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In the world of sport, there is a fine line between training and abusing. A hard effort does not make the workout correct, and what may be considered a strenuous effort for one athlete might be considered too easy for another. Proper training involves a combination of hard (anaerobic) and easy (aerobic) workouts, where the INTENSE-ity of each workout is CONTROLLED to get the desired physiological effect. This is the essence of the I JUICE training method.

Over the years there has been a lot of talk about training “in the zone”. These zones are based on a percentage of maximum heart rate, and each zone has its own distinct attributes. The generally accepted formula for maximum HR = 220 minus your age, where 60-80% of this number represents the aerobic (easy) zone and 85-90% the anaerobic (hard) zone.

During base conditioning, the INTENSE-ity of the EXERCISE should be CONTROLLED to the aerobic zone. These long slow workouts maximize fatty acid metabolism and minimize lactic acid creation. Unfortunately, many people CONTROL their INTENSE-ity through perceived exertion alone, relying on redness of face, unlabored breathing and a conversational pace as markers of their effort. This inaccurate method may allow the heart rate of an out of shape person to drift into the anaerobic zone without their knowledge and their expectation of an aerobic workout is not realized.

When an athlete is ready for anaerobic (hard) training, high INTENSE-ity workouts are employed. Explosive skill sets, weight training and higher end interval repeats are a few of the techniques used. In the anaerobic zone carbohydrate combustion, lactic acid creation and even a good amount of fat burning all help fuel the process.

At I JUICE, we have found that monitoring heart rate is the most accurate way to CONTROL INTENSE-ity while EXERCISE-ing. Wearing a simple wireless monitor gives an athlete continuous feedback on heart rate and the ability to regulate their EXERCISE intensity. Athletes who are new to heart rate training are sometimes surprised by the speed they are running when they hit their aerobic maximum. They often have to ease up or slow down to stay on target. This is not the time to get disappointed! The beauty of INTENSE CONTROLLED EXERCISE is that over time it will take a greater workload to get to the same heart rate, and what was once difficult will now become easier. Diligent effort to stay within the aerobic zone rewards the athlete with an improved fitness level and increased performance.

EXERCISE INTENSE-ity must be carefully CONTROLLED during anaerobic (hard) workouts as well. Athletes need to know if they are working hard enough to reach their anaerobic zone. Likewise, they must also be monitored to make sure the workout is not too INTENSE. There is really no need to exceed 90% of maximum heart rate. Most experts agree that above the 90% level there is no additional physiological benefit, just an increased risk of injury. Training is not supposed to become a stress test. That kind of effort should be left for the lab, under the careful supervision of qualified personnel.

For many athletes, participating in a race, game or other sports competition is what training is all about. It is a time to enjoy, excel and give the greatest effort possible. However, in the excitement of the moment it remains important to CONTROL.

INTENSE-ity. For example, if a runner starts out too hard in a race, they may not have enough energy to make it to the finish line. And if they start out too slow, they may not be able to catch up. The athlete must learn to CONTROL INTENSE-ity throughout the competition to maximize their final result.

CONTROL-ling INTENSITY is only one component of athletic training. As we proceed on our drug free quest for optimal performance numerous training ideas will be discussed. I look forward to your comments so that we can achieve and learn together. I JUICE and I am proud.