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How To Plan a Cardio Schedule

How To Plan a Cardio Schedule

How many times have you heard someone say “I don’t have time to exercise”? Historically, this phrase has been commonplace as an excuse, given commuting times, family obligations, after work soirées and fixed gym timetables. We’ve heard so many people say it over the years but since Covid in particular, the world of home exercising has opened up in a way that is slowly being accepted as the new norm. In short, when it comes to exercise, “you don’t have time not to (exercise)”. *

All forms of exercise, including cardio, can be incorporated into your daily schedule at any time of day and to suit you. There are limited excuses for not exercising indoors, even if it is pouring with rain. Home fitness equipment, weights and fat burning exercises can be done in front of the TV as you watch the rain pelt down.

So where do you start?

What is Your Goal?

Before you start any task, it is always sensible to think about the end goal? What do you want out of your cardio schedule? Whilst you don’t need to put too much pressure on yourself, be realistic about your daily activities, energy levels, health challenges you might have and eating patterns etc?

Weight Loss

When starting out or just for health and weight management purposes, always make sure you have eaten at least an hour or so before you do cardio and ensure you are hydrated, or you may get a headache. Some more advanced gym bunnies might advocate fasting cardio to lose weight – we wouldn’t advocate this approach for novices unless you are under professional supervision. 

The fat burning process is a science but fundamentally you need to decrease your input of food and increase your output of activity but don’t starve yourself, and don’t think you are going to turn into The Rock Dwayne Johnson - Wikipedia after half an hour of training. 

Aerobic Performance

Finding the right type of cardio activity for aerobic performance will also depend on you and getting the right fit. If you have issues with your joints or knees, best to consider low impact aerobic workouts versus running on a treadmill, for example.

You can still get your heart pumping on an exercise bike, air rower or cross trainer, you simply put less pressure on your joints than running on a treadmill. If you like to do old-skool aerobics’ classes or Zumba via Zoom or online, these are fun workouts to music that can also burn calories and increase your cardio function – just in a different way.

If you are keen to improve your heart health, you can also wear a heart monitor and get a bit geeky with the sums via a heart health calculation tool. Before you start your cardio health journey though, why not work out your heart age, as defined by our friends at the British Heart Foundation What's your heart age? - use this tool before your Health Check (bhf.org.uk).

Health & Wellbeing

Cardio improvement can only but help to improve your health and wellbeing; from losing a few inches around the waist to powering up your immune system as we go into Autumn and Winter. Not only that, but any form of exercise will start to release feel-good endorphins and help to boost your mental and emotional health, which is slightly addictive in itself.

As your confidence increases and when you start to look and feel just that little bit ‘better’, you may start to review what (and how much) you eat and when, as well as the amount of alcohol you consume or the number of Netflix box-sets you binge per week. Roger’s mantra is “to just keep moving” – it doesn’t have to be record-breaking but keep the body working and blood supply pumping in a way that works for you and your body.

Best Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss

So when it comes to the best cardio exercises for weight loss, these can vary in terms of ‘what’ to do: from running on a treadmill, to skipping, lifting weights or doing burpees in the living room. The trick is to keep surprising your body and don’t become complacent or bored with one fixed workout.

Short bursts of exercise can be just as ‘effective’ as hours on a cardio machine. Most home fitness equipment will have pre-programmed fat burning options – these will normally include mixing up high reps/RPM activity, with more intense levels of training.

On a treadmill, your speed might increase, as might the incline on the belt. On a cross trainer, your training level might vary during your workout and you should notice the difference of intensity, regardless. Conversely, any weights-associated cardio workout should be followed in a sensible way – do not assume that fast = effective. You could actually do yourself physical harm. If you are a Joe Wicks’ fan, make sure you exercise on a non-slip surface before you start jumping around on the carpet.

How Often Should I Do Cardio Each Week?

