100 lb. Club - Should I be trying to increase time or speed on treadmill?

05-05-2003, 07:43 PM
I started out at 20 minutes at 1.5 mph. By Saturday and Sunday of last week I was starting out at 1.5 for ten minutes then raising it to 2.0 for ten minutes and then dropping it back down to 1.5 for the last ten minutes. That resulted in a 30 minute walk being .86 of a mile. Today I did a 35 minute walk at a steady 1.5 the entire time. It gave me a .88 mile walk. I am interested in hearing opinions here. Should I be trying to raise the length of my workouts or the pace? Any advice is appreciated. TIA:?:

05-05-2003, 08:30 PM
Karefree....you should not be worrying at all what the treadmill tells you right now. You should concentrate on how the exercise feels to you.

This is how the trainer at the gym explained it to me: Use a perceived exertion level on a scale of 1-10 to determine how hard you're working. A 1 would be equal to sitting on the couch watching TV, and a 10 would be equivalent to running from the biggest bear you've ever seen. You want to be able to maintain a 5-8 level for 20 minutes.

Now, this level system is solely based on how YOU perceive your exercise. The girl on the treadmill next to you who's been working out every day for a year might be running at 5 mph and to her, that would be a level 4. For me, running 5 mph would be about an 11! :lol:

You also should take your resting heart rate, then multiply it by 1.85 to see what your HIGHEST exercising heart rate should be. Take your heart rate regularly, and if gets above that target number, SLOW DOWN! No sense in giving yourself a heart attack...

I hope I helped. :)

05-06-2003, 11:20 AM
Yes, you did help Jennelle, and I appreciate it. I think I understand what you are saying but the 2 different workouts are about on the same level. So, what you are saying is that when I feel I need to raise the level I should just increase the pace because the length of time is already sufficient? Or perhaps slowly work down to 5 minutes of warming up at 1.5 and 5 minutes of colling dowing at 1.5 with the 20 minutes in between slowly rising in pace to fit my level of fitness.

LOL! Have to chuckle at the 5 mph! It will be YEARS before I get to that point!

Thanks for your advice, Jennelle, I appreciate it.

Goddess Jessica
05-06-2003, 12:22 PM
For me, I try to concentrate on the distance. Honestly, to me it's more inspiring for me to say, "I finally reached 2 miles on the treadmile in 35 minutes," rather than saying, "I jogged at 3.0 mph for 2 minutes today." However, since speed and distance at linked by high school physics, it's very similar anyway.

But I agree with Jennelle, listen to your heart rate! If you start to not feel challenged (and I know you're say, "Oh yeah right," but one day it will happen) then it's time to bump it up a notch.

And don't be afraid to ask a trainer at the gym! Especially since there are so many different types of machines and each level can mean a different thing on each machine.

05-06-2003, 04:49 PM
here's what my trainer has told me...

first, you exercise until you work up a light sweat, and then you keep that up for at least 30 minutes. it's also essential for weight loss to keep your heart rate at a little more than 65% of the maximum for your age. for me, at age {ahem} 50, that gives me a target rate of about 123. if you get into the cardio conditioning range, which for me is about 140, you lose the weight loss benefit. i have no clue why this works.

the next thing is intervals. once you get to the point where you're tolerating a particular regimen, say 30 minutes at about 3 miles per hour [and believe me, that's just an idea], you should start introducing intervals. and these are brief spurts of higher-intensity effort followed by the regular intensity. this increases the fat burn. and yes, i was skeptical. but it's really and truly working.

for example. i use the bike to nowhere for a minimum of 30 minutes, and up to 45 minutes if i have the time. a warmup of about 3 minutes at about 70 rpm to get my heart rate to 115-120, then 1 minute at 95-100 rpm and then another couple of minutes at 70 rpm until my heart rate recovers to about 117. then i do another interval, up to 2 minutes. and so on and so on.

when it gets too easy, which means that my heart rate drops below 115 when i'm doing 70 rpm, i increase the level on the bike so that i can maintain at least 115 to 120 during a noninterval at about 70 rpm.

so, in summary, it looks as if it's a combination of increased time AND increased intensity, but WORK INTO IT GRADUALLY!!!!! THERE'S NO POINT IN HURTING YOURSELF!!!! remember. they tell us this is supposed to be FUN. i'm not at that point, but at least it's working!

05-06-2003, 06:55 PM
Jiffypop, I think the "fun" part is a BIG URBAB MYTH instigated by a sadist who likes to watch us suffer! LOL! Just kidding. But I honestly have never reached the fun part before in 48 years. I know it is necessary but I doubt it will ever be fun.

