Dr. Phil Maffetone - no, not MAF training

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by BFwillie_g, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. BFwillie_g

    BFwillie_g Barefooters
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    No, I don't mean yet another thread about low HR training. I mean the man himself, Dr. Phil Maffetone, and his website. The guy is real (not a legend, not a pseudonym), and he's an active writer in the sports/health field and also a very talented singer/songwriter (which afaik is his main focus these days).

    Take a look at his website:

    http://philmaffetone.com/home.cfm

    He's got pretty active discussion forums and does his best to answer queries personally and take an active role discussions. He has a LOT to say about nutrition, btw, possibly more than any other subject.

    Here's a short sampling of articles that many BRS'ers may enjoy:

    http://philmaffetone.com/aerobic.cfm
    http://philmaffetone.com/perfectshoe.cfm
    http://philmaffetone.com/stretching.cfm

    I often sense a "Maffetone effect" when reading articles written by other sports health and medical experts. In many cases, Maffetone was there first and the others are just revising and re-packaging his ideas to fit their own agenda.
     

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  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    And... He's also a member of the BRS. ;-)
     
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  3. BFwillie_g

    BFwillie_g Barefooters
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    That's right - got the Stomp of Approval and the t-shirt, too! :)
     

  4. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Thanks Willie, I especially appreciate reading his thoughts on strength/anaerobic training. Reading some of the secondary 'Maff' sources, I could never figure out exactly where he stood on it. Turns out his recommendations are pretty much the way I've been doing it for a long time, so it's nice to get the confirmation. I've been resisting the more recent HIIT-type circuit training, partly out of laziness, partly because I already have a comfortable routine, and his criticism of this kind of weight training helps put my mind at ease. That just about finishes this chapter of catching up on all the all the health/fitness developments. Perhaps now the obsessiveness will turn to more pressing matters . . .
     
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  5. migangelo

    migangelo Chapter Presidents
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    BL, could you please spell it out for me? i read his stuff and i just got a book from mark allen. they contradict themselves a few times and if someone can lay it out for me that would be great. yes, even though i'm a real smart alec, i can be slow.
     

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  6. BFwillie_g

    BFwillie_g Barefooters
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    Angelo - you could always join his forums and ask about contradictions there. I'm sure he'd be interested in your thoughts. I don't use the forums but I've been getting his newsletters for quite a while now (two years?) and really enjoy them!
     

  7. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Sure Mike. The main article is here: http://philmaffetone.com/strengthtrainingpart1.cfm
    Basically, the good doctor recommends:
    1) having a good aerobic base before beginning strength training, which means doing a minimum of three months of pure aerobic stuff;
    2) not lifting to failure, because once the muscle(s) begin to fail, you are no longer recruiting all the fibers on your next set;
    3) allowing several minutes of recovery between sets, so that the muscle is 'reset' to do the next set properly;
    4) and doing low reps, heavier weights, for reasons that will not come to me until I have another shot of espresso.

    This is pretty much how I'm doing it now:
    1a) Although I don't do HR monitoring, I'm pretty sure I have a decent aerobic base. I can run 10 miles at 10mm pace with easy breathing. But probably just walking for an hour every day for three months would establish enough of a base. Perhaps for the serious endurance athlete, a longer period of building the aerobic base may be necessary, I'm not sure (Willie, any thoughts?);
    2a) While it's true I used to do bench presses to failure once in a while when I had a spotter at the gym, I work out alone now, so I can't risk coming too close to failure. I always do a minimum of one to two reps, and usually more like 3-6;
    3a) I always pace back and forth between sets, which allows time to recover without bringing the heart rate back to a state of rest;
    4a) I've always favored the big muscle, heavier exercises like bench presses, dead lifts, and power cleans. Then I do smaller muscle stuff afterwards. I naturally favored lower reps, simply because I couldn't stand the tedium of doing higher reps, but it's nice that there may be some science to back up my mental weakness. I don't do many pure 'isolation' exercises like biceps curls, although lately I have been doing more than I used to, especially shoulder stuff, because I had a nagging shoulder injury so I've been trying to strengthen the joint.

