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    AMA Time Again!

    I am feeling, not necessarily braver but certainly a little freer in other work commitments. Since the last few AMAs we had I have also had the time to go over a lot more research. I will keep this thread open for seven days and you can ask anything that's on your mind. I will try and answer in as detailed a manner as possible. Stay safe Bees and stay sane.

    I was actually looking to ask some questions about the Spartan trials program. I've also seen other workouts where these questions would be applicable. This isn't on par with the great questions I usually see here, but since the thread is open...

    When a workout has 2 parts should both parts be completed as one workout or should they be done in separate sessions on the same day? How much time should be between the two parts? Also is it important they are done in order? is such a workout.

    When a workout says repeat throughout the day, how should that be broken up? The 2nd part of has that instruction.

    I know flexibility is allowed to account for different schedules, abilities and other individual factors, but I'm curious as to how such workouts are intended to be completed.

    I love these threads, thanks so much for taking the time to share your vast knowledge!


      Any hints for the next program???


        leep00 thank you so much for bringing up this question and all questions are equally valid here, not just in these threads but also within The Hive. Each one reveals a certain perspective and it allows us to examine things which sometimes we may just take for granted and not think much about.

        Case in point the logic behind workouts such as The Spartan Trials. Improvement in our fitness is achieved through changes that happen to the body. These changes take place, initially, at a cellular level where cells begin to activate the centers within them necessary for the expression of specific hormones, proteins and even genes. It is these changes which, in turn, trigger the body's adaptation response that changes the structure of muscles and tendons and allows the body to use energy differently.

        Darebee workouts and Spartan Trials in particular help you trigger this adaptation response through two specific pathways: First, initial load that takes the body past its comfort threshold and second, through a sustained load that makes the body realize that it needs to trigger an adaptation response. Both these pathways use the exact same trigger: energy expenditure. When we exercise the body adapts to reduce that energy expenditure by increasing its capacity to do work, much like a car with a larger engine can go faster using less fuel than one with a smaller one. Because adaptations are costly from an energy point of view the body needs to be convinced that they are necessary.

        This brings us to directly to your two questions: 1. how are you to split a workout that's split into two parts? Ideally one after the other, failing that you do the second part as soon as you can after the first part. That way the load the body experiences is sufficient to trigger the adaptation response necessary for physical change.

        2. "When a workout says repeat throughout the day, how should that be broken up?"- Ideally, again, you do it as many times throughout the day as you can with the specific intention to get past the body's comfortable limit. That will be different for each individual, depending on a variety of factors, but as long as each individual reaches that comfortable limit and pushes against it they will each gain equally from it, even though they do a different number of sets, because the body's adaptation response will be triggered. I will add to all this that the moment the body starts to change physically to reduce its overall energy cost of day-to-day operation the cells themselves undergo fundamental changes that reverse the ageing process. A recent study on this is here.

        I hope this answers your question fully, but if not or if there is any follow-up that this answer has opened up and needs to be clarified don't hesitate to ask.


          LionTheFighter we have two coming up. One is a follow-up and upgrade to Fighter's Codex. The other one I won't tell you anything about coz I would then have to kill you.


            Damer Can't tell if you truly won't say anything or if the statement is a hint itself hahaha


              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              LionTheFighter we have two coming up. One is a follow-up and upgrade to Fighter's Codex. The other one I won't tell you anything about coz I would then have to kill you.
              Does that mean the second program is "assassin's codex"? Looking forward to both anyhow if they are at my level!


                Hahahahahahahahaaha PetiteSheWolf don't give us ideas!


                  So then the first is the much anticipated Total Warrior . I can read between the lines 🤔

                  The second one is not Total Warrior. Well, that narrows it down a bit.


