Monday, November 28, 2022
Mitochondrial Health

Q&A on Zone 2 Exercise with Peter Attia

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?

If you are interested and want to dive deeper into Zone 2, please see our podcast with Iñigo San Millán:


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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30 thoughts on “Q&A on Zone 2 Exercise with Peter Attia
  1. I am water fasting for five and a half years eating only on weekends. On those a fasting days is it easier for me to get to zone 2 just because I'm water fasting or not?

  2. I Peloton 45 min classes in zone 2, 4 times a week based on Dr Attia’s suggestion. Yup, I ignore the class and pedal on. The leaderboard is motivational. Also, I borrowed Dr Attia’s moniker for motivation “KickAss100YrOld”. Dr Attia, keep the information rolling. Thank you!!

  3. Thank you so much Peter for getting back to interesting topics like this. If i want to hear how good vaccines are, I'll listen to the mainstream media. What's your take on the billat 30/30 intervals vs longer (2-4min) intervals. Thanx again.

  4. Thank you, Peter! One doubt: what affects lactate accumulation other than power output? You mention two very different lactate readings despite same watts and HR. How come? I understand why HR is affected by temperature, stress, sleep etc. But why lactate accumulation?

  5. Question: I am going to start zone 2 cycling and maintain a HR of 120-130 BPM. I don’t have an interest in the Lactic Acid testing🤔. Is this ok? I can do 3 days per week at 60 min sessions. I also like to play tennis. Will my tennis mess up my zone 2 training since my HR fluctuates between 110-170 BPM depending if I play singles or doubles?

  6. Great content. Could the increased lactate on the rower also be because there is greater utilization of various muscle groups (forearms, shoulders, lats) versus on the bike the demand is placed solely on the legs?

  7. Great stuff Peter. As a very experienced cyclist, this is probably the first and only time I actually knew more about a subject than you. First, I'd absolutely recommend using Zwift for zone 2 work. My Z2 is at 3w/kg. I do as much as 3hrs a day of Z2, inside and outside. To get your Z2 power to 3w/kg you'll probably have to significantly up your volume of training. How to distribute that is the holy grail. You should get Dr. Stephen Seiler on your podcast. He's a physiologist. One of the best in the world and a fantastic guest/speaker. He can go through the optimum distribution of training with you and your listeners.

  8. Much of these posts and many of the questions make me feel like the world’s biggest idiot. As Carlin said, “take a person of average intelligence and think about it; half of the people are dumber than that idiot.”

  9. How important is it to be at the lactate threshold for the entire time? For instance, if your max heart rate is 180 – how important is it to be at 140ish HR rather than 120HR.

  10. I noticed I can run way faster on the treadmill than outside for the same heart rate. It's much easier doing zone 2 indoors, despite incredible boredom of it.

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