Endurance Training Tips from Mark Allen

Hi Everyone!  I think this article does an excellent job of explaining the benefits of heart rate training and thought I would share it with you.  The following comes from an article written by Mark Allen, world renowned Triathlete and Coach and winner of SIX Ironman Triathalon Championships. 

"Now for the tougher part…the endurance. This is where heart rate training becomes king. Endurance is THE most important piece of a triathlete’s fitness. Why is it tough to develop? Simply put, it is challenging because it usually means an athlete will have to slow things down from their normal group training pace to effectively develop their aerobic engine and being guided by what is going on with your heart rate rather than your will to the champion of the daily training sessions with your training partners! It means swimming, cycling and running with the ego checked at the door. But for those patient enough to do just that, once the aerobic engine is built the speedwork will have a profound positive effect their fitness and allow for a longer-lasting improvement in performance than for those who blast away from the first day of training each year.

What is the solution to maximizing your endurance engine? It’s called a heart rate monitor.

Whether your goal is to win a race or just live a long healthy life, using a heart rate monitor is the single most valuable tool you can have in your training equipment arsenal. And using one in the way I am going to describe will not only help you shed those last few pounds, but will enable you to do it without either killing yourself in training or starving yourself at the dinner table.

I came from a swimming background, which in the 70’s and 80’s when I competed was a sport that lived by the “No Pain, No Gain” motto. My coach would give us workouts that were designed to push us to our limit every single day. I would go home dead, sleep as much as I could, then come back the next day for another round of punishing interval sets.

It was all I knew. So, when I entered the sport of triathlon in the early 1980’s, my mentality was to go as hard as I could at some point in every single workout I did. And to gauge how fast that might have to be, I looked at how fast the best triathletes were running at the end of the short distance races. Guys like Dave Scott, Scott Tinley and Scott Molina were able to hold close to 5 minute miles for their 10ks after swimming and biking!

So that’s what I did. Every run, even the slow ones, for at least one mile, I would try to get close to 5 minute pace. And it worked…sort of. I had some good races the first year or two, but I also suffered from minor injuries and was always feeling one run away from being too burned out to want to continue with my training.

Then came the heart rate monitor. A man named Phil Maffetone, who had done a lot of research with the monitors, contacted me. He had me try one out according to a very specific protocol. Phil said that I was doing too much anaerobic training, too much speed work, too many high end/high heart rate sessions. I was forcing my body into a chemistry that only burns carbohydrates for fuel by elevating my heart rate so high each time I went out and ran.

So he told me to go to the track, strap on the heart rate monitor, and keep my heart rate below 155 beats per minute. Maffetone told me that below this number that my body would be able to take in enough oxygen to burn fat as the main source of fuel for my muscle to move. I was going to develop my aerobic/fat burning system. What I discovered was a shock.

To keep my heart rate below 155 beats/minute, I had to slow my pace down to an 8:15 mile. That’s three minutes/mile SLOWER than I had been trying to hit in every single workout I did! My body just couldn’t utilize fat for fuel.

So, for the next four months, I did exclusively aerobic training keeping my heart rate at or below my maximum aerobic heart rate, using the monitor every single workout. And at the end of that period, my pace at the same heart rate of 155 beats/minute had improved by over a minute. And after nearly a year of doing mostly aerobic training, which by the way was much more comfortable and less taxing than the anaerobic style that I was used to, my pace at 155 beats/minute had improved to a blistering 5:20 mile.

That means that I was now able to burn fat for fuel efficiently enough to hold a pace that a year before was redlining my effort at a maximum heart rate of about 190. I had become an aerobic machine! On top of the speed benefit at lower heart rates, I was no longer feeling like I was ready for an injury the next run I went on, and I was feeling fresh after my workouts instead of being totally wasted from them.

