Like all people, you will probably look at the table below and then start reading the article. Yes, we are all like that, skip the boring part and look at the interesting, colourful bits. Now that you have looked at the interesting bits you will probably ask why the article is not named “Cardio exercise guidelines” because that is what it looks like. A table that will give me an idea of where and how long to spend on a cardio machine and how hard I must work while I am on the cardio machine.

The moment an article starts with cardio, many of us will just ignore it. We have all heard it more and more in the last couple of years. Cardio is dead, cardio is boring, cardio do not give the results that weight training does. These are all very relevant claims and not something to argue. The fact of the matter is that if you walk into any commercial gym facility during peak times and you will barely find a vacant cardio machine.

So to get back to the exercise guidelines make no mistake that you can get the benefits of cardiovascular exercise while doing weight training or even better, a combination of weight training and some sort of short burst cardiovascular exercise.

If you look at Level 1 on this table you will notice that the members of society that fall into this group are also the people that hog the cardio machines. You know, those who spend an hour on a piece of equipment that is clearly marked 20 minute time limit! Did you know that with a well devised weight training session without the 5 minute chatting up the girl on the bench next to yours between sets, you will reach the same heart rate zones as the person that walks on the treadmill for that time period? Who sees the most benefits in their long term training program? You of course. Muscle building will ultimately burn more calories, even if you are lying in on a Sunday morning. More muscle equals faster metabolic rate. The same principle can be applied to Level 2 and the easiest to Level 3. You just have to use your imagination. Throw a skipping rope in the mix and skip for a minute between every set of bicep curls or dumbbell presses. It will make your physique look a lot more appealing in a much shorter time. You will work harder, sweat more, look more impressive to everybody else in the gym that is really just wasting their own time.

Don’t just walk into the gym and start shooting from the hip. You have to have a plan in place. Otherwise you are bound to fail. It is now February. Do you know how many people already stopped their very good training intentions? A large percentage, that is for sure and the main reason is lack of planning. Look at this table below, use the three levels and devise 3 workouts per week. One on Level 1, one on Level 2 and the last one on Level 3. Mix the levels up on a weekly basis. Don’t follow the same recipe every week. Your body will get used to it. Rest a day between every Level and you are well on your way to fitness success. Good luck!

 

 

Level

 

Level 1

 

Level 2

 

Level 3

Intensity

Long + easy

Moderate

Short + hard

Approx. time

30-60 mins

30-45 mins

10-30 mins

Benefits

Increased blood flow and circulation, general fitness benefits.

Increased cardiovascular and respiratory endurance.

Largest increase in metabolism, increased cardiovascular and respiratory output.

Heart Rate Zones

 

 

 

Age

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

 

114-138

108-132

108-132

102-126

102-126

100-120

96-118

96-118

90-114

90-114

84-108

84-108

 

144-162

138-162

138-156

132-150

132-150

126-144

118-136

118-136

114-132

114-126

108-126

108-120

 

162-185

162-180

156-176

150-168

150-168

144-162

136-154

136-154

132-152

126-150

126-150

120-138