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New cardio style already yielding excellent results.

Friday, February 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

I'm putting this guy to work.

I'm putting this guy to work.

I am really enjoying the challenge of the extended medium-high intensity cardio sessions I’ve been doing lately. There’s no substitute for real mountain biking, but I feel this style of cardio is the closest indoor facsimile to the workout I get out on the trails. I did another one of these cardio sessions yesterday, and I’ve already noticed some nice improvements.

For yesterday’s workout I performed 45 minutes of cardio as follows:

  • I never let my heart rate get below 160 BPM (83% of my maximum heart rate).
  • I simulated tough hills by frequently bumping up the bike’s magnetic resistance level to the maximum setting.
  • I maxed my heart rate (193 BPM) 8 or 9 times over the course of the ride.
  • I rode several 2-3 minute stretches with my heart rate in the upper 170s/lower 180s.

When I finished my ride I reviewed the data on my bike and on my Timex Ironman heart rate monitor and was very happy with what I saw: I rode 45 minutes, my average heart rate was 167 BPM, my maximum heart rate was 193 BPM, I covered 14.2 miles with an average speed of 18.93 MPH and I burned more than 1,000 calories. The cool thing is that about a week ago I did a similar workout but only covered 14.1 miles with an average heart rate of 171 BPM and I burned fewer calories. So yesterday I rode faster, I rode further and my heart didn’t have to work as hard to do it. These are the kind of improvements to my cardio that get me excited because they translate to better health and better performance on the trails.

I’ve done countless HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low Intensity Steady-State) cardio sessions over the past 8 years, but these extended medium/high intensity cardio workouts are brand new to me. I started doing this new style of training on a whim last week, and I’m really glad that I did. I’m going to continue doing a mix of all three types of cardio along with (of course!) plenty of actual trail time.

I should note that I would never perform this kind of cardio in a fasted state: I always have at least two protein + carbohydrate meals in me. I also supplement with BCAAs about 15 minutes before my workout, and immediately after my workout I down a protein + fat shake (Nitrean + natural peanut butter).

The weather is looking good for the weekend, and I’m going to be out on the trails a lot. I was not able to go last weekend because of the back injury I aggravated last Friday, but my back is feeling 100% this morning. I’m very excited to see the how the cardio improvements I’ve made over the past two weeks translate to my mountain biking performance.

And, speaking of my back, today is back day. I know I need to avoid deadlifts until we figure out what the problem with my lower back is, but I have to admit I’m tempted to do them (maybe with a little less weight). Not being able to deadlift is a serious downer for me. I hope we can get this problem with my lower back sorted so I can get back to pulling very soon.

John Stone Fitness Comments

3 Responses to “New cardio style already yielding excellent results.”
  1. Very hard to simulate mountsin biking in a cardio workout but what you are doing is as close as you can get. Do you ever where your HR when you ride? What kind of calorie burn do you get? I’ve never really looked at the formulas for calories burned but different manufacturers of HR monitors seem to be all over the place. I have a polar for workouts and a garmin for my bikes, both seem to be pretty consistent in calculating the burn. At max effort I get about 11-13 calories per minute. Looks like you are getting double that. My sister in law bought some off brand HR monitor and couldnt figure out why she wasnt losing weight, she said “I’m burning close to 3000 calories a day in my workouts” Come to find out her HR monitor was giving her that stat for a 45 minute workout where her HR was in the 120’s!

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    • I don’t put much stock in the calories burned reading on my HR monitor. What I do take note of, however, is the relative number of calories from one session to the next. I worked my ass off in yesterday’s cardio, and I was a sweaty mess when I finished, but I seriously doubt I burned 1,000 calories. Probably more like half that.

      I have never wore my HR monitor while MTB before, but that’s because my polar broke like a year ago and I only recently got around to replacing it with the new Timex Ironman. I’m going to wear it this weekend out on the trails for sure. I can’t wait to see the stats! 🙂

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