We have all heard the phrase, “have you done your cardio today?” This is a common term used in health clubs and by those seeking to lose weight or maintain their cardiovascular fitness levels.
Cardiovascular exercise seems to curtail confusion to a greater extent than does resistance training. This is mainly because people enjoy the simplicity of hopping onto a treadmill or an elliptical trainer and letting the built in computer format and spit out all of the results of their efforts. While this is convenient and virtually hassle-free, it has the tendency to create plateaus for those seeking to increase their aerobic capacity because of the participants tendency to focus on one thing…calories!
While calories are one way to measure progress for ones exercise session or program, it is by no means an effective means of increasing ones cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular fitness levels are contingent on two main variables, namely the intensity and duration of the exercise. To illustrate this point let us turn to a few case scenarios.
Let’s suppose that Bill and Janet are a couple that attend the gym regularly. Janet is new to the concept of exercise because she just had a baby and has been sedentary for the last five years. Bill on the other hand has been an active jogger for the better part of his life stemming from his track and field days as an undergraduate student. Bill and Janet usually run on the treadmill until they have burned 400 calories.
After they have both reached their goals they pack up for the day and head out of the gym thinking that they have both improved their aerobic fitness levels. While this might be partly true, let us look at a few factors that will show significant physiological differences between the two participants.
First, we need to realize that Bill is in much better cardiovascular shape than Janet, and this is very consequential for many reasons.
First and foremost Bills body is trained and therefore much more efficient in executing proper form such as an efficient running pattern that takes less energy from the body to perform. This along with the ability to take in and use a higher volume of oxygen will enable Bill to work at higher work intensities for a longer period of time. Higher intensity levels and longer duration will boost Bill’s metabolism higher than Janet’s for the rest of the day even though they burned the same amount of calories during their session.
However, because Bill is already conditioned he has much less potential make further improvements. Janet on the other hand has much room for improvement because she is starting from a baseline level and consequently her body is forced to make quick adaptations to adjust to the new demands that are being placed on her.
The problem lies in Janet and Bill making proper decisions about intensity, duration and program advancements at the right time. If exercise participants like Janet and Bill fail to make proper adjustments to their cardiovascular programs, they face inevitable plateau’s that can become discouraging to even the most dedicated exerciser.
How To Overcome Plateau’s
At L.L.Fitness we not only assess current fitness levels, but we will also instruct and educate employees on how to make continual improvements in cardiovascular fitness. We know that everybody is different. We are committed to quality exercise assessment that will enlighten participants on their current cardiovascular condition. Testing is performed using sub-maximal aerobic tests usually performed on a bike or a treadmill. After the results are in, the participant will be provided with a personalized aerobic exercise prescription that is completely tailored to their needs.
The prescription is easy to follow and provides the fuel to shatter almost any plateau and educate the participant regarding proper exercise duration, intensity, and other factors.
Did You Know?
Cardiovascular exercise is NOT the preferred method of your body to burn body fat? Studies clearly indicate that resistance training is primarily responsible for adding lean mass to your body that subsequently burns the bodyfat!