Q&A on Zone 2 Exercise with Peter Attia, M.D.

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If you want to dive deeper into Zone 2 exercise, please see our podcast with Iñigo San Millán (https://bit.ly/3JtVNzJ) and our Ask Me Anything episode #19 (https://bit.ly/32wP86Y).

In this Q&A, Peter answers all your questions around Zone 2 exercise and training. Originally recorded as an Instagram Live in March 2021, Peter answers the following questions:
00:00:00 – Intro
00:00:23 – What is Zone 2 exercise?
00:02:52 – Why does Zone 2 exercise matter?
00:03:20 – How often should I do Zone 2 exercise?
00:06:42 – Can I do other exercises before or after Zone 2?
00:07:52 – Does it matter if I slip into Zone 3, 4, or 5 during my Zone 2 workout?
00:09:48 – What are the benefits of Zone 2 exercise?
00:11:18 – Is Zone 2 exercise beneficial at any age, young or old?
00:12:54 – Why should I do Zone 2 exercise compared to HIIT?
00:14:20 – How can I use a lactate meter to measure if I’m in Zone 2?
00:16:53 – How do I measure if I’m in Zone 2 without a lactate meter?
00:18:54 – Peter begins to answer live questions
00:19:11 – Why do some wearables have different definitions of zones?
00:20:22 – How do you find Zone 2 on a treadmill?
00:21:27 – How to use a lactate meter to test your lactate levels?
00:22:50 – Does your Zone 2 range change over time as you change your fitness level?
00:24:31 – How does MAF work in measuring Zone 2?
00:25:58 – Should I do Zone 2 before or after eating?
00:28:00 – How does Zone 2 compare to Functional Threshold Power (FTP)?
00:29:58 – Zone 2 for patients taking metformin?
00:33:47 – Does Zone 2 exercise increase HRV?
00:35:33 – What is the role of Zone 1 exercise?
00:37:12 – How do you find max heart rate on a treadmill?
00:38:31 – Does it matter if I do Zone 2 exercise on different devices (bike, treadmill, rower)?
00:40:15 – Can you swim for Zone 2 exercise?
00:42:24 – In Zone 2 on a rower, is 3 watts per kg good?
00:43:10 – Why can’t you do Zone 2 at 3 mM of lactate?
00:44:00 – What are the differences in lactate thresholds and functional thresholds?
00:45:42 – When do I check my lactate post-workout?
00:46:15 – Have you used your CGM to check Zone 2?
00:46:48 – Is there a benefit of hot and cold therapy to bolster Zone 2?
00:48:13 – Does Zone 2 exercise help the CNS?
00:48:40 – Can you take UCAN before Zone 2 exercise?
00:49:44 – Will your lactate be the highest at the end of a ride?
00:50:56 – What do you do for Zone 5?
00:53:06 – How does body comp fit into watts per kg?
00:54:06 – How does glucose disposal increase longevity?

——–
About:

Peter is a physician focusing on the applied science of longevity. His practice deals extensively with nutritional interventions, exercise physiology, sleep physiology, emotional and mental health, and pharmacology to increase lifespan (delay the onset of chronic disease), while simultaneously improving healthspan (quality of life).

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Comments

Matt Richardson says:

My wattage for zone 2 is 138-187 as long as i stay in between those numbers its ok right ?
And ride before weights is ok ?

GeorgeB says:

Don’t understand.

Rob Prater says:

I guess you need a PHD to understand what you are talking about. that's too bad for people like me who at 65yrs old are still in great shape. because i would like to learn more and stay in even better shape as times goes on. I have never heard anyone use scientific terms as much as you, at least on YouTube

250txc says:

I'm so glad I trained with heart rate monitor yrs ago so I understand what this guy is trying to say …Meaning, his zone 2 buzzword is nothing more that working his HEART at specific beats-per-minute.

Adding the lactate numbers merely show how his heart and other bodily functions are working cleaning the waste products from your blood.

80% of MAX work? Forget that. Unless you are really training as a true athletic, you are not gonna hold 80% for any length of time.

Gajendra Savant says:

How many watts I should put I am 145 lb and should I maintain 80% of maximum heart rate. Should I also maintain that heart rate level for 45 min. I am in my early 70s
Thanks

Fred Grosso says:

I wondered why I had never heard of this man before. If he could give this information in a way that most people could understand he would be a wonder.