05-06-2003, 08:43 PM

My heart rate is usually in the 130's - 140's. Does that mean that once I hit the 140's that I'm not doing myself any good? I've never heard that before. I kept thinking that the higher my heart rate the better for burning the fat. Does that mean I should slow my work out down some?

05-06-2003, 09:43 PM
I think there are plenty of folks here who might be able to explain this better, and with more knowledge, but .. if I understand correctly, going over that max heart rate pushes you into the anaerobic (muscle building) rather than aerobic (fat burning) zone.

05-07-2003, 12:16 AM
raven.. that makes sense to me!!! i don't understand this at all, and neither does my skinny sister who has 15 pounds to lose and is ALWAYS at the gym.

and mothergoose... at your 'tender' age, i KNOW that your heart rate can/should be higher than mine, but i have no idea what it should be for you. i'll try to remember to check for you when i get to the gym tomorrow.

maybe chris knows... hope she stops by!

05-07-2003, 12:52 AM
I think it doesn't really matter - if you go into the muscle building zone, you'll still lose fat because you're building muscle, and muscle takes more calories to maintain. Hence, you're burning more fuel (fat) when you build muscle.

05-07-2003, 01:11 AM
ummm. i read a summary of a couple of studies [and i have them at work, and hope i remember to post them here tomorrow... today] that compared the fat burning of intervals vs cardio, and found that people who did the intervals lost more inches than people who did the cardio.

while you are building muscle, which apparently is great for long-term weight control, the more immediate fat burn of intervals gets the fat off faster.

at least, that's what the trainers are telling me, and these two studies.

05-07-2003, 01:23 PM
this is something i picked up from the WW message boards last week. the conclusions are that the intervals do more for fat loss than long duration exercise. i don't pretend to understand all of this, but the intervals have sure been working for me!

From the weightwatchers.com message boards 04/28/03

Opinions dont lose fat... here are some facts

Angelo Tremblay, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the Physical Activities Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Quebec, Canada, challenged the common belief among health professionals that low-intensity, long-duration exercise is the best program for fat loss. They compared the impact of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and high-intensity aerobics on fat loss. (Metabolism (1994) Volume 43, pp.814-818)
The Canadian scientists divided 27 inactive, healthy, non-obese adults (13 men, 14 women, 18 to 32 years old) into two groups. They subjected one group to a 20-week endurance training (ET) program of uninterrupted cycling 4 or 5 times a week for 30 to 45 minutes; the intensity level began at 60% of heart rate reserve and progressed to 85%. (For a 30-year-old, this would mean starting at a heart rate of about 136 and progressing to roughly 170 bpm, which is more intense than usually prescribed for weight or fat loss.)
The other group did a 15-week program including mainly high-intensity-interval training (HIIT). Much like the ET group, they began with 30-minute sessions of continuous exercise at 70% of maximum heart rate reserve (remember, they were not accustomed to exercise), but soon progressed to 10 to 15 bouts of short (15 seconds progressing to 30 seconds) or 4 to 5 long (60 seconds progressing to 90 seconds) intervals separated by recovery periods allowing heart rate to return to 120-130 beats per minute. The intensity of the short intervals was initially fixed at 60% of the maximal work output in 10 seconds, and that of the long bouts corresponded to 70% of the individual maximum work output in 90 seconds. Intensity on both was increased 5% every three weeks.
As you might expect, the total energy cost of the ET program was substantially greater than the HIIT program. The researchers calculated that the ET group burned more than twice as many calories while exercising than the HIIT program. But (surprise, surprise) skin fold measurements showed that the HIIT group lost more subcutaneous fat. "Moreover," reported the researchers, "when the difference in the total energy cost of the program was taken into account..., the subcutaneous fat loss was nine fold greater in the HIIT program than in the ET program." In short, the HIIT group got 9 times more fat-loss benefit for every calorie burned exercising.
How can that be?
Dr. Tremblay's group took muscle biopsies and measured muscle enzyme activity to determine why high-intensity exercise produced so much more fat loss. I'll spare you the details (they are technical and hard to decipher), but this is their bottom line: "[Metabolic adaptations resulting from HIIT] may lead to a better lipid utilization in the post exercise state and thus contribute to a greater energy and lipid deficit." In other words, compared to moderate-intensity endurance exercise, high- intensity intermittent exercise causes more calories and fat to be burned following the workout. Citing animal studies, they also said it may be that appetite is suppressed more following intense intervals. (Neither group was placed on a diet.)
The next time someone pipes up about the fat-burn zone, ask them if they are familiar with the Tabata and Tremblay research reports.
The Tremblay group ( and Dr. Tabata in his e-mail response to Richard Winett) does, however, offer a word of warning: "... High-intensity exercise cannot be prescribed for individuals at risk for health problems or for obese people who are not used to exercise."

