Exercise Tips – Improve your Cardio Workouts

/ / Ellipticals, Training, Treadmills

Cardio Tips - Spirit XT285 Treadmill

So, you’re either planning on starting a cardio program, or you’re wondering whether or not you’ve put together an effective cardiovascular exercise plan. Here’s some tips for your cardio workouts that you can use to make sure you’ve build a plan that works best for you!

First, your goals and your body type will dictate how much cardio you need per week. If you’re trying to add muscle mass, and you’re naturally lean, you should keep your cardio sessions down to only one or two times per week. On the other hand, if you’re prone to storing fat, and one bite of carbohydrates seems to add inches to your hips – you might need 3 or more sessions per week to keep your figure! And, if your training for something like a marathon or triathlon – well, you should increase your frequency as you get ready for your event.

Also, if your goal is just general health, you might want to do long, slow runs on your treadmill. Keep in mind that if you’re not having fun, you won’t make it a habit, so make sure that you pick the type of workout that makes you happy! (And, if you’re not sure what type of workout you’d enjoy – a great way to figure that out is to stop by one of Fitness 4 Home Superstore’s 3 Phoenix-area locations!)

Next – decide what your overall goal is – fat burning or cardiovascular health. If your goal is fat burning, you might want to do moderate cardio workouts. Those are the type of workouts where your heart rate returns to normal within a short period after you complete your workout. If fat burning isn’t your goal, but maybe your looking to improve your time for an event your planning on entering, you want a more intense cardio workout, where your heart rate might be elevated for a couple of hours after your event. A great way to tell the difference is like this – if you can carry on a conversation while working out – that ‘s a moderate workout. If you can barely speak two or three word sentences…well, that’s intense!

Over time, your goal should be to move up to more intense workouts. Here’s why – in a moderate workout, your body will burn fat DURING the workout, but not after. In an intense workout, you won’t burn fat during the workout, but your body will burn fat AFTER the workout for hours! The reason for this is as your body gets more accustomed to intense workouts, your metabolism becomes more efficient at burning fat – so even if your treadmill or elliptical is set for cardio workouts, make sure you “up” the level of those workouts over time to help your body “learn” how to pick up your metabolism! But, always throw in a moderate workout once in awhile – it’s always good to keep your body guessing (and, the variety helps you stay motivated to keep working out!)

Your heart rate can provide you a lot of information about your training. Over time, your resting heart rate should decrease. By tracking your heart rate, you can monitor your effort. If you train today at 160bpm then have a lousy day and don’t feel like you’re receiving any benefit, use your heart rate as a guide. As long as you are pushing hard enough to hit that 160bmp mark again, you know you are getting at least the same intensity from your training as the time before.

One last thing – make sure you keep your workouts interesting by injecting variety into your plan. If you always use the treadmill, your body will become so efficient at using the treadmill that you will begin to burn fewer calories doing the same workout. On the other hand, if you perform treadmill work one session, elliptical on your next another session, then go for a bike ride, you will continue to see the benefit of increased calorie expenditure. This will keep the fat melting off and continuously improve your cardiovascular conditioning. And, don’t let yourself think that cardio isn’t necessary, since even when you’re in peak condition, a little cardiovascular exercise is always necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Just make sure you change the style and frequency of cardio to suit your lifestyle and fitness goals. Consider various styles of training, different terrains, and new types of equipment to train on. Learn what your body needs, keep a good journal, and find out what works for you!

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Bob Lachniet is the owner of Fitness 4 Home Superstore. He has been in the fitness equipment commercial and retail sales industry for over 25 years and has been owner of Fitness 4 Home Superstore since 2005. Bob truly cares about his customers and wishes to educate them on what is the right piece of equipment for their particular circumstance.

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