Personal Experimentation – The Maffetone 180 Formula – Part 1

Maffetone 180 method

Imagine doing slow cardio for weeks, or even months, and knowing that almost 100% of those burned calories are fat.

Well that’s the theory behind the Maffetone 180 Formula for endurance training. No, you don’t have to be an endurance athlete to benefit from this. As a matter of fact you’re most likely on the right path now, just a little misguided. The Maffetone Method, called “the 180 Formula”, is aimed at making your body very efficient at burning fat for fuel. This is because you’re going to need the ability to tap into those fat stores in order to run long distances without refueling.

Maffetone 180 Formula

I would love to find a path like this to run on—hermanturnip (

Why Am I Experimenting With This?

I’ve always struggled with distance running. I suck at most anything that requires endurance to be completely honest. My heart rate goes through the roof unless I’m moving really slow.

I want to experiment with Maffetone’s protocol for endurance and cardio benefits. But I can’t help but think that it’s ideal for those wanting to lose fat.

The Maffetone 180 Formula

You simply take the number 180 and subtract your age. The number you get will be your maximum aerobic heart rate. You’ll need a heart rate monitor for accuracy and tracking. Your training range will be between that maximum number and 10 less. For example, I’m 42 so my training range will be 128 – 138 BPM.

According to him, this range will improve my fat burning efficiency, reduce risk of injury, AND increase my endurance.

If you want more details of Phil Maffetone’s 180 Formula and Heart Rate Monitoring click here

Since I’m rehabing a chronic hamstring injury, this very low intensity style is very appealing to me. Particularly because it’s supposed to reduce injury risk. Two thumbs waaay up for that.

Here’s one of his case studies that really captured my attention because the client sounded like it could’ve been me.

“Case history
One of my patients by the name of Don was a good runner who usually placed in the top of his thirty to thirty-nine age-group. When he came to my clinic with chronic injuries, fatigue, and recurrent colds, one of the first things we did was test him on the track with a heart monitor. At his maximum aerobic heart rate, Don was only able to run at an 8:40 pace—almost two minutes slower than his usual training pace! I recommended that Don train at this slower pace with a monitor for a three-month base period. But two weeks later he called me and said it was impossible to run that slow. I again explained the whole process and how he would get faster. A week later he faxed a letter saying he could not train by my recommendations. But several months later, with worsening fitness and health, and almost unable to race, Don came back to the clinic. Now he was ready to train aerobically. It took several months of dedicated base building, beginning with a slower pace, for Don to increase his aerobic pace until finally he was running his “normal” 6:45 training pace—but this time at a heart rate that was twenty-five beats lower than our previous evaluation.”

Stat tuned for my follow ups. I’ll be posting my progress along these next few weeks and months.

Thanks to Matt Metzgar. It was his blog that brought P. Maffetone to my attention.

How ’bout some feedback from cyber-land. Do you have any immediate thoughts or experience with P. Maffetone’s 180 Formula?


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