In terms of workout frequency, this depends on you and your specific goal. If your doctor has told you that you need to lose weight and get your blood pressure down, it is more sensible to do a little exercise and often rather than ‘panic-exercising’ by going hammer and tongs and ending up in a heap on the floor. You should also consider mixing up your cardio with strength training – you don’t need heavy weights.

How Long Should You Do Cardio Each Day?

The NHS offers average guidance of doing 20 to 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day. This could be a brisk walk outside to varied use of your home exercise bike. Mixing up your exercise schedule is not only good for your body but also your brain as it keeps you alert to new experiences, knowledge and concentration.

Everyone at Roger Black Fitness genuinely believes that exercise, cardio or otherwise, is a key driver when it comes to living your optimum life and helping you to become the best version of yourself possible. It doesn’t have to be competitive; it doesn’t have to be ‘Instagrammable’ but it does have to be enjoyable and fit in with your everyday lifestyle. As our strapline states “home fitness for every body” - so what are you waiting for?

Best of luck and if you have any questions for Roger and the team, please email hello@rogerblackfitness.com

For more information on home cardio workouts, visit https://www.livestrong.com/quick-workouts/ or 10-minute home cardio workout - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

*Source: www.sparkpeople.com

You should seek medical advice prior to working out on a cardio machine. Always unplug your home fitness equipment after use and remove cables and trip hazards to keep your home or work environment safe. Children should be supervised during fitness equipment use

5 Cardio Tips for Beginners

5 Cardio Tips for Beginners

The internet, particularly Google and youtube.com have revolutionised how we research and learn. However, on the flipside, too much information can make informed decisions really difficult and confusing, particularly when it comes to cardio fitness workouts for beginners and where to start.

Buying a piece of home fitness equipment or joining a gym are major purchases, not just financially but also as emotional investments. Both represent a form of investing in self and when and if not used or lapsed, can lead to all sorts of ingrained guilt and self-imposed belief systems. So where do you start on your cardio journey and how can you stay motivated?

Experiment with Different Machines

Regardless of whether you have exercised before or not, try before you buy. If you aren’t sure what product is best for you, write an initial check list of ‘must-haves’ (eg in terms of a maximum budget and if you have limited space). If friends and family don’t already have a particular machine to try, you can always get a day pass at a gym. You may even decide that you prefer to work out in a gym and would rather use their choice of machines, even as a short-term solution. 

During your visit, you can and should ask their fitness experts for a show-round so you get a clearer picture of what might be best for you. Just remember not to overdo it, and definitely don’t use a machine without knowing how it works, particularly if you haven’t exercised for a while or if it is a cold or damp day and you suffer with your joints.

Keep It Short

To avoid injury and to be sensible, build up your workouts on a gradual basis. Long workouts can also become boring if they aren’t varied, once you have built up your fitness levels and ability. Always allow five minutes plus to warm up and another five minutes to cool down and also include a stretching session. 

Never feel like you need to be running or pedalling for the sake of showing off or competition. You can easily burn calories during shorter sessions – it all depends on your goals, weight and ability. Your cardio programme is exclusive to you and will and should evolve over time.

Include a Warmup and Cooldown

When it comes to your warm up and cool down, some machines have pre-programmed options for a cardio workout but even if they don’t, make sure you warm up and cool down your muscles before and after any form of exercise. 

Even if you are doing an exercise bike workout for your legs, ensure that you warm up your upper body as well. The NHS website has an easy-to-navigate guide to warming up, including marching on the spot, heel digs, knee lifts, shoulder rolls and knee bends. You can also adapt a workout plan to accommodate any injuries or health limitations.

Always Progressively Overload Each Workout

You may find it helpful to follow a fitness programme such as ‘Couch to 5k’ or one of the many programmes available in person or online. Bottom line, you should build up gradually and set some goals and markers along the way; not just to motivate you but also to ensure that you are accountable to yourself.

