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episode #367

Maximize Your Fitness with Zone Two Cardio

June 24, 2024 in Podcast


In this episode, I discuss the concept of zone two cardio and its benefits. Zone two cardio is a sub-maximal aerobic training that helps improve aerobic capacity and overall health.

I explain how zone two cardio compares to other forms of exercise and provides tips on how to determine if you're in the zone. I also emphasize the importance of building an aerobic base and incorporating zone two cardio into your routine. I suggest starting with one 45-minute session per week and finding enjoyable activities that keep your heart rate up but allow for conversation.

Overall, zone two cardio is a valuable tool for improving fitness and recovery!

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Brian (1s):

Hello and welcome to the GETLEAN and Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author, and this podcast is for middle aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple actionable items to get long term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.

Brian (32s):

All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I hope you had a great weekend and happy Father's Day to all those fathers out there. Hopefully to spend some quality time with family and friends and hopefully had a chance to listen to my interview with holistic nutrition coach Megan Lyons. She's amassed over 10,000 hours of one-on-one Coaching, and also has a top podcast called Wellness Your Way with Megan Lyons. and we touched on her personal health journey along with ways to manage chronic stress, important lab tests for gut health and much, much more. So if you haven't already, definitely check out my interview with Megan Lyons. That's episode 360 6. The big question is, is it is zone two cardio the best form of cardio and is it something you should be implementing into your routine?

Brian (1m 17s):

Now first and foremost, you wanna start with resistance training. Always start with resistance training and then you can build cardio from there. Now, for a long time people were just doing interval training and I still think that's an effective tool to build VO two max to create this anaerobic environment. But for aerobic capacity, is zone two worth it? Now I still go into what zone two cardio is, how it compares to some other forms of exercises, how much you should be doing per week and is this something that's worth doing over other forms of exercise? Now what zone cardio two is, is it's a sub maximal aerobic training.

Brian (2m 0s):

I'm gonna teach you how to figure out what that is for you 'cause it's a little bit different for everybody. And essentially zone two can mean a lot of different things in different contexts. Elite athletes can, you know, use precise, expensive tools to ensure that they're in zone two and they strive to improve zone two fitness to improve their overall maximum performance when they go and into into meets or into races. Regular people can use zone two just to improve their overall health. And examples of zone two could be ling using the elliptical machine hiking or walking upstairs slow jogging on a flat terrain rowing.

Brian (2m 41s):

Now how does zone two compare to other cardiovascular zones? I'm gonna pull up a chart real quick if you're watching on YouTube. Here you go. I thought this chart does a great job of showing you each zone And what it entails. And this I brought up from Precision Nutrition where I got one of my certifications. And zone one as you see is less than 60% of your maximum heart rate zone two is 60 to 70% and so on and so forth, all the way to zone five. Now you have anything from zone one, which would be a like a light walking and zone two, which is almost like a light jog or a hike.

Brian (3m 23s):

Then you got zone three, which is more of like a jog. And as you go up in the zones, you're changing your energy source, you're going from using fat for fuel to using carbs as fuel all the way up to like a maximal sprint, which is zone five Now I like to think of these zones as zone one is the bottom of the, this cardiovascular pyramid and it's the base. So if you think of it as a pyramid, zone one and zone two should be do done as the aerobic base and as you go up Zone five would be the tip of the, let's say cardio pyramid. That should be done every so often, every maybe every, you know, 10, 10 days let's say.

Brian (4m 5s):

And then from there you're building your base from zone one and zone two. And so these are just different ways. Obviously with your sprinting you're gonna improve VO two max heart rate max and fitness at at maximal levels. Okay, so that quick sprinting and then zone two as it shows improves this aerobic base without Im impeding recovery, which I think is the big thing when it comes to zone two. Why zone two cardio called this fab burning mode? Well, first and foremost, zone two is a form of aerobic exercise. Aerobic means with oxygen, that means the body needs oxygen in order to produce a TP, which is our primary source of energy.

Brian (4m 47s):

Now anaerobic is like sprinting intense cycling or heavy weightlifting. This does not require oxygen in order to produce a TP needed to refuel it. So if you think of like anaerobic exercises used readily, readily available sources of energy, primarily carbohydrates stored in the muscles and liver and excess rapidly, but run out very quickly. And that's for anaerobic aerobic taps into an energy reserves that gradually and primarily burns body fat for fuel. And this process is slower, but the energy reserve is used much longer. That is why like going for a walk or a light jog on a treadmill may be called zone two cardio because you're sort of in this fat burning mode, you're using fat for fuel and you're, you're using this steady, moderately paced aerobic work.