So let’s figure out what heart rate will give you this kind of benefit and improvement. There is a formula that will determine your Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate, which is the maximum heart rate you can go and still burn fat as the main source of energy in your muscles. It is the heart rate that will enable you to recover day to day from your training. It’s the maximum heart rate that will help you burn those last few pounds of fat. It is the heart that will build the size of your internal engine so that you have more power to give when you do want to maximize your heart rate in a race situation.

Here is the formula:*

1. Take 180
2. Subtract your age
3. Take this number and correct it by the following:
-If you do not workout, subtract another 5 beats.
-If you workout only 1-2 days a week, only subtract 2 or 3 beats
-If you workout 3-4 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 5-6 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 7 or more times a week and have done so for over a year, add 5 beats to the number.
-If you are over about 55 years old or younger than about 25 years old, add another 5 beats to whatever number you now have.
-If you are about 60 years old or older OR if you are about 20 years old or younger, add an additional 5 beats to the corrected number you now have."

What an excellent article!  We have seen so many of our clients who come back after their initial V02 test and tell us that their pace has improved dramatically since they started training in their zones.  If you have questions about heart rate training, heart rate monitors, or the V02 test, email or call our office at 614-880-9180 and we'll be happy to help!  

*The V02 Max/SubMax test here at Baseline will give you your unique heart rate zones.  It willl also give you the exact point during exercise when you are burning the most fat.


Share Your Opinion: Dietary Guidelines

Every five years Congress mandates that the Federal Dietary Guidelines be reviewed and updated to better represent current nutritional needs.  Well folks, that time has come!  Some of the new guidelines that are being suggested according to the 'Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 (Advisory Report)', include...

1. Lowering maximum sodium intake from 2,300 milligrams to 1,500 milligrams
2. Dropping the total amount that saturated fats contribute to our diet from 10 percent to 7 percent.
3. Drinking fewer sugary beverages
4. Eating more seafood and low-fat dairy products
5. Eating more vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds

What do you think?  The Advisory Committee wants to know!

Go to  and give your feedback.  There will also be a  meeting set up so the public can share their comments on the new guidelines July 8th in Washington DC.  


The Controversy Over Salt

Salt can be found in just about everything, from salad dressing to strawberry shortcake. So what's the big deal if we are eating too much, or too little?

Most table salt contains iodine, added to increase it's nutritional value. A diet that is deficient in iodine can lead to thyroid problems, and is the leading preventable cause of metal illness. 
On the other hand, too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke.  Consuming too much of the white stuff has also been liked to weight gain and obesity.
The National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association recommend taking in no more than 2.4 grams, or about one teaspoon, of salt each day. 

Americans are taking in at least three times the recommend amount (on average men get 10.4 grams per day, with women taking in 7.3 grams). 

The culprit is  heavily processed foods.  Processed foods contribute 75-80% of our total salt consumption each year.  There has been a recent push for the FDA to start regulating the amount of salt that goes into processed foods, but for now your best bet is to avoid them as much as possible.  Salt is primarily used in foods as a flavor enhancer, so it's no surprise that food companies are reluctant to reduce a product's sodium content.  Kraft Foods as pledged a 10% salt reduction in their products, but other's have been slow to follow Kraft's example. 
One way to help curb salt consumption is to cook fresh foods yourself at home.  While almost every food as some naturally occurring salt, you will have more control over what goes into each meal than you would at a restaurant.  As always, moderation is key!


Chocolate & Depression

If you are having a bad day, do you gravitate toward chocolaty treats? A new study from researchers at UC Davis and UC San Diego studied the moods and eating habits of 931 men and women who were not taking antidepressants, looking specifically at links between depression and consumption of fats, carbohydrates, caffeine and chocolate.
They found that the participants who reported bouts with depression ate more servings of chocolate per month than participants who did not report depression symptoms.  Researchers did not find a correlation between depression and fat, carbohydrate or caffeine consumption.

