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Decided to try something a little different for yesterday’s cardio.

Friday, February 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Timex Ironman

Timex Ironman

On Tuesday morning I did a 45-minute fasted LISS (Low Intensity Steady-State) cardio session. I kept my heart rate at 145 BPM (about 75% of my maximum heart rate) and my breathing never changed. To say the cardio was unchallenging would be quite an understatement…

So yesterday afternoon the original plan was to do a fairly lengthy 22-minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio session. About 30 minutes before my workout I decided that I was in the mood to try a little experiment: 45 minutes of non-fasted medium intensity cardio. This idea had sort of been in the back of my mind since Tuesday’s LISS session. I really wanted to see how I handled extended riding at a higher heart rate.

I quickly got my heart rate up to 165 BPM, which is about 86% of my of my maximum heart rate (193 BPM). After about 10 minutes I started to sweat, but my breathing never changed. I could have easily carried on a phone conversation and the party on the other end never would have known I was exercising.

When I’m out on the trails and pushing the pace (which, IMO, is the only way to ride), I’m usually breathing very hard. In light of yesterday’s experiment I have to suspect that my heart rate must be at, or close to, its maximum rate pretty much constantly when I’m mountain biking. Rather than continue to speculate, I’m going to wear my heart rate monitor while I’m out on the trails this weekend.

Getting back to yesterday’s cardio session, I figured as long as I was experimenting I might as well try simulating a real bike ride. My base level of resistance is 7 (out out of 16) for pretty much all of my cardio. I began to increase the resistance at random intervals to simulate hills. This actually worked pretty well: when I put the resistance level all the way up to my bike’s maximum level, it felt very much like it feels when I’m climbing a difficult hill on my mountain bike. I had a lot of fun playing around with the resistance while I rode, and my heart rate maxed out quite a few times before I finished. My average heart rate over the entire ride was 177 BPM, and I did a little over 14 miles with an average speed of 18.8 MPH.

I thought this was an interesting and worthwhile experiment. For an indoor cardio session, it was actually pretty enjoyable! I wouldn’t do this kind of cardio in a fasted state, but with a couple solid meals and some BCAAs in me (along with proper post-workout nutrition) I don’t think muscle catabolism is going to be a problem.

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