If you do too much too soon, you might seriously injure yourself so be sensible and don’t expect to see or feel results overnight. When Roger Black was training for an Olympics or a major sporting competition, he didn’t go from zero to Olympian overnight. It took years of consistency and focus. Be patient with yourself.

Find a Workout Partner

If you tend to get bored working out on your own or thrive on a bit of healthy competitive spirit, try and find a workout buddy. This could be someone you know or a new friend or work colleague that you find through a local Facebook.com group or similar.

Finding like-minded people, who may be embarking upon a similar journey to your own, can be invigorating and help to put a little spring in your step. Plus, most people working out at home are exercising alone so we would always encourage you to share your stories and progress with a friend or family member.

Let’s face it, the last year and a half has taken its toll on all of us in different ways. So make a decision and take action to start and take your cardio fitness to the next level, either alone or with a partner. Best of luck and if you have any questions, please email us at hello@rogerblackfitness.com

*You should seek medical advice prior to working out on a cardio machine. Always unplug your home fitness equipment after use and remove cables and trip hazards to keep your home or work environment safe. Children should be supervised during fitness equipment use.

What Is The Best Cardio Machine to Use?

What Is The Best Cardio Machine to Use?

By way of a ‘factoid alert’, the first cardio machines were first introduced as far back as 1875 although the first commercial machine was introduced in the 50’s by an American doctor called Robert A. Bruce - Wikipedia for stress testing his patients. This, in turn, inspired businesses to consider consumer-based opportunities to sell.

Roll forward to 2021, and whilst technology and manufacturing may have come along leaps and bounds since the 1950’s, the whole premise and purpose of cardio machines is still pretty much the same: to improve fitness, strength, stress relief, weight or fat loss and heart health. 

So where do you start and how do you decide which product is right for you? Here is an introductory guide to some of the machines available, as well as where you can buy them.

Treadmills

Buying a treadmill can be an ideal, year-round solution for a decent run, jog or walk, particularly if the British weather is living up to its reputation. However, and particularly if you are new to exercise, ask yourself if you actually enjoy running or jogging and also whether you have any health or joint issues to consider before you buy.

Why are Treadmills so Good?

If you think that a treadmill is for you or at least if it is on your shortlist, they can definitely help with a weight or fat loss programme, if coupled with the correct diet advice. As with any sort of fitness routine, a decent run can release some feel-good endorphins and allow some proper ‘me’ time during your day. Just put on that playlist and get into the zone.

Where to Buy a Treadmill 

In terms of where you can buy a treadmill, many brands sell online although, subject to Covid-19 rulings, you can also try out a treadmill in a showroom or department store. Another good option is to visit an event or exhibition such as The National Running Show South www.nationalrunningshow.com and to ‘try before you buy’. Exhibitors normally offer discounts during show days as well as incentives to buy.

How Many Calories Do you Burn on a Treadmill?

When considering the benefits of buying a treadmill, focusing solely on calories is not always best practice as how many calories you burn will depend on your weight, cardio function, whether your calorie intake is less than your output and the consistency of your workouts. Weight and fat loss should be gradual and sustainable. According to www.Livestrong.com, someone who weighs 155 pounds (just over 11 stone) and who runs at a 12-minute/mile pace, can burn just under 300 calories in 30 minutes, whereas someone who weighs 185 pounds (just over 13 stone) can burn over 350 calories.

Cross Trainers

Cross trainers, also known as elliptical machines, are also included within the cardio machine category and readily available to buy online or in-store. They are a great choice of machine if you have joint issues or don’t enjoy running, jogging or walking. Depending on whether the machine has moveable arms or not, you do need to get used to the movement pattern, akin to cross-country skiing and to focus on your concentration as you find your stride.

What are the benefits of using a cross trainer?

For a comprehensive insight into cross trainers, Roger Black Fitness has a more in-depth blog about the benefits here. By way of summary, a cross trainer is an effective way to lose weight or fat, as well as to ensure you get an upper and lower body workout, without over-impacting your joints. A cross trainer is also a sensible choice if you suffer with knee or back problems, as the pedals move whilst you remain upright.

