I have trained for two half marathons, but I have never been as sore as I am from learning these different cardio workouts. This week I learned three different forms of cardio exercises at the gym. First I tried a spin class. I have never been to a spin class before. For those of you that do not know what a spin class is, don’t worry, I didn’t know what it fully entailed until I read this. A spin class is an indoor cycling class . Naively, I went into the spin class thinking that it wouldn’t be that hard. After the first few minutes, I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. I would say that a spin class is as much of a cardio class as it is a lower body exercise. It uses a form of interval training that changes intensity levels and the positioning on the bike. Throughout the class you are pedaling both on and off the seat. Although my legs were like jelly and my clothes were soaked in sweat, I enjoyed the spin class because I was in complete control of how hard I wanted to work. Unlike the programs on the treadmill I could choose how hard I wanted to challenge myself. Before attending the class, I learned how to set up a spin bike. You might think there isn’t a lot of set up involved when using a spin bike at the gym, but you have to consider the height of the seat and the handles. I watched this video to learn about how to set up the bike before going to the gym and trying it out myself. I have also posted the video of me setting up my own bike.
The other cardio machine that I used this week was the elliptical machine. As I mentioned last week, I have never actually been on an elliptical before. There are a few things I learned. An elliptical machine allows you to change the resistance by choosing an effort level. After experimenting with the effort levels, I set mine around 20 and used the elliptical for a ten minute warm-up. I also learned that the elliptical machine offers programs similar to the treadmill. As far as the difference between a treadmill and an elliptical, I noticed that the elliptical was a lot harder on my legs. However, I found that the treadmill was a better cardio workout. Personally, I found that using the treadmill better suited the needs of my cardio workout. After comparing both of these machines, I found this article that explains the difference between the two.
A high intensity interval workout is another form of cardio that I experimented with this week. A lot of at home workouts are a form of high intensity interval training. This means that it is short periods of fast paced exercises. In simple terms, it increases your heart rate quickly. The gym I attend has a program called “Fitness on Demand” which allows you to choose different programs and follow the video. I chose one that used intense interval training. I found that the workout worked on both strength training and endurance. Through this type of exercise I also learned the definition of a set and a rep. I also created my own high intensity interval workout to try at the gym. Note that each exercise was done for thirty seconds with a ten second break in between each exercise and a minute break between each round. The workout consisted of the following:
· Burpees (2 sets)
· Boxing Punches (2 sets)
· Squat Jumps (2 sets)
· Plank (2 sets)
· High Jumps (2 sets)
· Push Ups Side to Side (2 sets)
· High Knees (2 sets)
· Raised Leg Hold – left and right (2 sets – 1 set each leg)
· Squat Jumps (2 sets)
· Arm Row Push Ups (2 sets)
· Mountain Climbers (2 sets)
· Bicycle (2 sets)
Here are a few videos of parts of the high intensity interval training session (see above) that I did at the gym this week. The workout took about 30 minutes.
I would highly recommend this type of workout for someone looking for cardio exercises to burn fat. Not only does it push you to your limits, but it also builds muscle and stamina.