Beginner's Guide to Cardio Machines
When you think of exercise, cardio exercise is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Cardio, short for cardiovascular, is a workout for your cardiovascular system which includes your heart and lungs. It is a key to living a longer and healthier life.
Just a few of the benefits of cardio exercise:
- Lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer
- Increases endurance for daily activities
- Reduces pain and stiffness
- Manage high blood pressure and diabetes
- Improves sleep
- Improves mood and lowers risk of depression
Also called aerobic exercise, a cardio workout is any activity that elevates your heart rate and gets you breathing harder. No matter your level of fitness, there is a type of cardio exercise for you. Low intensity activities like going for a walk, moderate intensity activities like Zumba and other aerobic dance classes or high intensity exercises like running or plyometrics all count as cardio exercise. Some prefer to use machines to get their cardio workout done. Every LivRite Fitness location has many cardio machines for you to use.
All the cardio equipment is equipped with heart rate grips. When you grip the silver sensors on the handlebars of the machine, it will estimate your current heart rate. Both hands must grip the bars for your heart rate to register. It takes 5 consecutive heart beats for your heart rate to register. When gripping the pulse handlebars, do not grip tightly. Keep a loose hold. Please note: these heart rate monitors are just estimates and not 100% accurate. If you feel faint, stop exercising immediately.
All the cardio machines have a quick start option, a manual workout option, various level-based programs, as well as a fitness test.
To Quick Start on Any of the Matrix Cardio Machines at LivRite:
For a quick start, press the GO button and the machine will enter a manual mode of operation. All energy expenditure values will be calculated using the default weight measurement. Please note for the bike and ellipticals you should start pedaling before you are able to press GO.
Using the quick start function and then manually adjusting your speed as you go is a great way to start on any piece of cardio equipment. If you’d like to enter information to get a better estimate of your calorie burn and to set up your intensity level before you start, use the manual workout mode.
Manual is a workout setting that allows you to manually adjust the resistance levels at any time. The manual workout also contains a setup screen which allows you to input your weight to help calculate a more accurate caloric burn rate (though it is still an estimate).
To Start a Manual Workout on any of the Matrix Cardio Machines at LivRite:
1) Choose MANUAL by selecting the manual workout button and press ENTER.
2) Enter the desired intensity level using the ARROW KEYS or NUMBER KEYPAD and press ENTER.
3) Enter the desired time using the ARROW KEYS or the NUMBER KEYPAD and press ENTER.
4) Enter your weight (your weight is used to calculate the caloric expenditure value-providing an accurate weight helps to ensure a more accurate caloric expenditure estimate) using the ARROW KEYS or the NUMBER KEYPAD and press ENTER.
5) Press GO to begin the workout.
Each piece of equipment has level-based workout programs. These programs will automatically make changes to the machine to change the intensity level of your workout. You can select the level of the program as well as the length of time for the workout, but the machine will do the rest.
Some of the level-based programs include (please note – not all the machines have the same programs and this is not a complete list):
- Rolling Hills is a level-based workout that automatically adjusts the intensity level to simulate walking, biking or running up hills. This program is on the treadmill, bike and elliptical.
- Interval Training is a level-based workout that automatically adjusts the intensity in a series of low- to high-intensity levels. This program is on the bike and elliptical.
- Fat Burn is a level-based workout that is designed to help burn fat through various resistance changes. This program is on all the cardio equipment.
- Heart Rate allows you to program your desired heart rate zone and the machine will automatically adjust the level based upon your heart rate at that moment. You must continually hold onto the contact heart rate grips for this workout. This program is on all the cardio equipment.
- Constant Watts - This program allows you to vary your cadence, RPM (rotations per minute) or SPM (steps per minute) (this depends on what machine you are on) and the machine’s resistance will adjust accordingly to your selected goal. This program is on the bike, elliptical and climbmill.
-Glute Training is a program on the elliptical that will increase your range of motion to target the thighs and glutes. You will be asked to enter in a minimum resistance level and maximum resistance level. The maximum resistance is applied at your peaks and the minimum resistance is applied in the valleys. Choose levels that are appropriate for you. A good starting point is a minimum resistance level of 1 and a maximum resistance level of 8.
To Start a Level-Based Workout:
1) Choose the workout you would like to start by pressing the button next to it on the control panel.
2) Follow the prompts to select your desired workout length, enter your weight and any other data that program may require such as level or maximum resistance.
A basic breakdown of each of the main types of cardio equipment:
Treadmill – Stand with your feet on the belt and press GO for a quick start or select manual or a level-based training workout. The console will show a short countdown before the belt starts to slowly move. While walking or running, your feet should be in the center of the belt so that your hands can swing naturally and without contacting the front handlebars.
Try not to support too much of your upper body on the handles; you might feel like you're still doing work, but your workout will be much less intense and you'll burn fewer calories.
Climbmill - This set of steps is sometimes referred to as a stepper or a stair master. Stand directly behind the Climbmill. Grasp either the upper or lower handlebars and step onto the Climbmill until you are within comfortable reach of the console and remote handlebar controls.
The Climbmill has a special option to complete two fitness tests like what firefighters use in their training. Select Training Workout on the Climbmill and follow the prompts to either do the WFI (Wellness Fitness Initiative) protocol or the CPAT (The Candidate Physical Ability Test). The WFI test is a series of intervals lasting a maximum of 16 minutes, where the speed is increased every minute until your target heart rate is exceeded for 15 seconds. This test is used by firefighters to evaluate aerobic fitness capacity. The CPAT is a minimum requirement for a new firefighter. Firefighter recruits do this test with a 50-pound weight vest and an additional 25-pound weight (to simulate the breathing apparatus and hose bundles they carry during a fire). During the CPAT you must maintain 60 SPM (steps per minute) for 3 minutes.
Elliptical – The elliptical is a great low impact cardio option because you can use both your arms and legs for a more intense full body workout. To get on the elliptical, stand behind it and hold both rear arm rests for support then place your foot on the lowest foot pedal and push the pedal down into the lowest position before stepping onto the foot pedal. When the pedals rest, place your other foot on the opposite pedal. Start pedaling and press Go for a quick start or select manual or a level-based workout program to begin.
Having your foot in the most forward position on the pedal increases your step height, which will create a feeling similar to a step machine. Placing your foot toward the back of the foot pedal decreases your step height and creates more of a gliding feel, like a walk or a run. Always make sure your entire foot is secured on the pad of the foot pedal.
To focus on a lower body workout, hold the stationary handlebars only. For a full body workout and a more challenging cardio workout, push and pull continuously on the dual action arms while pedaling.
Bike – We have two types of stationary bikes, recumbent and upright.
To determine proper seat position, sit on the seat and position the ball of your foot on the center of the pedal. Your knee should bend slightly at the furthest pedal position. You should be able to pedal without locking your knees or shifting your weight from side to side.
Start pedaling and press Go for a quick start or select manual or a level-based workout program to begin.
To start, beginners should aim for three to four cardio workouts a week for 20 to 40 minutes each session. Over time, your goal is to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise.
You can choose the type of cardio machine you’d like to use. The best one is the one you will use on a consistent basis! Anything that gets your heart rate up above your resting rate for at least 10 minutes at a time is a good starting place.
Don’t be intimidated to try each or any machine! The control panel will walk you through the steps to set up a program if you’d like or just press GO to manually control the intensity throughout your workout. If you have any questions, please ask a LivRite team member!