Here we are, stepping out of the holiday season and maybe carrying a few extra pounds or inches. It’s easy to get distracted from our exercise routines, especially during this time of year. Here is a way to tune up your body, get rid of extra pounds, strengthen and tone, one week at a time with my “Six Week Exercise Tune Up”.
This first week we will focus on cardio. There are many forms of cardio but I’m going to use the treadmill for the example in this workout. I recommend that you do the cardio sessions three times per week. In the coming weeks you will be supplementing them with strength, resistance, and flexibility exercises. This program is a map and any part can be modified using intensity and time spent exercising.
There are two basic forms of cardio workouts; steady state using heart rate parameters, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). By combining these we can develop a cardio routine that will burn calories and fat.
Workout 1 Cardio – The steady state walk (30 Minutes) Steady state cardio offers a low impact workout that builds muscle mass and protects your joints. In steady state you want to achieve “the fat-burning zone.” This zone is determined by your heart rate which for most people is 65% of your maximum heart rate. During this zone your body is burning fat and not depending on sugar for energy.
•Begin by warming up on the treadmill or on any cardio equipment for three minutes of moderate walking.
•Start walking faster. Your incline is at 2 and your speed is between 2.5 – 3 mph. Continue for 5 minutes.
•Begin to push yourself by raising the incline to 3 or 4. Increase your speed to 3-4 mph. This is steady state and the point for most healthy adults to remain in for the rest of the walk. Stay here for apx. 20 minutes.
•Lower your incline gradually and reduce your speed for a 2 minute cool-down.
Workout 2 Cardio – HIIT (15-20 minutes) HIIT workouts will push you to your optimal level of training. These workouts consists of periods of hard intervals with short recovery. HIIT will burn lots of calories fast, but remember fat and calories are not the same thing. HIIT is shorter than a steady state walk and fits in well for a tight schedule. These walks will continue to boost your metabolic rate for a short time even when you are at rest. You can make this workout whatever length of time you like. I am using 20 minutes in this example.
•Begin by warming up on the treadmill or on any cardio equipment for 3 minutes moderately and low incline. Total time 3 min.
•Walk for 2 minutes, (let’s call this phase 1). Increase your incline by 3 levels, which means if you are at a level 1 then increase to a level 4. Also increase your speed by approximately .5 mph. Total time 5 min.
•Walk for 2 minutes (let’s call this phase 2). Keep your incline at the same level put pick up the speed so you are walking as fast as you can, safely. Total time 7 min.
•Walk for 1 minute going back to level 1. Total time 8 min.
•Walk for 2 minutes. Walk briskly and increase your incline by several levels (let’s call this phase 3). This will be up to your individual fitness level. Total time 10 min.
•Walk for 1 minute at phase 1. Total time 11 min.
•Walk for 2 minutes at phase 2. Total time 13 min.
•Walk for 1 minute at phase 1. Total time 14 min.
•Walk for 2 minutes at phase 3. Total time 17 min.
•Walk for 2 minutes at the maximum incline and speed that you can safely. Total time 19 min.
•Start slowing down and decreasing the incline. Walk moderately for 1 – 3 minutes. Total time apx. 20 min.
Accompany each workout with gentle stretching as part of your cool down.
•During week one do two days of Workout 1 and one day of Workout 2.
•Switch out the next week doing two days of HIIT and one day of Steady State. Keep these patterns going for as long as you like. I do not recommend doing three HIIT workouts in the same week as the body needs time to recover.
Always check with a medical professional before starting this or any exercise routine. Be healthy, be happy!
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