Exercise! - cardio question

View Full Version : cardio question

04-05-2007, 11:52 AM
I have an elliptical trainer at home and I have been using it 5 days a week for 30 minutes at a time using some of the preset programs. They vary the levels to give you intervals of high intensity with bouts of lower intensity in between. Anyway, I've been doing this for about 5 weeks now, and I'm starting to feel like I've had less of a workout. Where when I started I would stumble off the machine red faced and drenched in sweat, now I am more pink faced and having only broke out in a mild sweat.

I just don't know what I should do from here. Should I start increasing the intensity of my workouts? Or start working out for longer time frames? Or is it going to still give me the same benefits I'd had where it felt like a much more difficult workout?

04-05-2007, 12:10 PM

Does your elliptical use a heart rate monitor of some sort or do you wear a heart rate monitor? Mine came with a heart rate monitor that integrates with HR programs on the elliptical. So I'm able to have the elliptical challenge me or challenge myself. I would try going to use interval training if you can where you alternate between a good pace to a total heart pounding pace then back to the good pace.

So basically, my advice is to monitor your heart rate to measure your intensity. Try to increase the intensity by going faster/upping the levels but also alternate between that and less intense intervals.

04-05-2007, 12:33 PM
It does have a heart rate monitor, although I don't often look at it because I tend to use the arms and the heart rate thingy is on a separate part of the machine. I will try to check it from time to time and see where I am at, what would be a good range to shoot for?

04-05-2007, 12:44 PM
If your elliptical has a palm heart rate reader, those aren't the most accurate but they can give you a general idea. You might want to invest in a wrist heart rate monitor for the long term.

This website helps you calculate:

If you are in Zone 3, then you should be good.
For me, I put in my age (31) and resting heart rate (65) and it gave me a zone of 143 to 158 which is usually about where I fall when I'm doing a fairly fast pace on my elliptical although sometimes I get up to 165.

04-05-2007, 12:58 PM
YOu might try doing intervals. Again, watch your heartrate to see how you're doing. I'll do mine in conjunction with music on my playlist. I'll go along at a good steady speed for one song (3-4 min) then really push on the next, and back to steady. You don't go as long, but you get a good workout. Of course, it helps to plan your playlist so you have a good song with a fast beat for the higher intensity part! :)

04-05-2007, 01:00 PM
Thanks very much for your help. I think I will go ahead and get a wrist moniter. I do ride a bike too some days, it'd be nice to have a way to check my progress on that too. I can't believe how much better I feel since I started exercising regularly. Or that I'm actually finding the exercise that I could barely finish at first almost too easy!

04-05-2007, 02:28 PM
I personally don't think a heart rate monitor is critical to a good workout. I've been working out for well over a year, have made excellent progress, and have never invested in one. It is a nice to have, but they are expensive. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get one if you want one; your heart rate is helpful info to have so if you do want to spend the money on one, by all means, treat yourself. But if you don't want to spend the money on it, I don't think it's critical to getting a good workout. I use the "perceived exertion scale" and it's worked well for me. You can learn about it at http://exercise.about.com/cs/fitnesstools/l/blperceivedexer.htm.

As your cardiovascular health improves, you are going to have to increase your workouts to get the same level of benefit. You can either work out longer or work out harder in the same amount of time. My vote (and my personal trainer's recommendation) is to work out harder in the same amount of time. Really, how much time to you want to spend working out anyway? If you can accomplish the same benefit in less time by working out at a high intensity, why not do that? That's an advantage of interval training--you are able to work out at a really high intensity, so you don't need to work out as long.