Brian (5m 37s):

Now Dr. Peter Ortea has been known to talk a lot about zone two cardio and essentially I think it should be a piece to the puzzle. I definitely don't think it's the only thing, but I will say some of the benefits to zone two cardio are one, it builds this aerobic base that I talked about, which helps you train for any type of event that you're doing. Even sprinters and long distance runners will use this as their base and then focus on their specialty, whether it's sprinting or going on a, a, a extremely long run or race. Just look at zone two is almost like the, the building blocks for your aerobic capacity.

Brian (6m 22s):

Now two, what I love about like a zone two or even a zone one is that you can bounce back right away. Like instead of doing high intensity interval training every other day where you're just somewhat cashed and you're not recovering well enough. Zone two, you can recover in between sessions and come back just as strong. And I think that's important. And fit number three is it boosts mitochondrial health. Now zone two cardio might be the most effective form of exercise when it comes to maximizes, when it comes to maximizing mitochondrial health, but all physical activity can improve and support mitochondrial health. So it's important just get out and do something.

Brian (7m 3s):

Now how do you know if you're in zone two? Is is the big question. I think a simple way of looking at it is to take two 20 less your age. So let's just say you're 42 years old, so two 20 less 42 is 178 beats per minute is your max heart rate. From there zone two when we looked at a diagram, it's about between 60 and 70% of your max heart rate. So that's between about, so 1 78 times 0.6 and times 0.7 you get this range of about 1 25 to 1 0 7 beats per minute. That puts you in zone two. Another common way of doing it is to just take 180 and subtract your age. That'll give you your top of your zone for your zone two target.

Brian (7m 46s):

So I've talked about this before with Brad Kearns, 180 lesser age sort of gives you that top end range for zone two. And so there's a couple ways you could do it now. Number three is just simple body awareness, being able to be breathe through your nose and and hold a conversation. Then you're most likely in zone two if you can pay attention to a podcast or a movie or have a thoughtful conversation. you know this, this is all sort of a form of cardio that is in the zone one, zone two area. Now how much do you do per week? Now I would say for myself, I go on three 30 minute walks per day with my dogs. I, I would say I'm probably between zone one and zone two.

Brian (8m 29s):

So for me that's what works. And I think when it comes to zone two cardio or any type of cardio, do what fits in your schedule and if it's, if you need to start at 45 minutes per week, I think that's a great place to start. Also factor in your goals. Obviously if you wanna just build muscle and strength, really focus on resistance training and maybe cardio is, and maybe cardio might take a back seat, but I think that if you, you wanna build a nice aerobic base and perhaps you're training for a marathon or or some other type of race, having this zone two cardio aerobic base is a great place to start. Now if you're someone who really, really hates cardio, which I'm not a huge fan of, I will say that you know, find a leisurely activity that you could do and you're not even really thinking about, you know, running on a treadmill or going on an elliptical.

Brian (9m 20s):

This could be Frisbee pickleball, obviously it's become big. I think if you can incorporate this something that's fun that you can do on a consistent basis, I think that's most important. I think the most important thing when it comes to your aerobic capacity and building a a good aerobic base is to make it work. Work with your schedule. If that means that you know you can walk or bike to work, go ahead. That means you gotta get up maybe a slightly earlier and go for a 20 minute walk and just build on that. I think that's a great place to start. If you really wanna hone in on zone two cardio, you're probably gonna wanna get a heart rate monitor just to see where you're at.

Brian (10m 1s):

But I gave you sort of a easy way to calculate where you should land and just focus on that. I think a couple 45 minute sessions per week would be great if you have the time. If not, make it work with your schedule and try to have fun with it. It doesn't necessarily have to be walking, it could be rowing, swimming or anything that you find that you know, gets the heart rate up But, it allows you to, to curate conversation and not be overly, overly strained within the activity. So, you know, that's what I wanna touch on today. But like anything else I said start slow and build from there and you'll have a nice aerobic base to build from. And, and then if you wanna sort of sprinkle in some high intensity interval training, you can do that maybe every seven to 10 days.

Brian (10m 46s):

So I appreciate you listening and I am opening up some f free 15 minute consulting sessions, so feel free to click on the link below and we can chat it up and and see if we can help reach your goals. So a great rest of the day and if you have any questions feel free to email me, Brian at Brian Gryn dot com. And I look forward to talking with you on Friday with another great interview.

Brian (11m 12s):

Thanks for listening to the GETLEAN e Clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned In, this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.

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