Different Cardio..

  • Last couple of cardio days havent been my best.  I'm into my BFL 4 weeks now.   I pretty much do the elliptical for my cardio.   But between LBWO and cardio my legs are just dying..   What are some other good cardios that I can do in the house that maybe dont rely so much on legs as the elip or treadmill do?

  • dburg30 -

    Congratulations for getting to week 4!  How much tension do you have your elliptical set on?  I try to keep my tension fairly low so that I can work more on my speed to get my heart up.  Cardio is all about the heart and lungs, not the legs, so maybe you have it set too high.  During my HIIT, I never increase the tension, only the speed as I increase intensity.

    Alternative forms of exercise could include jumping rope, climbing stairs (well... that would be hard on the legs, too), jumping jacks.

    I'm sure others will chime in here, too.  I pretty much rely on the elliptical and treadmill, but I always warm-up, then STRETCH, before I do my HIIT.

    BFL has done wonders for my legs.  I have never run a day in my life until last summer.  I firmly believe the LBWO's gave me the strength to start running.  

    You are doing great!

    Laurie, 2010 Body-for-Life Champion 46+

    Never underestimate your power to change.

  • Do you have a jump rope?

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • Laurie- can you give an example of your HIIT!  Your speeds???


    Jumprope is a good idea!  I usually run or do elliptical!  My brain is having a hard time thinking of  HIIT style cardio that is easy on the legs.  


  • Try cycling on a low resistance and concentrate on speed. Less weight bearing down on your legs.  

    Also someone posted a thread on the rowing machine which I really want to try.

    Can I also emphasize stretching before and after a workout.  It really does work wonders and takes the tension out of your muscles.  Other than that - no pain no gain! Push through it!

  • Perhaps the tension is set too high.  But when I try less, it just seems like I do try to go faster, but my heart rate doesnt seem to want to get up there like with higher levels..  And going faster, even with less tension, my legs just seem to get tired faster lol.  

    No I dont have a jump rope, and in my old house dont know where I could do it without shaking 1/2 the house down lol..  Warm weather will make this easier as I will get outside more and while still tiring to the legs, it will be 'different'  so hopefully 'easier' to work thru.  

  • If you don't have the ability to go to the gym, I'd recommend getting a kickboxing video.   Those can be very intense carido workouts!

  • LDPower (Hi Laurie - love the way you spell your name):

    I have just started a new challenge (my last one was last summer); a typical HIIT would be something like this:

    I have a LifeFitness Elliptical which has 12 tension levels; I have it on level 5 (C1 was level 3, C2 was level 4, C3 level 4-5).

    2 minutes warm-up around 65-70 rpm

    1 min ~ 75 rpm

    1 min ~ 78

    1 min ~ 81

    1 min ~ 85

    Repeat 3 times

    On the last sequence, go that extra minute ~90 rpm

    I wear a HR monitor.  I like for my HR to get into the 170's at the end (I'm 48 yrs old).

    Depending on how it goes, I may increase the tension to level 6 toward the end of the challenge but I prefer to use speed to get my HR up.

    I do warm-up then stretch before doing HIIT (or lifting).  I also stay on the elliptical a few extra minutes to get my HR back down under 130 before I stretch afterward.

    All ellipticals are calibrated differently so I think it's a good idea to monitor your HR.

    Hope that helps!

    Laurie, 2010 Body-for-Life Champion 46+

    Never underestimate your power to change.

  • I've been doing my cardio workouts exclusively on the elliptical, and last night I too just seemed to hit a wall. I have been modifying the tension and RPM level as needed, but using HR as the relative measure of intensity.

    I'm age 46 and am in week 6 of my first challenge, so using the standard 220-age I fgure Max HR at about 175, so 90% at 156.

    What I have been doing for the first 5 weeks is trying to get HR into the following zones, targeting +/- 2 BPM.

    2 Mins Warmup - Goal of getting to ~135  BPM

    1 Min - 140 BPM

    1 Min - 145 BPM

    1 Min - 150 BPM

    1 Min - 155 BPM

    Repeat 3x, using the first minute of each repeat to bring HR down to 140-145

    On the last sequence, I do the last minute at up to 160 BPM, and then warm down until HR is below 130.

    Not sure if it's a function of increased cardio capacity or something else (me feeling sluggish?), but I'm feeling like I have to work much harder to get to target HR for each minute than I did a couple of weeks ago.

    I'm planning to go elliptical again on Thursday, but if same result maybe I'll try changing up the exercise to see if doing something different will ramp things up a bit.

  • Barbotus -

    Have you checked your resting HR lately?  Perhaps it's going down (yay!) but making it harder to get up to where you want it.

    Those target HR's look awesome for someone in their first challenge.  Of course I don't know what your fitness level was before you started and if you checked with your doctor before starting this.

    The "220 minus our age" is a pretty arbitrary formula for calculating your target.  There are so many factors that could alter that.... especially how long and hard you've been doing cardio.  In theory, my heart should've exploded a long time ago because I often go past my "maximum".... but I don't keep it up there long.  I think that formula is more useful for people doing steady-state cardio, moreso than intervals.

    Also.... I find that in every challenge (this is my fourth one), I have a week or two that I am VERY fatigued and having a hard time keeping the intensity up (it usually hits me around week 8-9).  

    It's always a good idea to change things up though.  I'll be anxious to hear how the rest of your week goes.  Be sure you're getting enough sleep.

    Laurie, 2010 Body-for-Life Champion 46+

    Never underestimate your power to change.

  • Yea,  Barbotus, that's exactly what I'm running into.. My HR just isnt getting up there with lower resistance, but my legs just want to kill me if I try 'fast' low resistance, or 'slower' high resistance.  I'll try varying some things.  I'll find something that works.  

  • @Lady Georgia, I bet the sleep thing could be part of it.  I havent been staying up late, but there were a couple of days I didnt get to sleep as early as I wanted / had been.  I bet that could be part of it..

  • BOXING ALL THE WAY!!  You will be shocked how much this gets your heart rate up.. If you have a speed bag or punching bag they help a lot.. but you can also just picture punching someone or something you don't like, and this helps to :}  Remember, the higher you raise your arms, the more your heart rate goes up... USE YOUR ARMS... believe it or not.. your heart will be pumping, and you'll be out of breath!!

  • dburg30

    Perhaps your problem isn't about what your doing. Maybe it's about what your NOT doing. Are you getting enough restful sleep. Are you eating enough protein, low glycemic carbs and good fats. Are you drinking enough water. If you are doing all of the above, you should not be struggling with tired legs. The recovery time under the BFL program is sufficient. Your workouts should actually be getting easier. The reason why you need to step it up weekly or so.

    Is there a chance you have a bug or virus? What about stress, are you currently dealing with a stressful situation?

    I hope you discover the root to your problem. I just said a prayer for you.


  • Chiz,

    I'm gonna go with restful sleep as part of the problem.  Got involved in a project and have been staying up longer then normal.   I've upped my protein as it appears it may have been a little low.  As far as stress goes, with the way our companies business or lack thereof is, it's just a new 'normal' but yea, there is some extra stress there.   I'm betting on the sleep thing though.   Last couple of nights I've hit the bed earlier, so we'll see what tomorrows cardio brings!!

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement!   I'm just glad I found this 'program' that actually makes sense as opposed to things that just arent able to be sustained.   If nothing else just my eating will add years to my life, add in the exercise and that's just an added bonus ;)