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Beginner Level Fat Burning and Aerobic Base 1 Building - Treadmill

This workout is a great place to begin to develop your aerobic fitness and to train your body to burn fat during your workouts. This workout emphasizes lower levels of intensity to achieve maximum fat burning. A benefit of doing this workout is that you will begin to build a base of aerobic fitness and endurance which will enable you to take on more challenging workouts in the future. If you have not participated in a regular exercise program before, this is an ideal place to start.

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 comfortable using the treadmill.

The beginner fat burning program will help you to achieve the greatest rate of fat burning which will improve over time with the use of the intermediate and advanced fat burning workouts. It works by maintaining a relatively low intensity in order to allow the muscles to obtain plenty of oxygen from the circulation for optimal fat burning. By improving the fat burning capacity at low intensity, you will be able to burn fat at higher intensities as your exercise program progresses over a six month period.

In addition to increasing fat burning in the muscles, this workout also serves as a foundation for the aerobic base that you will strengthen further through cardio conditioning training at a later point in your fitness program.

Prior Experience:

Prior Exercise Experience: Sedentary lifestyle or leisure exercise only. Good workout for beginning exercisers.

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

Workout Details:

Precor Machine: Any Precor Treadmill

Workout Duration: 20 minutes

Frequency: 4 days per week

Number of Weeks until Advancement from this Phase: Completion of 2 weeks of consistent workouts 4 days per week.

Next Recommended Workout Type: Intermediate fat burning.

Program: Manual

Intensity Level: 65-75% of predicted HR max. This workout should feel fairly easy (8-10 on the modified Borg scale). Warm up and cool down should always be 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.
      • Write these 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 with the treadmill at 0% incline, finding a pace that allows you to reach your target zone. Let go of the handgrips and stabilize your body by engaging your trunk and abdominal muscles. Let your arms and hips move in a normal walking fashion while picking a point ahead to focus on until you are comfortable with the moving belt of the treadmill. Use the bars for balance and to check your heart rate as needed.

3-7 Minutes Fat Burning Interval

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

Target Muscle Group = Quadriceps and Calves

Keep the incline at 0%. Begin increasing your speed 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.

7-12 Minutes Fat Burning Interval

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

Target Muscle Group = Gluteal

Raise the incline to 4% and slow the pace until you are able to stay in your HR range. It's important to have patience to allow your body and your heart to adapt to the exercise. With every 5th workout, you should notice that you can increase your pace at the same incline without exceeding your target HR range.

12-17 Minutes Fat Burning Interval

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

Target Muscle Group = Hamstring, Quadriceps and Calves

Reduce the incline to 2% and increase your pace to allow you to remain in the target range. With time you will be going faster at lower HR's. It may take days or weeks to achieve this fitness improvement. If you notice that your HR is creeping up as you exercise and is not stabilizing, it may be due to de-conditioning, inadequate hydration or low blood sugar levels. Try consuming a sports drink to see if that helps.

17-20 Minutes Cool Down

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

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

Congratulations! You have taken an important step in training your muscles to burn fat more efficiently!

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