#70: Dr. Phil Maffetone

Host Brad Kearns catches up with Dr. Phil Maffetone, the aerobic training oracle in Oracle, AZ, host of PhilMaffetone.com, and author of The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. It’s been a while since Phil’s been on the show – check the old episodes for some great commentary on aerobic training and balancing fitness and health. In recent years, Phil’s strategies and principles have gained more mainstream acceptance among endurance athletes. Going slow really does make you fast in races! It’s just tough to adhere to heart rate limits when you are a driven, Type-A endurance machine. Phil discusses how “it’s all about stress” – moderating the stress of your training to avail continued improvement. Unfortunately, Phil details how endurance athletes are chronically “injured” – his broad definition including physical injuries, biochemical (hormone imbalances, adrenal burnout, etc.), and mental/emotional (depression/anxiety). The latter is prevalent but rarely discussed among endurance athletes. Yes, a constant anxiety about your workout times and volume is a source of stress and ultimately illness.

Phil contends that most endurance athletes believe they must be “willing to sacrifice health for fitness,” but that this is absolutely unnecessary. However, endurance athletes must be willing to be patient with the process of aerobic development. Some other tidbits from the show: Diet and emotions can disturb neurotransmitter balance in the brain; Sugar intake causes overproduction of serotonin, delivering a sedative effect (hence, carbo loading is lame but still happens routinely); excessively anaerobic training progress arose from old school coaches familiar with interval training. And this interesting tidbit: a symptom of the early stages of over-training is performing well!; yes, this is due to over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. You must use intuition to regulate training stress and prevent a future crash when stress hormones burn out.


Dr. Phil Maffetone describes the importance of monitoring the heart rate and how that affects

the injuries of the endurance athlete. [00:00:35] 

Does mainstream medicine really understand the injuries of the endurance athlete? [00:06:30] 

What happens within the athlete when he feels anxiety or depression? [00:11:39] 

What happens to the neurotransmitters when you are walking around stressed and under

pressure? [00:14:48] 

What about carbo-loading? [00:16:04] 

What happened in the early days of coaching without proper information about aerobic

training? [00:16:55] 

What are the symptoms of overtraining? [00:24:32] 

How does the aerobic vs. anaerobic training impact ones well being?  [00:29:22] 

Can one get all they are seeking by not pushing themselves and still preserving their health?


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