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  1. #1
    TheFastCat's Avatar
    TheFastCat is offline Senior Member
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    Max heart rate and "ideal cardio" question

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    Hello - my cardio currently consists of about 3-4 days a week of 20 minutes on an elliptical at 19/25 resistance level. My ending heart rate is 170-180 and the machine tells me I burn between 340-350 calories. It seems somewhat analogous to Sprints since my heart rate gets so high but not sure if 20 minutes starts tearing down muscle along with fat to fuel it or what.

    Is this primal kosher? I really hate doing cardio for more than that time (if I do I take a break first) so the reason I don't do like 120 heart rate for 40 minutes is that it is just too long to be on the elliptical and when it is easy it is even more boring.

    I appreciate input you can offer

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    Timothy's Avatar
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    Primal experts seem to agree that the best spot for fat burn is 50%-60% of max heart rate. Yes, this feels absurdly easy. Mark himself only noted the effects when he started training people who were much less fit, forcing him to go at a pace he found excruciatingly slow. But he discovered that this slow pace, which gets you breathing a little heavier and feeling a little warm but doesn't interfere with conversation, is actually great for fat burn.

    Higher heart rates have their place; when you're sprinting you want to go as hard as you can, but never for more than, say, several 60-second efforts, and doing that once a week or so seems plenty.

    The pitfall for most people is thinking that if a little is good, more is better. That is the chronic cardio trap. I was in it myself for a long time, and I have to say that slow and easy is a lot more effective. I rarely let myself get out of breath when I exercise. But when I do push myself -- for example, on an obstacle course or a 10K race -- I have loads of energy to spare, far more than ever before.

    And I never set foot in the gym anymore except to take a shower. Sunlight is your friend!

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    TheFastCat's Avatar
    TheFastCat is offline Senior Member
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    ok today I'll give slow cardio a shot

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    MikeEnRegalia's Avatar
    MikeEnRegalia is offline Senior Member
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    ^ you could also simply cut back on the frequency of those all out workouts - only do them once or twice a week and on the other days, do some hiking or cycling for an hour or so instead. "Slow cardio" in the gym is boring indeed.

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    Dryden's Avatar
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    According to your location you live in Denver? I'd say you're lucky. You've probably got more things to do outdoors within walking distance than 95% of the members of this board! I'd never set foot in a gym if I were you. Get out there and walk, hike, and bike.

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    TheFastCat's Avatar
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    well I had my heart rate between 125-140 today for 35 minutes in order to burn my 350 calories. It was very easy - so much so that it feels like I am wasting time. Considering that my defacto burns same calories in 15 minutes less. If going slower is "burning fat" (like the machine says) then what is going faster doing?

    However I will say that for my lifting I had much more energy. I will keep trying it out. Perhaps one or two days a week I can do my balls out cardio. I guess I am just afraid of losing the capability to go high performance if I go for a lower heart rate :/

    According to your location you live in Denver? I'd say you're lucky. You've probably got more things to do outdoors within walking distance than 95% of the members of this board! I'd never set foot in a gym if I were you. Get out there and walk, hike, and bike.
    Yeah I live/work in downtown denver; I take the bus to work since I am "green" (actually my company canceled parking last year Financial downturn FTL) and my gym is 3 blocks away from my office and my bus stop is one block away from my gym. The opportunity convenience is just too high to pass up especially since I am weight-training centric since I was in highschool (callouses on hands since I was 15 /gloat). Maybe with a training partner I would have the motivation to sprint in grass right now gym too convenient.

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