Maximum Aerobic Function

The Maffetone Method or Maximum Aerobic Function is developed by Dr. Maffetone years ago with the main idea that most runners are overtraining and need to find a more sustainable way to stay in shape. In other words, they would benefit from fewer workouts of higher quality! He was working with athletes, and he was observing them, particularly runners, who were overtraining, meaning they were training at too high an intensity with too much volume, and they were breaking down over time.

Working with a heart rate monitor, he would take them to a track and run them around the track, monitoring their heart rate levels. He’d see the point where they started to break down, like their kinematics, their form, and they’d start to struggle. Then he’d give them a prescription for where they should sit to train their maximum aerobic function, where they’d actually get better at burning fat, recovering, and building that aerobic base.


Instead of training yourself into a hole, you’re laying the groundwork for this broad foundation. It used to be something only he could do, but because he wanted to share it, he went back and looked at the data and came up with a very simple method. And it’s as easy as taking 180 beats per minute and subtracting it by your age to get your unadjusted maximum aerobic function.


Take note that if you’ve been sick, such as with pneumonia, flu, or any of these things, or if you have anything else going on, or if you’re on a prescription med, regular meds, whatever it is, you need to subtract from 10 the computation. You don’t need to do that if you’ve been training for two years, four or more times a week, consistently, with no illnesses or meds. Simply subtract your age from 180 and you’re good to go.

It’s a great easy way to get started building that base and really hitting your goals.