Pick A Cardio – Any Cardio
People do not like cardio. Let’s face it. It’s sweaty, tedious and can be hard. By now people know they can make their 15-45mins more enjoyable by listening to music, watching TV or people watching (tsk tsk) but I’ve noticed people seem to shy away from equipment they don’t know. Using new equipment keeps your mind interested and your body guessing.
I wanted to explain each machine and also go over their basic functions so here we go-
Walk or run, this machine gives a great functional workout. See your sidewalk racing skills improve. Never miss a bus again. Okay really, the treadmill is awesome. Go faster, go slower or incline so steep you feel like Spiderman walking straight up the walls. Jogging burns a lot of calories (4.2 calories per lb of body weight/per hr) and there are many combinations of training to chose from like intervals, tempo runs etc. Start out by walking (2.4 calories per lb of body weight/per hr) and hold on to the bar in front of you or to your sides. There should also be a clip on a string. This is an emergency stopping device. Attach this to your clothes so if you fall down/off the machine will stop moving right away.
This seems to be the favourite of them all. Use your arms and legs, or just your legs, go forward or backward. The Elliptical has more to it than most probably know. The machine is designed to mimic the movement of running but without the impact on the knees. It also wins for calories burned (approx 800hr depending on weight) because you are using your arms and legs. Your heart and body absolutely love this. If you want to add extra arm work to your cardio session, pull the bars when you are pedalling forward (biceps) and push them (triceps) when you are going backward. Arm burning goodness. For more focus on the legs, bend your knees and stick your butt out, like you are going in to a squat and pedal hard. Owie!
I used to think that the bike was the lazy workout. I mean you’re sitting down for cardio sake! Don’t be mistaken though, because the bike is a hard cardio workout (2.7 calories per lb of body weight/per hr). Within minutes you feel the burn in your quads and butt. I actually lose my breath and sweat like a hog on these things too. You can take it up a notch and take a spinning class. Standing up, sitting down, being ordered to pedal harder and faster at the command of an instructor that hardly breaks a sweat while you’re drowning in yours. It’s tough! As for the recumbent bikes, I know they work great for gym members with balance difficulties but why are people reading “War and Peace” and looking so comfortable? I can almost picture a roaring fire in front of them.
Ah the stairs. So neglected but so good for you. Not only will your actual stair climbing improve (no more panting just trying to get to your bedroom) but it really works your butt. I swear this machine sculpted my ass in to the fine specimen of a booty that I sport today. There is a myth that the stairs make your butt bigger. No, not working out makes your butt bigger. That and it’s really hard. I don’t think I ever got over level 7 of 20. It’s one of those machines where at first you’re standing up straight, towel draped over your shoulders, taking each step perfectly. Then by the end you are hunched over the machine, hugging it even and using the towel on the handles so you don’t slip in your own sweat. Highly recommended.
If your gym is lucky enough to have a rowing machine then by all means, use it! It burns a ton of calories (3.1 calories per lb of body weight/per hr), gives you a killer looking upper body and improves your heart like woah! Have you ever seen the physique of a pro rower? Who knew making a boat move could be so good for your bod? I find this machine so hard I can barely get through 15 minutes! It’s challenging and you can really feel it the next day in your arms and back, like you were lifting.
Cardio Machine Basic Functions
All of the machines are different depending on where you go and their brand. Still, I find they all work similarly so here is some brief instruction on how to get the machines started.
People get stuck on the machines right away because you need to start moving on them for it to start up.
Once you get it going then the board should start flashing. This is where you pick a program. Pick what sounds good to you. The programs go by the intensity of the intervals and how much resistance it’s going to put you on, to get your target HR. Beginners should start with fat burn while the more advanced enthusiasts should hit cardio or interval.
If you don’t want a program there’s usually a “Quick Start” button and then you’re free to do your own workout.
Next it will ask you basic things like age and weight. This is to program how many calories you burn and the HR monitor’s accuracy.
The HR monitor is the silver coloured panels on the machine’s handles. If your machine is programed right it will adjust the tension in the machine so you’re working out hard enough. If you aren’t working out hard enough it will beep and pester you in to taking it up a notch. Also if you are working out too hard it will do you a favour and shut down:)
Most machines will have a 3-5 minute cool down at the end of a programmed workout. I suggest you complete the cool down before hopping off. It allows your body to ease it’s way back in to a normal state by decreasing the HR.
There you have it, the cardiovascular machines! Go burn some calories!