• Have the weight part of the work out program nailed but i have a question on the aerobics part.   Have always run, treadmill or outside or in the nice weather mountian bike.  This 20 min hit a high intensity program is a bit  hard to get my head around.  The problem is determing the different levels of intensity   How do you guys caculate one level from another?  Do you just incrase the speed every min?  Hope my question makes sense.



  • Yes, Bill, the question makes sense. It is easier for me to determine the difference when I am working on a machine where I can increase levels like it shows in the book. But the only other cardio excersize I have done outside of working machines and still doing the intervals is running. 5 for me would be walking. 6 would be fast walking. 7 would be skipping. 8 would be light jogging. 8 would be a more faster pace jogging and then 9 would be more like sprinting. Of course then a 10 would be killer for me.  For biking I would imagine that if your bke has different speeds, it would be the same thing. Start at a lower speed and keep increasing and decreasing as the book portrays it going from 5 to 9 and all over again until you reach a 10 at your 19th minute. Much success in your journey.


  • Hi,

    I had the same problem, but I decided to keep it simple and not get bogged down with thinking if I was at 7, 8, etc.  So, what I did is--I use an elliptical--I just started at resistance 5 and tried to do 150 strides per min(SPM), then resistance 6 and 160, etc up to 9 and restarted.  It felt about right, was difficult, but not impossible, so I just kept going with it.  It was a coincidence that it worked out so logically, i.e. resistance 5 = L5. I'd just keep it simple--start at a comfortable pace and slightly increase it until you cap out and you have your levels. Hope that helps.

  • The best way to measure the intensity of you cardio is your heart rate. Using a heartrate monitor and doing some math will tell you how fast your heart should be beating during the levels but what it boils down to is this.

    If your heart is beating fast on the 6's 7's and 8's and beating like crazy on the 9's and 10's you are doing it right.

  • Hi Bill,

    Firstly Linden's point is a very good one. This is a VERY EXACT way to work out when you are at various intensity levels (your heart rate monitor will tell you if you are at Level 7, 8, 9 etc...).

    Personally I don't use heart rate though, my method is a bit simpler.

    For starters, I am sure that you know already what your 10 feels like. That is your ALL OUT EFFORT, as fast as you can go, you can't possibly go any harder at that particular time.

    Well then a 9 is just a little bit less than that feeling of a 10; you are on the verge of going all out, but not quite, you still have a little bit left in reserve.

    Etc. I compare all the intensity levels to the 10.

    Like you, I jog too for the 20 minutes of cardio. My 5 is a slow jog (in fact I could probably walk at exactly the same pace LOL!). When I hit 6 my arms are swinging with a bit more force, and I have a bit more speed.

    When I hit 7, I deliberately straighten out my hands to "chop" through the air as I am picking up speed. 8 goes a bit faster, and then 9 is ALMOST as fast as I can possibly go AT THAT MOMENT.

    One thing from my cardio routine (that I imagine would apply to other people too), is that during my intensity Level 9 @ 6 minutes, I am probably running FASTER at that time than I am during my intensity Level 9 @ the 18 minute mark.

    Obviously I am fatiguing through the 20 minute session, so even though my level 9 intensity at 18 minutes feels like a 9, I will probably be running SLOWER  than I was for earlier "level 9's" in the session.

    Linden's heart rate suggestion will take all the "guesswork" out of intensity levels though if you want to go down that route :-)

  • THANKS!  good advice all.    cardio day tomorrow so will go with the increasing the speed and angle.  have a HR monitor on the machine but i question its accuracy.  but it will give me an idea.   guessing if at the end of 20 min if i am ready to quit i got it right.   as the personal trainer working some poor lady out this morning with duck walks across the gym.." you aint leavin till your heavin"  ah motivation.

  • At least now I'm finding already started threads for my questions. : )

    I can't quite get my head wrapped around the increases the cardio chart shows. I never could.  If I did treadmill cardio, would something like this work?

    Mph Mins.
    3.0    2
    3.5    2
    4.0    2
    3.5    2
    4.5    2
    4.0    2
    4.5    2
    4.0    2
    4.5    2
    5.0    2
    Cool down

    I was always a slow runner. In my best running days, my best speed was a 10 min. mile.

    Thanks. : )

  • You do not determine your levels by heart rate.  It's arbitrary to determine it's your 10, based on a number that has no real meaning without knowing your history around it.  That would mean that you would give a lesser effort if some machine said you were at max.  No... you should decide your max.  If you could have done it with more intensity then you did not hit your 10, regardless of what the HRM says. 

    You should be going by how you feel.  Using a heart rate monitor is a tool, but one that's unnecessary for  most and not particularly useful unless you have significant data context.  There isn't an accurate formula for knowing what's your max and it varies not only by person, but by exercise.  The formula many use has been completely debunked and most guidelines are based on that bad data.  Also, your max will increase as you get more fit. 

    I was finally able to adjust my levels by figuring out my 10 and going from there.  A 10 is where you literally could not have done it for 5 seconds more.  It should take a few minutes to 10 or so to recover, but certainly not a long length of time.  By figuring it out first on a treadmill, a guideline I was able to form.  After that I could know by the feeling if I was at the right level, even when not on the treadmill.

    Where a heart rate monitor is useful is in competion training.  Then the person can judge how they're feeling and compare heartrates.  Your 10 will vary, day to day, during different times of the day, etc.  If in training, you would then see the variances in heart rate you had at your 10. 

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Jainarayan,

    It should be a different intensity level for each minute. Starting at 5 and going up to 9, then repeating levels 6 through 9 three more times, ending minute 19 at level 10. Minute 20 is back down to level 5 for the start of your cool down.

    For example, here is what I have been doing on the treadmill (at a 1% incline) for my HIIT cardio:

    Minute      MPH         Intensity Level (for me)

    1.               3.5             5

    2.               3.5             5

    3.               4.5             6

    4.               5.5             7

    5.               6.0             8

    6.               6.5             9

    7.               4.5             6

    8.               5.5             7

    9.               6.0             8

    10.             6.5             9

    11.             4.5             6

    12.             5.5             7

    13.             6.0             8

    14.             6.5             9

    15.             4.5             6

    16.             5.5             7

    17.             6.0             8

    18.             6.5             9

    19.             7.0            10

    20.             3.5             5

    So in your case, since you're just starting out, your speed may be slower but it should be in a similar pattern. Hopefully that makes sense. :)

  • Sorry for the crazy spacing. I typed it up on my iPad and I guess it formatted a little strange.

  • Thanks Laura. Yes, I understand. It makes sense.  I can certainly tweak it to my current level, then tweak it more as I progress.