, isn't there?
I don't claim expertise on the method or the intent but what I have read of the Maffetone method is more centered on improved performance than optimal amount of fat burning (vs. optimal percentage of fat burning while still getting a training effect). His claims are by to my understanding, again limited, are the body trains itself to be more efficient at breaking fat down to train so one doesn't hit a wall during endurance events due to glycogen depletion.

While I have had good results from the method, I have not realized a training effect where it requires great physical to get the heart rate into or above the specified zone (180 - age minus correction factors). I have had the effect that I can move faster without exceeding the zone but it's still easy for me to exceed it.
I think this is worth repeating. Maffetone does discuss fat loss, but it's performance and health that his method is aimed at primarily, fat loss is just a by-product. Not saying the LSD v HIIT debate isn't of interest for people but critiquing Maffetone along these lines is a bit like critiquing ashtanga yoga as strength training.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Shafpocalypse Now » Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:31 pm

The big issue I have with Maffetone's recommendations is everyone else's, an hour at 130-140 bpm heart rate is fucking tedious. I can't get there by either walking or rucking outside. I top out in the 115s with moderately fast rucking with a 20# pack, and fast walking is under 100. There are no freaking hills or elevation changes around here to make up some of the difference.

Most times I can't help but think an hour spent lifting would be an hour better spent

I can do it on indoor cardio equipment pretty reliably though.

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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Bobby » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:42 pm

Shafpocalypse Now wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:31 pm
The big issue I have with Maffetone's recommendations is everyone else's, an hour at 130-140 bpm heart rate is fucking tedious. I can't get there by either walking or rucking outside. I top out in the 115s with moderately fast rucking with a 20# pack, and fast walking is under 100. There are no freaking hills or elevation changes around here to make up some of the difference.

Most times I can't help but think an hour spent lifting would be an hour better spent

I can do it on indoor cardio equipment pretty reliably though.
Tried doing the walking with a dog? This evenings walk with my fur rocket had me nearly jogging,must have been a lot of bitches walking around the neighbourhood.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Sangoma » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:37 pm

Bobby, your dog is badly trained.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:38 am

Shafpocalypse Now wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:31 pm
The big issue I have with Maffetone's recommendations is everyone else's, an hour at 130-140 bpm heart rate is fucking tedious. I can't get there by either walking or rucking outside. I top out in the 115s with moderately fast rucking with a 20# pack, and fast walking is under 100. There are no freaking hills or elevation changes around here to make up some of the difference.

Most times I can't help but think an hour spent lifting would be an hour better spent

I can do it on indoor cardio equipment pretty reliably though.
Is that fair though...the critique is that it's hard to pull off with your chosen method?


The place I though you were going is the blanket number. To me, there are radically different things happening throughout what we call zone 2...if not totally from a physiological standpoint but from an efficiency standpoint.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Sangoma » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:52 am

I wanted to say the same thing - it's like saying I don't like Smolov because workouts are too long.

On another note - it seems impossible to hide from the fact that "either-or" arguments are a dead end. To get the best result for anything you have to employ more than just one "best" method. Cardio - both LSD and HIIT. Lifting - cycles of volume and intensity. General fitness - both lifting and cardio. For sports - sport specific activity plus cardio plus lifting.
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:40 pm

Wait. Want to make sure I'm understanding what everyone is saying. If I understand the intent of the article, one method is best; best to do what is most efficient. And for those of us who have spent time living this lifestyle - we know that is not the only way to make this happen. Moreover, it's not sustainable - all the time, just like anything else, does not work because acclimation is a bitch.

Now, Shaf doesn't like it because sustaining 130-140 HR for an hour is tedious. No disagreement. I can do it at max incline on a treadmill at a relatively moderate pace. It sucks. Sucks nasty. Especially after 40 minutes. But this is sustainable and achievable for me.

Rucking sounds sustainable as well. But I can see where the hills of West Virginia versus the not so hills of Michigan would make it problematic. Dear Christ, I can walk from the end of one of my properties to the other - takes 40 minutes, average HR is 140+. Likely change in elevation is almost a 1,000 feet. Need one of those garmin thingys Dave mentions.

But back to point that I find interesting - HIT blunts appetite and LSD does not? I'd like to know more about this? Where can someone get his learning?
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Re: Interesting Critique of Maffetone Method

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:05 am

Really Big Strong Guy wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:40 pm
But back to point that I find interesting - HIT blunts appetite and LSD does not? I'd like to know more about this? Where can someone get his learning?


swear that I read Lyle on this HIIT thing and appetite but perhaps Im wrong. I find it to be the case for me. Very high percentage of VO2max intervals tend to crush appetite for me. Try it and see how you respond. Perhaps it's just the nausea that does that.

LSD above a certain % tends to have wild appetite implications for me. Bobby and I have discussed this wiht rucking...at about 25-30 pounds and 130BPM pace, no big deal...add jut a little more weigh or pace and you get ravenous.
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