Are you in a cardio rut? Maybe you're an elliptical expert or a treadmill pro, but you're not seeing results for all of the time you've clocked in the cardio area. Most people get into a comfortable cardio routine and find that eventually, their progress stagnates.
It's the dreaded plateau. Performing the same exercise at the same level over time will ultimately lead to little or no change in your fitness goals. The key is to confuse your body with change - in speed, resistance, or type of exercise.
Luckily, incorporating intervals into your tried and true cardio routine can challenge your body to move out of a plateau and above all, drive real results - faster.
Change your heart rate.
It's important to know your target heart rate. A basic way is to take the number 220 and subtract your age. This number is your estimated maximum heart rate. Calculate 65% to 85% of this number to find your target heart rate.
You want to stay in this range to ensure you're burning fat as well as challenging your heart to perform more efficiently for long-term cardiovascular health. If you are maintaining a steady heart rate throughout your workout, try spiking it to the 85% or even 90% for short bouts, and bring it back down.
Hop on the bike.
A simple way to introduce yourself to cardio intervals is to hop on the upright bike.
If you are relatively new to exercise, spin at 95-100 rpms at level 5 for one minute, then double your level to 10. Maintain 95-100 RPMs for one minute. Alternate this for three times, totaling six minutes. You will start to breathe heavier, sweat, and feel exertion. This is also a time to use the "talk test." If you find it difficult to speak, that's a sure confirmation that you are in your target heart rate range.
Try different cardio machines.
Once you have been exercising for a few weeks, try intervals on different cardio machines. The bike is great to start with, but if you've been at the club for some time, try the same thing on the elliptical, treadmill, arc trainer, etc. Mix up your cardio intervals with different speeds, inclines, and resistance.
Your level of experience and endurance will determine which level or resistance you start with and what you raise it to in order to increase your heart rate. No matter your experience level, cardio intervals are great for burning fat and getting the results you're looking for.
Ready to get out of a plateau?
Get started with an individually tailored cardio interval program created just for you by an O2 Fitness Personal Trainer.