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What Is MAF Training & Why Should I Care?

What do you mean MAF training?!?! I thought you guys do Ticker Training? This stuff is sooooo confusing you might say. Just give us a chance to tell you how these two terms go together.

Ticker Training is heart-rate based training for CrossFit. If you’ve tuned in the past few weeks we’ve talked about it a bit. Now is a good time to introduce M.A.F, or your max aerobic function. This helps us determine which training zones you can be in. Here’s how it works.

Your max aerobic function is the highest heart-rate your heart can sustain while still burning fat as a fuel source.  If you are aerobic you are burning fat & working with oxygen. If you are anaerobic you are burning carbohydrates & working without oxygen.

If anyone works out in an oxygen deprived state over & over they will need to take more time to recover. When done on a daily basis chronic fatigue & pervasive soreness can set in. This can prevent someone from improving because they are in a state of being overtrained, exactly the opposite of what they wish to happen. This appears in the person who cannot seem to lose weight or the individual who does not get faster, stronger etc etc… Catch our drift?

So. There are two ways that can determine your max aerobic function. The first is the most general & basic. You could start training this way in under 5 minutes. It’s that easy to figure out. 

Dr. Phil Maffetone suggests that a person looking to train aerobically, for all activities, should take 180 & subtact their Age. 180 – Age =’s MAF. Then they can take that number, divide it by .75 & get their potential max heart-rate.  If the majority of your training is performed at your magic number you should be in pretty good shape.

If you are looking to get more specific you should get a PNOE Test. This test allows you to see exactly the heart-rate beat number where you burn the highest number of fat calories per minute. Pretty cool hu?! The difference is that this test usually provides a result where your MAF Number is significantly lower than the equation 180 – Age. In layman’s terms this means that the equation is a good place to start with Ticker Training, but to be truly successful & specific with your training you should get a PNOE Test done. 

In either scenario, you have your MAF. To partake in MAF training means you have various zones to do work in. This provides the athlete with guidance to train his or her aerobic system, to push that threshold from time to time & even to work their anaerobic system. If that individual does not have the appropriate heart-rate zones to do this, they’re just guessing. In those terms, they are working out. They are not training. 

We love & appreciate Ticker & MAF Training because most of our daily activities should be done aerobically. We hope that doing the laundry or grocery shopping does not get you out of breath ;). However, in the event that we want to train & push ourselves, we want to know how hard & for how long. Tracking the numbers allows us to train our aerobic system about 80 to 85% of the time while the other 15 to 20% can be a challenging, yet measured effort. 

If you want to learn more about heart-rate based training feel free to leave us a comment or question below. We’d love to engage with you!! Until next time, Ticker On. 

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