The reasons behind the chocolate/depression link are not clear. Chocolate prompts the release of the chemical dopamine, which results in elevated mood and may be one possible explanation, although a 2007 study published in the journal 'Appetie'  found that eating chocolate generally improves mood for only three minutes. It has been suggested that chocolate could be the cause for depression, but researchers doubt this theory.
The study was published by the LA Times April 27th, 2010.  Read the study on here.


The Kitchen Counter Diet

Researchers at Cornell University just released their findings after studying 78 adults' eating habits.  Their conclusion?  Less calories are consumed at the table when serving dishes are left on the counter.

"We looked at whether serving foods from the kitchen counter, instead of at the table, would reducde the number of times a person refilled his or her plate.  When we kept the serving dishes off the table, people ate 20 percent fewer calories.  Men ate close to 29 percent less," Professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University said in a statement. 

Wansink goes on to suggest put foods like fruits and vegetables out on the counter and stash the junk food away in the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind!


Team Baseline at the 2010 Arnold 5K Pump and Run

Baseline Fitness had 13 clients participate in the 2010 Arnold Pump and Run this year!  This is Eve Ann Buxton's sixth year at the Arnold.   A great big thanks go to clients Tom, our videographer, and Skip , who took the awesome pictures below! 
We have a couple clients who are on such a roll with their diet and cardio routines that they've decided to sign up for the Cincinnatti Flying Pig.  This event features a 5K and 10K on Saturday, May 1st.  A half-marthon and full marathon take place on Sunday, May 2nd.  Anyone who has signed up for one (or more!) of the races has the 'pump and run' option.  For more details, visit the Flying Pig Marathon Page.
If you think you may be interested in the Pump and Run this May but need some extra help on the bench press, contact us.  We can help!

Pumpkin Recipes

Did you know that pumpkin has 300% of your daily recommendation of vitamin A in 1/2 cup? This is truly a wonderful vegetable to add to breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Pumpkin Pudding
1 small box vanilla sugar-free, fat free pudding mix
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 scoops natural flavored Designer Whey
1/2 c 100% pure canned pumpkin

pumpkin pie spice and/or cinnamon to taste

Put milk into mixing bowl then add pudding mix, protein powder, pumpkin and spices, if using. Whisk together for at least 2 minutes, then divide into two or three pudding cups. Refrigerate until set, at least 20 minutes.

You an use different flavors of pudding for this recipe. I've tried the banana flavor with delicious results. I find that using vanilla praline flavored protein powder also works. I use the Designer Whey brand whenever I need to mix the powder with anything. We here at Baseline have found that this brand blends better than others without being chalky or gritty. They've started selling Designer Whey at Kroger, but for the best price go to and search for "Designer Whey natural".

Protein Pumpkin Pancakes
1 scoop Designer Whey natural flavor
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup 100% pure canned pumpkin
4 egg whites, or 1/2 cup liquid egg whites (can use egg beaters)

Splenda, cinnamon,and pumpkin pie spice to taste.
For fluffier pancakes, add 1/4 tsp - 1/2tsp baking soda

In a blender or food processor, mix all ingredients together until smooth. Spray a medium skillet with non-stick spray and heat to medium low. Pour batter onto the skillet and flip when bubbles start to form and pop in the middle of your pancake. Serve with applesauce or sugar free maple syrup.

You can substitute Fiber One for the oatmeal if you want the extra fiber. You may need to use more than 1/4 cup.

Adding almond butter or peanut butter to this recipe makes it an extra special treat. You can also top these with a few pecans. Sometimes my husband will add 1/2 a small banana to his mix for added flavor, just make sure that you account for all the calories the nut butters and extras may contain.

Hot Cereal
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain cereal
1/4 cup 100% pure canned pumpkin
1 tsp flax seed oil
1 scoop Designer Whey natural flavor
Splenda and cinnamon to taste

Cook hot cereal in microwave according to package directions (add extra water if you do not like thick hot cereal).
Add pumpkin, oil, protein powder, Splenda and cinnamon. Mix well and enjoy!