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Advanced cardiovascular conditioning.

Monday, January 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

My Schwinn 231 Recumbent Bike

My Schwinn 231 Recumbent Bike

Yesterday was a cardio day, and my original plan was to go mountain biking. Unfortunately Loki seemed to be feeling a little off, so I decided to stay home and do my cardio in my home gym so I could keep an eye on him (turns out Loki is perfectly fine, BTW).

For my cardio so far on this cut I’ve done a mix of fasted 45-70 minute Low Intensity Steady-State (LISS) sessions, short (but very intense) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions and, of course, lots of mountain biking. Yesterday I decided to incorporate a fourth style of cardio: 60 minutes medium-high intensity riding on my recumbent bike. These medium-high intensity cardio sessions have proven to be very effective for cardiovascular training.

I started doing doing extended medium-high intensity cardio sessions during last year’s cut because I was looking for an indoor method of approximating the cardiovascular rigors that I experience out on the trails. The basic idea is to keep my heart rate above 170 BPM (about 87% of my maximum heart rate) at all times, finish with an average heart rate of at least 175 BPM (~90% of my maximum), and hit my maximum heart rate (196 BPM) at least five times. To simulate different terrain I manually vary the resistance level of the bike while I’m riding (my bike has some good pre-programmed courses, but I prefer to make up my own as I ride).

By the way, my recumbent bike is the model 231 by Schwinn, but it’s no longer available. The replacement model is the Schwinn 240, and it offers several improvements over model 231. Since 2003 I’ve owned a lot of cardio equipment, but the Schwinn is the only piece of equipment that’s held up over the years. My bike is still going strong after hundreds of hours of heavy use, and it still performs as well as the day I bought it. The newest model (Schwinn 240) sells for a little over $400 bucks (with free shipping), and that is an incredible bargain for such a well-built machine. If you’re in the market for a nice recumbent that will last for many years and won’t break the bank, the Schwinn recumbent bikes offer excellent bang for the buck.

Getting back to yesterday’s cardio workout, it was a killer! By the end of the hour I was drenched in sweat and absolutely exhausted. I had to fight through the strong urge to stop at 45 minutes (I really wanted to).

If you want to give this type of cardio a try, I have a few suggestions:

– Don’t even think about attempting this kind of cardio unless you’re already in very good shape.
– Check with your doctor if you have even the smallest doubt that you might not be ready for this kind of workout.
– Stop if you feel dizzy, light-headed or are experiencing chest pains.
– Never do this kind of cardio in a fasted state. I like to have at least one protein + carb meal in me before doing any kind of intense cardio.
– Wait at least an hour after eating before doing this style of cardio (or have a bucket, a mop and a bottle of Lysol at the ready).
– I always consume a couple scoops of BCAAs about 15 minutes before any type of intense cardio.
– Start with shorter sessions and work your way up if you’re not used to having your heart rate very high over extended periods of time.
– Wear a heart rate monitor (I use and recommend the Timex Ironman).
– Don’t be a wuss. It’s going to hurt, and it won’t be fun.

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John Stone Fitness Comments

5 Responses to “Advanced cardiovascular conditioning.”
  1. Good to hear Loki is OK. Seeing your setup with the bike in front of the TV makes me think of the Sufferfest videos I do later in the spring to get ready for mountain biking. I do them on my road bike on a fluid trainer but I’m sure they would work on a recumbent. They are inexpensive and you can download them directly to you computer and burn them to DVD or put them on an ipod. These are by far the hardest cycling intervals I’ve ever done.

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    • Wow, I checked out some of the videos and programs – those look killer! I wonder how those would look up in the theater? 😀

      Funny you should mention trainers, I’ve had my eye on the Kinetic for a while now. I think a trainer would be way better than my recumbent.

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      • I have Kinetic, great product. Make sure you get a front wheel stand as well. You might want to get a slick tire for the rear of your MTB, knobbies feel weird on a roller.

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