Cardio Training - We’ve been doing it wrong for 40 years!
One of the reasons I decided to develop the Remote Training Systems program after 40 years was because I had grown tired of all the hyperbole and just flat out wrong information certain elements of the fitness industry continue to put out there. I was also tired of watching thousands of people wasting hours of hard exercise time on the advice or directives of some "fitness expert," only to find out the information was flawed and all their hard work had gotten them no return. About six years ago when wrist trackers came out, I saw an opportunity to not only create a system that was safe and effective but one that, if I could figure it out, would guarantee positive results for anyone. I also wanted to prove several long time theories wrong that I always doubted, but could not disprove. After six long years, I successfully accomplished both. Not only was I able to achieve my goals, but I was able to build a program that was so valid and so effective at producing positive outcomes that I had multiple physicians come to me asking me to take on hard-case patients. Physician referrals became so consistent I had so many patients I no longer was able to take on the non-clinical clients.
I mention all of the information above because this specific article is about Cardio Training, and why I did what I did. I was there when this whole gym thing started. Going all the way back to the '70s when Arnie was Pumping Iron and everything was about strength training. But little do most people know… cardio was really not an active part of the health club world until the '90s. We had versions of the early cardio equipment, but we had no idea how to train people on it. We just turned the equipment on and let them go.
Then, in the 90's members starting asking how to use the equipment to get legitimate results. So The American College of Sports Medicine designed the "heart rate zones". And as fitness will do, everyone came up with their way of using them. Someone then conducted a study (do not get me started on fitness studies), and suddenly the "fat-burning zone" theory was created. This theory gave trainers something new to use and something that a study claimed worked to help people lose weight, and therefore the theory took off and became the golden rule of cardio for weight loss. Since that "zone" was classified as the "weight loss zone", any heart rate level above the fat burning zone had its classification as "endurance training." And there you have it - cardio developed its training theories that are still used to this day as the bible for cardio. In fact, just about every fitness tracker on the market is designed using the heart rate zone scale.
Well…guess what? The heart rate zone theory is just flat out wrong on so many levels. I will now share the one point of proof that is undeniable by anyone: The Heart Rate Zone system is a group of heart rate zones that are calculated at a percentage of your perceived maximum heart rate that is meant to quantify how hard you are or, should be working. These groups are then used to write a workout prescription and each one is designed to drive different results. I would suggest these numbers are pretty important because you are relying on them to spend your 30 minutes to an hour getting the results you are working so hard to get. Therefore, if these heart rate numbers are wrong… you just wasted that hour and all of those other workouts that came before it.
I will now share with you the proof that the "heart rate zone" theory is completely wrong. As I mentioned previously, the heart rate zones are calculated using your perceived maximum heart rate. The keyword in the phrase is “perceived,” which means your maximum heart rate is a flat out guess. Yes, there have been multiple ways developed to calculate your maximum heart rate, but they all give you an assumed number. As with anything that uses numbers to come to a conclusion, if the starting number is basically a guess that must mean that every number that follows is an even greater guess. So basically, a trainer could give you your "fat-burning zone," which in reality is way below where you should be working. Here is a perfect example. As part of my program development, I tried just about every tracker system out there. There is one very well-known one that automatically calculates your maximum heart rate. OK. Most trackers do that. But then I find out it has a built-in algorithm that will change that maximum heart rate based on your workout effort which is based on, you guessed it, the heart rate zone theory. Long story short, I started at a maximum heart rate of 160 beats per minute (which is a fair rate for a 60-year-old male). Within two months they had adjusted my maximum heart rate to 184, which I could not hit running downhill on ice with a strong wind behind me. So, there you have an artificial intelligence tracker system that is built around the heart rate zone that changed mine twice from 160 to 164, then from 164 to 184. If the heart rate zone theory was so exact, would there be a reason to have to change it? That is only one of the things I have found we are doing wrong…
Here is what I learned that allowed me to develop this very unique system that is so effective at getting results and has physicians asking me to take on their patients. Cardio training must be treated like clinical integration. No two people are the same. Everyone must be coached as an individual using a combination of technology and human coaching. Yes, we do use heart rate because your heart rate is the barometer of how hard you are working. But it has to be analyzed and monitored by an expert. There is no such thing as generic zones, and it does not matter how much you sweat or even how hard you think you are working. Numbers do not lie. What I spent all six years doing was perfecting a system that identifies a person's specific heart rate and work effort, and then managing it using a very special methodology to ensure we use the data collected to systematically progress you right up to your goal. You will never have a wasted workout.
I successfully accomplished what I set out to do. Perfect cardio training so anyone that wants results can get them no matter whether they have been working out their whole life or never worked out at all. I have worked with all different types of individuals. Those that have no pre-existing conditions and those that have some type of condition that limits what they can or cannot do. The best thing that ever happened to this program was working with clinical patients. With clinical patients, you have no choice but to get positive results. Working with these patients forced me to learn all there was to learn about how to individualize the coaching approach and ensure no matter whom we are working with, we will achieve positive results.
NOW there is finally a system designed using raw data that will ensure you reach the goal you want. No bells, no whistles, no expensive equipment. Just pure data and expert human support.