Коля Ефимов says:

Great info, thanks

Al Koalholic says:

What is the METS number I should target if I want to be in zone 2?

Matthew Simmons says:

Favorite part is hands down the slurping

C L says:

This just confirms you're an Ayrton fan after first watching you wearing the McLaren Honda hat on Joe's podcast. Same here, sir.

Aron Grinshtein says:

You use a lot of big words that make it unclear to understand this

MozPassion 89 says:

Hi there, should i do Power zone 2 or HR zone 2? if i do 1 hour a day in the trainer is it enough?

Lucky W says:

Wish you could break it down to what normal population could understand when it comes to definition and benefits. All these medical terms are hard to understand.

Nikita Webber says:

If do weights with small breaks between sets does that double steady state if heart rate stays in zone 2? Supersets?? Is that possible?

Eric Dumont says:

How to measure your zone 2 or how to know if you are in your zone 2 ?

Neal M says:

A lot of the comments sound like people are not doing zone 2.

Very few people do zone 2 correctly. It feels "too easy" to them, and so they do what they always do and go harder up into zone 3 and 4. Some are even describing HIIT – 2 minutes all out on their heavy bag and then 30 seconds rest, and keep doing sets? Crazy stuff.

Fine if that is what you want to do, but don't kid yourself that you are doing zone 2.
Most people can find zone 2 using the zone calculators. very, very few are unicorns and outside of that and need lactate meters and drawing blood while working out…

James Gardner says:

Absolutely love your stuff, Peter. As a bio chemist, I very much appreciate your rigor. However, this wattage per kilo approach is unhelpful for me. Sorry, life is too short for stationary bikes.

Elizabeth Ellis says:

Can you use a WaterRower for an effective zone 2 and 5?

Bill kimura says:

Hi Peter. When precisely should one measure their lactate level? For example, should I ride for an hour using RPE and/or HR AND then immediately measure my lactate after the ride? Or should I wait for some period of time, etc.? Thank you and keep up the great work. Love your podcast.

Vladyslav Cherevkov says:

How does being sore esp in legs affect your zone 2? Does it detriment in any way?

RXP91 says:

Been following a Zone 2 calculation of Heart Rate Reserve. As a newbie I could produce 80 watts on the cross trainer at the target 140bpm heart rate. 6 months later after on and off training I'm up to 165watts at the same heart rate. The lactate method you mention will be something I look into. My sessions will only consist of Zone 2 + all out sprints (like sets of 40-100m sprints). I guess that's extreme polorasied training!

I also massively enjoy walking/hiking which is Zone 1. I do a minimum of 2 hours a day of it, at weekends it's 4-5 hours. I wonder if there are benefits of spending hours in this zone? The thruhikers around the world spend 10-16 hours a day for months on end at this zone.

Edit: 2 months after this post I hit 200w at the same HR

Darren Rutgers says:

Lactate post exercise measurement peak might depend on intensity. Zone 2 probably within 60sec but zone 4 and above may take 2-4mins to peak in blood.

John doe says:

So the only way to find your zone 2 is a lactate test after about 20 minutes of exercise@ 4 kw/ kilo of weight???
Could you just do the 4 kw/kilo for an hour and call it good. May not be optimal at first but your body will catch up for the most part? Or what is the measurement I dint think I actually caught that part

Bruce MacKenzie says:

How would a person outside of a laboratory setting would you ever know this?

noybrw says:

I'm curious, does zone 3 training have no benefit to mitochondria? And if it does have a benefit, how does it differ from zone 2? Is it just that you recover slower from zone 3, or is it that there's more of an insulin independent pathway activated via zone 2 training?

Adam Swinnerton says:

This is great, but im still confused. Do you need to train below at an intensity lower than 2mmols for 45mins, so 2mmols is just low enough for you to clear the lactate build up? What do you do if the gap between low intensity and over 2mmols is super short? IE you can either do training at super low intensity or super high lactate?

kbkesq says:

This takes all joy out of exercise for 3-4hrs a week and doesn’t account for enjoyment. If the goal is 2 watts per kilogram of weight then people should simply weigh themselves and use the watt meter on their machine and work up to that goal for 45 minutes.

Łukasz Kłusek says:

hm… interesing that you say you do zone 2 on the indoor bike to control wattage and then you recommend to go for zone 2 after heart rate and RPE…

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