Tiggis 4/28/2003 10:05:38 AM

The notion of the fat-burning zone (~65% max heart rate) is just plain old faulty logic. During lower-intensity activity, a greater percentage of your fuel does come from fat. However, contrary to the claims of the fat-burning zone proponents, consuming more fat as a substrate during exercise does not translate into increased bodyfat loss. In fact, high-intensity interval training, which burns mostly glycogen, has been clinically demonstrated to stimulate bodyfat loss much more efficiently than endurance cardio. Unlike lower-intensity cardio, HIIT jacks up your metabolism for hours after the workout is over and produces metabolic adaptations that cause your body to consume more fat.

05-07-2003, 01:27 PM
and now, mothergoose... i checked the tables at the gym for your heart rates, and for someone who's 35, the 60% rate is 111, and the 85% rate is 157. 157-111 = 46/2=23+111 = 134 beats per minute would be your 72% heart rate, so it sounds as if your 130-140 is right on track.

but for the REAL DEAL, i suggest you check with a trainer. they actually know this stuff!

05-07-2003, 01:31 PM
Jiff - Thanks for the info! I actually end up doing interval training by default....I work really hard for a few minutes and then realize if I keep it up, I'm gonna keel over! :lol:

05-07-2003, 01:37 PM
It is nice though that that is what we are suppose to be doing.:)

05-08-2003, 01:19 PM
Jiffy- Thanks for all the great info!! It does help a lot to know how I should be doing this for the greatest benefit.

05-13-2003, 12:30 PM
My $.02 (and that's about what it's worth!:D ).

I'm sure I've read somewhere that 20 minutes is the minimum aerobic workout to start seeing fat-burning benefits and anything over that is clearly gravy, so time should definitely be part of your goal.

I recently did my free personal training session at my new gym (mostly to figure out the weight machines) and asked about my aerobic routine, which is pretty much treadmill at this point. The trainer said I should be sure to get into and stay into my target heart rate zone (as so ably pointed out by Jiffy!). She encouraged me to pick a manual speed and incline and go with that the whole time rather than using the treadmills pre-programed interval course but after reading the study Jiffy posted I may go back to the other way! Thanks for all the great info.

05-13-2003, 03:52 PM
whoa!!!! KFS!!!! SLOW DOWN HERE!!!!! If you're just starting a routine at a new gym, don't start with the intervals!!!!!! let your body get into the groove here!!! otherwise, you'll hurt yourself. get some conditioning going before the intervals... they're not easy to do.

give yourself a couple of weeks. see how you do following the trainer's recommendations. see how the weight loss goes, and whether you're stiff and sore.

remember, the goal is to work up a light sweat, not to fall off the equipment or pass out!!!

05-13-2003, 03:58 PM
Oops, I should have said I've been going to the gym since Sept.:cb: but just recently changed gyms!

Of course, my exercise buddy -L (who turned me on to 3FC) :wave: ) is trying to kill me by talking me into using the eliptical trainer instead.

I keep telling her that would be no problem but they'd need the CPR guys standing by!

Thanks for worrying about me though :)

05-13-2003, 04:50 PM
ARGH! My browser glitched and I have no idea how to delete the duplicate - 3FC divas?


05-13-2003, 07:47 PM
kim... you want i should take care of L and that elliptical trainer??? i'd be happy to!!!! [she's such a sweetie!!!]

and i DO feel better now about your exercise thoughts here, but please talk with the trainer first, i didn't start doing intervals until i hit a major plateau. if the non-interval thing is working with the weight loss, then stick with it. for awhile at least.

many people say that the elliptical trainer is easier on their joints. it looks way too complicated for me!!!

05-14-2003, 11:22 AM
I hate hate hate the elliptical trainer.

I remember being up to doing 10 minute stints running on the treadmill - 10 minute walk, 10 minute jog, 10 minute walk, 10 minute jog, 10 minute cool down.

Greg talked me into trying the elliptical - after about 3 minutes I almost passed out.

That thing is definately the devil machine!

No need to rush into intervals - they are GREAT for you - but don't push it.

I started out by doing about a 10 minute walk, then did about 30 seconds running, then 10 minutes walking... and gradually increased it - but the point is to take it easy and not force yourself into a heart attack! :)