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Intermediate Level Cardio-Conditioning and Aerobic Base 2 Building - Treadmill

This workout builds on the increasing strength of the aerobic base you have established in your beginning cardio workouts. Completing these workouts allows you to continue to develop your aerobic fitness by strengthening your heart muscle while continuing to challenge your muscle metabolism to burn higher percentages of fat and calories during your workouts. The beginning level cardio-conditioning workouts helped to stimulate your aerobic base to reach a new level of fitness and the intermediate workout will help you strengthen the base further. This workout emphasizes slightly longer workout duration to achieve further strengthening of the heart muscle while continuing to train the muscles to convert fuel to energy using oxygen and improving endurance. A benefit of doing this workout is that you will develop a strong base of aerobic fitness and endurance which will provide multiple health and fitness benefits, improve quality of life and reduce cardiac risk.

This workout requires the use of a treadmill with adjustable speed and incline. Treadmills provide an excellent aerobic workout using familiar body mechanics used in normal locomotion. The treadmill utilizes a moving belt; therefore, it may take a little 'getting used to' before you feel stable at faster paces. A good idea is to pick a point in the distant foreground to focus on, rather than looking down or sideways, in order to maintain balance until you are very familiar with using the treadmill.

The intermediate cardio program will help you to achieve a strong endurance base that can be sustained long-term, develop your aerobic fitness and train your body to burn more calories during exercise. The way it works is to remain in a moderate intensity level in order to train the heart to pump enough oxygen to the working muscles to optimize endurance.

Prior to entering the cardio zone at the beginning of the workout it is advantageous to complete one fat burning interval in order to prepare the muscles for higher intensity exercise. As the cardio intervals and workout duration lengthens, more time in the fat burning zone is needed to prepare the muscles and heart for the workout. Throughout the workout, you will alternate fat burning intervals with cardio intervals to maintain an aerobic quality of the workout. The fat burning interval duration will begin to shorten relative to the intervals you completed in the beginning cardio phase.

Prior Experience:

Prior Exercise Experience: 2 weeks of beginning cardio conditioning training on either the elliptical or the treadmill.

Medical Clearance: Consult your physician before starting or advancing any exercise program.

Workout Details:

Precor Machine: Any Precor Treadmill

Workout Duration: 40 minutes

Frequency: 4-5 days per week, or alternate every other workout with a beginning cardio conditioning workout to total 4-5 workouts per week.
Number of Weeks until Advancement from this Phase: Completion of 2 weeks of consistent intermediate cardio workouts 4 days per week; or, 4 weeks of alternating beginning and intermediate workouts 4 days per week.

Next Recommended Workout Type: Advanced cardio workouts.

Program: Manual

Intensity Level: 75- 85% of predicted HR max for cardio intervals and 65-75% of predicted HR max for fat burning intervals. This workout should feel fairly easy to somewhat hard during the cardio interval range (11-13 on the modified Borg scale). Warm-up and cool down are always between 55-65% of predicted HR max.

Speed: Varies depending on individual heart rate response. Stay at the velocity needed in order to keep your heart rate in the target range. If it seems too fast to maintain balance, then raise the incline slightly and slow the speed.

Incline: Varies with workout instructions.

Stride Rate: To determine your stride rate per minute, count the number of times one foot strikes the ground over 15 seconds and multiply by 4. If you are jogging or running, you should aim for 86-92 strides per minute to optimally target the aerobic system.

Pre-Workout Tips:

  • Incorporate a general flexibility program as part of your regular exercise routine. If you plan to stretch prior to your workout, it's best to warm up your muscles first with 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
  • Begin the workout adequately hydrated. Consume 8-12 ounces of water or sports drink within 1 hour prior to the workout.
  • Begin the workout properly nourished. Consume a meal or snack containing carbohydrates and protein 1 hour prior to the workout.
  • Do not work out if you are sick, injured or have a fever.
  • Use the handrail grips to see your target heart rate or purchase a HR belt which allows you to see your HR during the workout.
  • Calculate your target HR range:
    • Calculate your predicted HR max: [220 - your age = _________ ]
    • Calculate the four following HR's:
      • Warm-up / cool down low limit: Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.55 to get your low limit HR for the warm up.
      • Warm-up / cool down high limit: Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.65 to get your upper limit HR for the warm up.
      • Fat burning low limit: Same as your warm up high limit.
      • Fat burning high limit: Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.75 to get your upper limit HR for the fat burning intervals.
      • Fat burning boost low limit: Same as your fat burning high limit.
      • Cardio low limit: Same as fat burning high limit.
      • Cardio high limit: Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.85 to get your upper limit HR for the cardio intervals.
      • Write these 4 separate values on a piece of paper to refer to during your workout.

0-3 Minutes Warm Up

HR Target Zone = 55-65% of Predicted HR max.

Begin moving comfortably, finding a pace that allows you to reach your target zone without having to increase the incline. Try letting go of the handlebars and stabilizing your body by engaging your trunk and abdominal muscles. Use the bars for balance and to check your heart rate as needed.

3-8 Minutes Fat Burning Interval

Target HR range = 65-75% of Predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Quadriceps and Calves

Keep the incline at 0%. Begin increasing pace to keep your HR in the 65-75% range. Your breathing should be comfortable and you should be able to converse without shortness of breath. If you are having breathing difficulty, slow down until you are comfortable.

8-13 Minutes Cardio Interval

Target HR range = 75-85% of Predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Hamstrings and Quadriceps

Raise the incline to 2%. Increase your pace to bring your HR into the target range. If your heart rate drifts too high reduce the pace to re-enter the appropriate range.

13-16 Minutes Fat Burning Interval

Target HR range = 65-75% of predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Quadriceps and Calves

Reduce the incline to 0%. Adjust your pace until you are able to stay in your HR range. With time, you will be going faster at lower heart rates. It may take days or weeks to achieve this fitness improvement.

16-21 Minutes Cardio Interval

Target HR range = 75-85% of Predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Gluteal

Increase the incline to 4%. Adjust your speed to maintain your HR in the target range. If your heart rate drifts too high, reduce your pace.

21-24 Minutes Fat Burning Interval

Target HR range = 65-75% of Predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Quadriceps and Hamstrings

Reduce the incline to 2%. Adjust your pace until you are able to stay in your HR range.

24-29 Minutes Cardio Interval

Target HR range = 75-85%of Predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Quadriceps and Calves

Lower the incline to 0%. Adjust your speed to remain the target range. If your heart rate drifts too high, reduce your speed.

29-32 Minutes Fat Burning Interval

Target HR range = 65-75% of Predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Calves and Quadriceps

Leave the incline at 0%. Reduce your speed until you reach the target range.

32-37 Minutes Cardio Interval

Target HR range = 75-85% of Predicted HR max.

Target Muscle Group = Variable

Choose an incline that is comfortable. Adjust your pace to remain within the target range. If your heart rate drifts too high, then slow your speed.

37-40 Minutes Cool Down

HR Target Zone = 55-65% of Predicted HR max.

Lower incline to 0%. Reduce your speed to bring your HR to the target range. Note how long it takes you to reach the target range. With improvements in your fitness, your HR will lower more quickly with reduction in exercise intensity. Continue the cool down until your HR has remained within the target range for a minimum of 1 minute.

Congratulations! You are strengthening your heart muscle, reducing cardiac risk, improving your fitness and speeding up your exercise metabolic rate!

Program developed in conjunction with Emily Cooper M.D. from Seattle Performance Medicine.