                    Hello, Damer How fortuitous that you've opened one of these right now, when I am drowning in a morass of confusion! Right now I'm looking at zone 2 training, training that is really slow and gentle, that you can continue all day, and through which you can easily carry on a conversation. It is also training that you could do every day if you wanted.
                    I recently saw a cardiologist who confirmed that my heart and blood vessels are all in great shape (I happily carried on a conversation while walking at 5.5kph up a 12° incline), and she said that I could basically ignore my heart rate numbers so long as I felt fine, so I feel quite okay with pushing things and experimenting. I tend to have a high heart rate when doing prolonged exercise so I was looking at how I could reduce this and from what I've read, zone 2 training is the way to increase aerobic endurance and lower heart rate (not to mention all the other wonderful things it's reputed to do to mitochondria and etc).
                    Okay, so much for the preamble. As I understand it, zone 2 training is done in the range of 60-70% (or possibly 65-75%, or is it 69-83%) of max HR. Yet what is the most effective way (for those of us without labs and such) to calculate this? I've read about the old "220 - age" and then read that it's really inaccurate. Then there's the MAF calculation, and yet today I read that the best way is to build up for a little while, then go all out for 2 minutes and record that as your max HR. What do you reckon? By the latter measure, I've got a MHR of 200, so my Z2 range is 120-140bpm or 130-150bpm or 138-166 bpm (that's quite a range, and during the 10-minute HIIT sessions we've been having recently at training, my HR's reached 160 and I'm knackered!)
                    So, to my issue: I want to train in Z2 for a while to see if I can build up my aerobic endurance and reduce MHR. I have to use a lot of energy to run, my HR is high, and it's not something I can easily sustain for an extended period - half an hour is probably about it but there'd be no way I'd be able to do that again the next day and the day after... Walking, even quite fast, on the other hand, is easy, but it's difficult to get my HR over 100 without clambering up hills and getting a bit puffed, and then it's not at all what I imagine as "gentle". Today I was on the exercise bike, cycling at moderate resistance with a speed of around 18.2 miles (or around 30kph), and that kept my HR around 126. I could have maintained this for longer (except my bum was getting sore!), so I figured that was about right for me. Everything I've read about Z2 training says that it is difficult to do because it is so slow - people have difficulty staying in that zone - but I wouldn't consider cycling at that speed and resistance to be slow.
                    On to the questions: What is the best way to calculate max heart rate; does resting HR have any relevance in zone calculations; what actually are the zones (example, the variations given above); is Z2 training really slow and gentle for those of us with low aerobic fitness; and is perceived effort a better or worse indicator of being in a zone?
                    Wow, that's a few questions, but I'm sure you're up to it!


                      TopNotch that's a really interesting question you bring up and, as usual with the stuff you grapple with, it has a complex answer. I will try and simplify it as best as possible. Zone training is practised by athletes that train to push their bodies to the maximum level of endurance, boxers and tri-athletes for example. And even some marathon runners experiment with it. Notice that I say some because for marathon runners who need endurance zone training doesn't actually deliver many benefits.

                      So what exactly is Zone training? Well, as the name suggests it is a heart rate target range that represents a percentage of your maximum heart rate called HRmax. There are five zones going from very light work to completely flat out. The table below indicates what these five zones are.

                      Zone Intensity Percentage of HRmax
                      Zone 1 Very light 50–60%
                      Zone 2 Light 60–70%
                      Zone 3 Moderate 70–80%
                      Zone 4 Hard 80–90%
                      Zone 5 Maximum 90–100%
                      Given the fact that there are five zones you realize that each one does something different so blithely saying that zone-training helps you increase endurance and aerobic fitness is not entirely accurate. Depending in which zone you are at you vary the length of time for which you can sustain it. Each zone then delivers different benefits. Zone 5 training, for instance, pushes the envelope of your cardiovascular and aerobic performance to the limit, forces cellular adaptations to the heart and lungs and increases your capacity to work at a high rate without tiring (which is a fancy way of saying it helps you develop endurance). Zone 1 and Zone 2 training, which is what you are trying to do is usually reserved for active recovery, i.e. those days when you want to exercise but you also want your body to recover from a heavy training session so you don't want to push your heart and lungs hard.

                      Zone 3 and Zone 4 training are reserved for those building up to Zone 5. If you are working at Zone 5 you also affect your resting heart rate which drops, a lower resting heart rate is a good indicator of physical fitness and endurance.

                      Zone training, in order to work, needs to be tailored to the person, structured in a way that takes you through the zones in a program that's geared to specific performance goals (not just one designed to work your heart and lungs) and adjusted every six to eight weeks. So you do need a cardiologist and fitness coach to work closely with you.

                      If you don't have specific performance goals like boxers or triathletes do then Zone training helps a little in the sense that it gives you something to aim for but really offers questionable benefits that you wouldn't get in any other way. Your cardiologist nailed it when she told you to ignore the numbers and focus instead on the effort. In most cases (including the Special Forces) Zone 2 is your half pace and Zone 3 is your three quarters pace. As you might guess this is highly subjective and depends on how you feel at the time but it always comes down to maintaining a pace which you feel you can sustain all day. This requires a little self-monitoring, obviously, but the moment you feel yourself going above that becomes obvious because it is unsustainable for the long term.

                      So perceived effort is the best indicator for most people, including marathon runners. This is because from a homeostasis point of view our body and mind are at different balance points at different times of the day or on different days. The only equalizer of this is perceived effort. So if you use that as your guide, each time, you will be OK.

                      I hope all this helps.


                        Hello Damer, thank you for this opportunity. I have a newbie question if that's OK.