    Dr. Maff does recommend more of a MovNat approach, but I favor the convenience and precision of free weights. I can get in a decent workout in 30 minutes or so. And free weights encourage fairly natural movements when done properly. All of one's stability and balance neuro-musculature is recruited, unlike with machines where proper form isn't as necessary.

    So basically after several months of looking into all the newish ideas on fitness, wondering about HIIT, long and slow runs, MovNat, and all the rest, I'm basically doing the same workout I've always done, except I do hills and fartleks now in addition to longer, steady-paced runs. My routine keeps me generally fit, motivated, and refreshed, and that's all I need, and apparently certain readings of some studies support it!
     
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  8. BFwillie_g

    BFwillie_g Barefooters
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    nice!
     

  9. migangelo

    migangelo Chapter Presidents
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    ok, i don't lift weights anymore. i didn't renew my gym membership. i was doing body weight work outs. my maf time went up when i started that and racing. i'm cycling back to maf zone training. am i able to continue with the body weight workouts? i tried reading mark allen's book and he isn't clear and concise on it.

    like phil he says when you're doing aerobic, do that. add in anaerobic when you plateau and keep cycling. he then in another part while talking about lifting weights says you can do the endurance phase of weight lifting year round. so which is it?

    will, i've looked at his forum and he doesn't answer everything nor are they real current. maybe it's been a while since i've seen his site. i don't have internet at home and it limits what i can do.
     

  10. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I'll try to respond more tomorrow early am, right now dinner awaits over at my brother's. But the bottom line, I think, is do what you like, what motivates you--a little aerobic, a little anaerobic--and you'll be fine. We're not high performance athletes, so who cares what the optimal is? Be strong, be fit, be happy.
     
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  11. Barefoot Gentile

    Barefoot Gentile Barefooters
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    Thank you Lee! I love your mind set.
     
  12. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Mike, my understanding is that you're right, the Maffetone method, in its pure form, requires you to do purely aerobic stuff until you plateau, that is, are no longer benefiting from it. Then you cycle in anaerobic stuff, like speedwork on runs, or strength-training. However, in the bit on his web site that I read, he seemed to be more lax for those who are interested in strength-training, recommending a minimal of three months of aerobic training before digging into the anaerobic stuff. In any case, somewhere else you said you ran six miles in something like two hours, which is close to walking pace, which means you are doing purely aerobic runs already, unless your heart is incredibly unfit. So, unless your goal is to maximize your endurance fitness, which, frankly, given your current pace, is probably a long ways off, I wouldn't worry about starting in on the body weight stuff. Studies should be taken with a big grain of salt, but there is pretty good evidence that there are enormous health benefits to strength-training--it's not just for people who want to be buff. It boosts your immune system, helps regulate hormonal and stress reaction systems, and helps maintain muscle mass as we age--so you can still open jars of processed crap when you're in your 80s. But it would be best to hear from Willie or some of the other Maff people on this forum.

    As for body weight training, I think it's great. Back in my traveling days I would often do that stuff in lieu of weights, and you can do it anywhere, anytime, which is very convenient. The basic ones I did are: push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and lifting something (which isn't a body weight exercise, but very beneficial--just be careful if you lift oddly shaped objects or you could throw out your back). I also like dips, which can be done with two chairs facing outwards from each other, or with a chair and a bed by putting your palms on the front of the chair and your feet up on the bed. You might also think about investing in a basic weight set. You should be able to pick up one second-hand on craigslist. Just a bench, a barbell, and assorted weights is enough to get you started. If you have space and money, then some kind of cable system for pull-downs and what-not might be nice too. I also like dumbbells quite a bit, and recently invested in a set to complete my home gym, and have a homemade t-bar for kettlebell swings, which is a nice exercise to do after your lifts.

    I hope that helps, feel free to disregard everything if it doesn't make sense. As I said, I truly believe the most important thing is to do what you like, what keeps you coming back for more, but also keeps you generally fit, and injury-free.
     
