Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New exercise program - Cardio

So what is this new program?

Well it is based on a few ideas that I have been slowly been putting together from my own experience and some training advice from Vince DelMonte.

Firstly, your body needs to recover. My body knows this and I used to feel bad if I took a day off or didn't go as hard as I did last time.

If I can't go as hard as I did last time, then my body hasn't properly recovered.

This is important, because I believe it is more important to train at your highest intensity rather than drag your butt into the gym and barely move your heart rate.

When you train at a high intensity, you push yourself and make your body adjust to this increase in intensity. My body doesn't like to change. It thinks that fat storage is a good idea, because it never knows when I might next decide to go for a few days not eating enough.

So I am going to train harder and I will do this by using the interval method.

This is really simple. Just go as hard as you can for 1 minute then take an easy pace for 1 minute.

Over time I can reduce my rest period, or increase my intensity, but never both at the same time.

As an easy way to measure the work done for each exercise I will simply multiply the level by the time in total at high intensity. Eg I run at level 10 for 20 minutes on and off.
Then my workload for running that day is level 10 * 10 minutes = 100. If I manage to get my rest period down to 30 seconds then my workload is 10*13.33 = 133, obviously I have worked harder.

Ok so how is this going to work exactly.

Types of exercise: I don't just want to run, I think I will get greater benefit and not get quite as bored if I mix it up. I will do one day on the treadmill the next on the bike the next on the eliptical machine and then the rowing machine, before getting back to the treadmill again.

The goal on each machine as follows:
Machine Increase intensity
Treadmill: Increase speed level
Bike: keep at 90rpm and reduce rest time
eliptical: Use the "random" setting & inc level
Rowing machine: Keep at 40s/min & reduce rest time.

Next I am going to drop the length of time I am at the gym. Currently I spend a full hour at the gym and go at about 80 - 90% intensity for 50 minutes of it. Instead I am going to only stay at the gym for 30 - 45 minutes. Starting at 30 minutes = 20 minutes interval + 10 minutes warm/cool.

I am going to go more frequently. This though is only if I am fully recovered. If I get to the gym and I can't maintain the level I did last time then I am not fully recovered and I am going to stop. I think I will go do some stretches instead.

Yep a key ingredient to this program is that you push at your maximum every single time. If I can't, then there isn't much point being there. Yes, I will still burn calories, but if I do train when not fully recovered it will take me longer to recover fully and I start to risk injury.

So no training when I am not up to it. This doesn't mean don't go to the gym, just don't do the cardio session.

I am only going 3 times a week at the moment, and half of this isn't cardio. My goal is to be up to 3 times a week cardio and 2 -3 times a week weight training.

Finally I am going to keep increasing my personal best. The reason why I have a way to measure workload is that I want to try to increase my workload by 5% each time I get back to doing that exercise type.

For example: lets say I can run at level 10, on and off for 20 minutes, my workload is 100, next time I want that workload to be 105 and the time after that 110.25. I can either do this by increasing the level, reducing the rest time, or increasing the overall duration. Before each work out I should know what my previous level, work/rest ratio and overall duration and what my new workload is going to be.

So I did level 10 for 1minute on/1 minute off for 20 minutes, next time I do 10.5 for the same thereby increasing my workload by 5%.

I rode at level 10 for 1minute on/1 minute off for 20 minutes, next time I do level 10 for 1 minute on 50 seconds off thereby increasing my workload by 11%.


Ok, maybe not, but I it makes sense to me. Tonight I am going to the gym to establish what my maximum levels are.

So that is the cardio program, wait till I tell you about the weights work out.

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