                        This month I started my second Darebee program, which is 30 Days of Cardio Blast. Apart from that, I also do some other minor things, like the Exercise of the Day and also 30 Days of Yoga. I figured, that since this is a very different kind of program, the combination could work nicely. I usually do the one workout in the morning and the other one in the late afternoon / evening. It's really nice.

                        Recently I also started with running, about 40 mins every other day (quite slow, I'm only a beginner).

                        My question is this: Although I feel very pleased with the combination of things I am now working on, I was wondering if especially the running could get in the way of 30 Days of Cardio Blast. The Darebee programs seem so carefully balanced that I am a bit worried that I am messing up the schedule and that for instance going out for a run on a day that, according to 30 Days of Cardio Blast, is supposed to be relatively less intense, might be counterproductive.

                        Is it a good idea to combine these things?


                          Thanks, Damer I had come to the conclusion that perceived effort was, for me, the way to go. It's nice to have you confirm that!
                          There's just one more little question, now.
                          I've been working out for some time now and I do often push myself quite hard. I generally have enough recovery time, though of course there are always those days when I think I shouldn't have climbed up that mountain a day before a heavy sparring class, but I guess we all have something like that! My resting HR has, over the last couple of years, varied from 51 - 67 (but that was when I was unwell and very stressed!) but generally hovers around 54-56. Now, it seems that I get to a particular level of exertion and my HR just zooms straight up. Nothing I've done so far seems to have had an effect on that, and I'd really rather it didn't happen. There appears to be no reason (according to two cardiologists over the last few years) why this should be, so I figure it must be a training issue, and I'm either doing something wrong or not doing something that's right. I feel okay so it doesn't stress me so much (anymore!) but I feel I'm missing out something by essentially skipping a zone. For me, walking at 5kph on the flat just gets me to zone 1, but running at 6kph puts me in zone 4 (zone 3 on a really good day).
                          So without going into the specifics of me as an individual, how is it best to train if you want to improve endurance and cardiovascular fitness? Is an increase in strength work likely to be of benefit, rather than just a focus on cardio?


                            TopNotch easy answers first. An increase in strength brings an increase in cardiovascular activity which results in an increase in power that can lead to better endurance over prolonged periods of activity. So, in very broad strokes, yes, you should mix strength and cardio training though not on the same day.

                            Now on your resting heart rate fluctuations, without knowing some personal data about you it is hard to suggest anything meaningful, however I will say that it sounds more like a mental problem than a physical one. Relax about it, enjoy what you are doing, train to feel strong and capable and the rest, usually, will follow.

                            I hope this helps.


                              Montserrat first, I want to focus on the fact that you feel really cool doing all this so this is a win straightaway. How we feel, generally, is the best guide to how well we are doing and we exercise to feel well inside our own skin.

                              Now, let's focus a little on the specifics of your question. Each of our programs is extensively field-tested which is why it takes so long for them to come out and each one is fine-tuned to deliver specific physical and mental gains over the course of the program. Virtually every program we create can be combined with Exercise Of The Day so there is no issue there. You can combine some programs that provide complementary gains so, in your case, "30 Days of Cardio Blast" combined with "30 Days of Yoga" can work. There will be some conflict on maybe two or three days when one program will countermand the other but over 30 days the bulk of each will be fine and the fact that you are working them together will deliver benefits a little faster than if you did them consecutively. You are also adding running to the equation however and there you will have issues for sure.

                              To better understand this it is important to examine what physical exercise actually does for us (and I apologize in advance for the lengthy reply). Physical activity, in general, creates a means of regulating energy expenditure by loading the muscles and our cardiovascular and aerobic systems. This load causes adaptations in the body, over time, that enable muscles, heart and lungs to increase their capacity to do work so we get stronger, fitter and more durable. The adaptations themselves however require time and energy to take hold.

                              When you mix exercises the way you do, you load the body's muscular, cardiovascular and aerobic systems but in a less structured way. This expands more energy than is necessary during the activities themselves, it also depletes the energy resources the body has for meaningful adaptations. Overtraining is actually about that as one study suggests. (You will find it here: Overtraining reduces the ability of the body to carry out adaptations so it reduces performance despite putting in a lot of effort in training and experiencing inflammation as a result. Overtraining, in itself, becomes addictive because of specific hormones released to mitigate the stress response in the body (study found here: but it delivers ever diminishing returns over time.

                              So, when you mix two programs plus running you are basically over-stressing your body hoping it will adapt faster. Usually what happens is the opposite.

                              The hardest thing for us to realize when we train is that sometimes slower delivers faster results provided we do it in a structured way.

                              I really hope this has helped answer your question but feel free to get back to me with anything you feel needs more clarification.