  13. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Likewise Adam, I've always enjoyed your no-nonsense approach to BFR, as well as your embrace of it as a kind of art or zen practice, which is the mind set I'm coming around to lately, and something I never experienced with shod running.
     
  14. PatrickGSR94

    PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    So if I used to only be able to run 45 seconds before getting deeply winded, to now running for 20+ continuous minutes, does that mean that my running has gone from more anaerobic to more aerobic?

    I don't have a HRM so I don't know how high my HR gets during my slow 20-minute runs. But I do know that my at-rest HR has dropped in recent months. It used to be in the 75-85 range while just sitting around, but right now at my desk it's about 58 to 60. That's good, right?
     
  15. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Patrick, I'm probably wrong about this, but I would say anytime you don't feel winded, you're in an aerobic zone. Which means you're able to consume enough oxygen to burn fat and your system isn't so taxed that it can't clear lactic acid and other byproducts of cell metabolism. But it's been 30 years since I took a yearlong sequence in college biology, so I can't be sure. Best to read Magness or Maffetone. For me, basically whenever I feel winded I assume I've passed the lactic threshold. Today I ran a slightly challenging pace for five miles, and on the last mile or so I had to slow down a bit. I figure that means I had done about all the anaerobic running I was capable of at my current level of fitness. But it's tricky, because my leg muscles are still getting used to faster paces, so perhaps my cardiovascular was OK and it was the legs that were telling me to slow down. Basically if you're running with easy breathing, I would say it's aerobic, and your max distance is either the limit of your aerobic or your muscular conditioning. In my case, I know I can sustain a 10-11mm pace until my legs give out; it won't be my aerobic capacity that holds me back. If I move up into the 8-9mm range though, it will probably be my aerobic capacity that limits me. Hopefully someone else will be able to give us a more definitive answer.

    But the fact that your at-rest HR has lowered is certainly a sign that your overall aerobic capacity has increased. So I would say you're doing it right.
     
  16. BFwillie_g

    BFwillie_g Barefooters
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    no no no.... I'm a fan, but no expert on MAF training. I've done it, and benefitted from it, but I'm really bad at sticking to plans, and completely suck at record keeping. There are others here who have gone a lot further with it than I have.

    I run by feel now for the most part. Kind of clueless at the moment, in fact. Like, in limbo or something.
     

  17. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yah, I bought a Garmin in June, mainly to see what kinds of paces I was running, and for an alternative to Google Maps for getting route distances. But each run is basically by feel, although the reading I've done over the last several months has helped me interpret the feelings. And I'm getting better and faster so the feeling is good. Today I was planning on running fartleks, but I ended up running a faster-than-normal steady pace. I kind of surprised myself that I was able to sustain the pace, so I didn't want to ruin the feeling by doing some of the even faster paces I had planned on doing and having to stop and walk intervals. It made sense to keep going and see how far I could take it at that pace. On another day it might make sense to see if I can push the distance a bit at a slower pace.
     
  18. migangelo

    migangelo Chapter Presidents
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    i've lifted weights and ran. while i was running fast i got winded easy and was always tired and got colds a few times a year. good signs to do more aerobic work. when i started the pure aerobic work it was proven i needed to do even more. make sense? i don't know cuz i'm starving right now and i'm sitting outside mcd's using internet but i won't eat that. now.

    i just wanted to do some body weight work outs with my maf runs. i guess i can't wait a few more months if i have to. i'll die whether or not i do them so it doesn't matter that much. i just know for sure i need to eat more food.
     

  19. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    There's often an indecipherable poetic quality to your posts that I admire quite a bit. I have no idea what you just said, but I'm sure it makes sense for you. Keep up the good work, and eat something!
     
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  20. jldeleon

    jldeleon Barefooters
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    Thank you Bare Lee, for stating exactly what I was going to say -and you can get away with it better than I. Lol. Next time he doesn't make sense, I'm totally going to say, "You're doing that indecipherable poetic quality thing again." Lol. He gets really weird when he's hungry. And for all we know he was sipping beers, too, while he was typing that.
     

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