About the author: Deborah McConnell is the Training and Education Manager for Life Fitness Academy, the global training and education arm of Life Fitness.

If you usually choose Quick Start on your cardio equipment, you’re missing out on the benefits of the preprogrammed workouts. Try these workout options the next time you step on a Life Fitness cardio machine.

HIIT Workouts

If boredom or lack of time has prevented you from exercising, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is perfect for you. HIIT refers to exercise involving periods of intense exercise followed by periods of recovery that provide enhanced metabolic afterburn. When exercising at high intensities for short durations, you consume more oxygen. Elevated oxygen consumption continues to burn calories after you finish your workout. Post-workout calorie burn often lasts longer than the actual workout time, and because the body utilizes fat as the fuel to recover, body fat levels are reduced.

HIIT workouts also improve aerobic endurance in a fraction of the time compared to long duration, endurance style training. And HIIT is proven to improve anaerobic fitness levels. Having a high anaerobic capacity makes your overall functional capacity, as well as performance, much greater.

Try this training on a treadmill with the Two-Speed Interval Program. Determine a low- and high-intensity workout level—for example: 3.5 mph (low intensity) and 8.0 mph (high intensity). Then decide how long you want each interval to last, by simply toggling back and forth between the two speeds. If you want to run for 30 seconds and walk for 60 seconds, you can alternate between those two speeds by simply pressing one minute. This is a simple and safe solution while executing a HIIT workout.

Heart Rate Workouts

There are quite a few good reasons to track of your heart rate during workouts:

  • It tracks your progress. You can see how over time your heart becomes stronger and more efficient as your resting and exercise heart rate lowers after consistent cardiovascular exercise.
  • It’s a safe way to monitor your workout intensity so you can get the most out of your workout.
  • It’s easy. Life Fitness has digital heart rate sensors that are set up through telemetry and Bluetooth, making it easy to get accurate pulse readings before, during and after your workout.

Here’s a crash course. Select a workout (we recommend the Moderate Burn program for beginners). This workout keeps you at 65% of your age-predicted max heart rate for the duration of the workout. If you are more advanced, try the Vigorous Burn, which is 80% of your age-predicted max heart rate.

After you select your workout, input your age and the program automatically sets your heart rate range. After a three-minute warmup, the treadmill adjusts incline (equipment like bikes and cross-trainers adjust through added resistance) to get you in your target zone.

Changing your routine can make exercise more effective and more inviting. Give it a try and see how you can amp up your cardio workouts.

Written by Life Fitness