How many calories do you burn on a cross trainer?

As with any piece of cardio equipment, a precise definition depends on other factors, including diet, weight and the choice or intensity of your cross trainer programme. If you buy a pre-programmed machine, there is normally a calorie burning option, as well as fat loss or interval training. Your machine will usually show you how many calories you are burning so as your fitness improves, you can up your game over time. According to www.caloriesburnedhq.com, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine will allow you to burn between 170 and 320 calories.  

Rowing Machines

For many, when you think of cardio machines for weight loss, an air rower might not seem like the obvious choice, yet it is one of the most effective ways to burn calories and get the blood flowing. If you prefer or need to stay seated while working out, rowing machines offer a great arm, chest and back workout and still help to tone and strengthen the legs and lower back, in a low impact way.

What is a rowing machine good for?

A rowing machine mimics the motion of rowing on the water without having to worry about falling in the water. Indoor rowers deliver a quick solution to burn calories and fat, whilst still protecting your joints. If you are using the machine correctly (and, if in doubt, ask a personal trainer for advice), rowers are also really helpful for postural issues and to (re)build arm and back strength, particularly after injury.

How many calories do you burn on a rowing machine?

As previously, many factors need to be taken into consideration when working out calories burned although using a rower can burn a lot of calories in a relatively short space of time. If you weigh more, your body has to work harder to burn fat so you will logically burn more calories.

The intensity at which you exercise also plays a part in weight loss – rowing vigorously might be difficult, but it will help you to burn more calories in a shorter period of time. Just don’t cause yourself an injury in the process and build up gradually to a more intensified workout.

Exercise Bikes

Buying an exercise bike is another sensible option for those of you who need or prefer to be seated whilst working out, unless you go for a spinning bike, where you can stand up on the bike. Most modern folding or static bikes allow you to manually increase or decrease pedal resistance via a tension knob. You can pedal fast at a lower resistance or imagine you a climbing a hill and increase the intensity of your workout. Always remember to warm up and cool down, as with any form of exercise and try not to just ‘stop’ without slowing down, to avoid lactic acid build up in the muscles.

Where can I buy an exercise bike?

Exercise bikes for every budget are readily available to buy in-store and online, as well at lifestyle exhibitions and events. If you are on a budget, you can also look at websites like eBay for second-hand options, although bear in mind that you will probably need a product manual as well.

Before you press the ‘buy’ button, if you opt for an online purchase, check out details that might impact your choice: if you enjoy spinning, make sure you buy a bike with clips for your spinning shoes and that allow you to hover or stand when the bike is in ‘brake’ mode; if you are tall, check on the product height, particularly if it is a folding bike and if you have limited space at home, make sure you check folded product measurements. 

How many calories do you burn on an exercise bike?

As with each and every cardio product, a calorie-burning strategy depends on your current weight and existing fitness level, etc. You shouldn’t get too stressed about calories though because you can lose inches even if you weigh the same. Diet always plays a part in this topic and always seek expert advice if you have a specific goal in mind or have a more prescriptive reason to exercise. Internet research varies but the average person will burn between 450 and 750 calories per hour but as with any form of exercise, you have to reinvent your workouts and surprise the body from time to time. Endless pedalling is functional but might not achieve the results you require so make sure you vary your workouts, for mental stimulation and variety as much as anything else. Best of luck and feel free to send us an email if you have any specific questions at hello@rogerblackfitness.com

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www.rogerblackfitness.com is exhibiting for the first time at The National Running Show South between 11th and 12th September 2021, on stand J40. All visitors will be able to benefit from an exclusive Show discount of 5% on all home fitness equipment and have the chance to meet Roger in person on Saturday morning. Please email hello@rogerblackfitness.com for a FREE pair of tickets (subject to availability).