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How Do You Determine Training Intensity?


Apr 30, 2013

Kiley Schoenfelder

What is cardio? To some it may mean swinging back and forth on an Arc Trainer with zero resistance while reading a book, and for others, gut-wrenching hill sprints followed by kettle bell swings.

Regardless of what cardio means to you, I suppose either answer could potentially be the proper workout. But before you hop on a gadget and hit quick start, take a few things into consideration: your current fitness level (not your level 15 years ago when you were the starting quarterback), any injuries or health concerns, and your personal fitness goals.  

I really believe the best way to find out if a particular workout is right for you is to use a heart rate monitor as a guide. Polar is my fave but anything will do. I always suggest Amazon or Heart Rate Monitors.com for a basic monitor at the best price. Each monitor includes a guide to get you started (be sure to check with your doctor if you have any special needs).

Here's where the controversy comes in: Many avid gym goers believe in little to no cardio. If I have to choose sides, I'd say I am one of them. But that doesn't mean I don't believe in getting my heart pumping during a workout. My heart rate monitor helps me to see where my heart rate is after I sprint 1,000 meters on the rowing machine, complete 30 squat jumps, run five flights of stairs, or walk five minutes at the steepest incline I can on a treadmill without holding on.  

That's my kind of cardio. I enjoy adding it to my weight lifting routine or simply using it as a quick interval workout by itself without the weights. My heart rate monitor tells me right where I am while I am performing each exercise and also lets me know if I am too high or low for my own specific heart rate goal.  

The other day I watched a video about fat burning by famous strength coach Mike Boyle.  He states, "True, you burn a higher percentage of fat at a lower intensity. However, this is a greater percentage of a smaller number. Higher intensity exercise burns more calories and MORE total fat calories." 

In a perfect world I believe we would all burn calories most efficiently by working out at higher intensities. But not everyone is ready and able to do so. I suggest using a heart rate monitor to measure your progress and start slow. If jumping or running isn't an option for you, don't worry. Try non-impact intervals such as 30-second stationary bike sprints or rowing.  Little by little you will start to notice your heart getting stronger and your intervals getting tougher.  

Get online and order a heart rate monitor.  Take your fitness to a whole new level.  

(new York City-based fitness instructor Kiley Schoenfelder was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8. She operates her own independent fitness company, K FIT NYC. Kiley holds two certificates from the National Academy of Sports Medicine: Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer.)


Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, Diabetic, Exercise, Exercise and Workout Routines, Heart Rates



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