Cardio Coach: My First Impressions

I just got back from the gym. Today is my cardio day. I’ve been working
out consistently for more than a year now. But my cardio workout could
use more improvements. My cardio workout is derived from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which I’ve learned from my Absolution program.
It’s very effective. Incorporating HIIT in my workout three times a
week enabled me to maintain my weight even after I stopped taking fat
burning supplements. I do my cardio workout mostly on treadmills during
winter and run around the park during warmer seasons. I prefer doing
cardio using a treadmill because I can control the pacing and the
incline. Here’s how I do it:

1. reset the timer to zero. warm up: first two minutes walking pace at 3.5 mph speed.
2. run like the wind at 9.5 mph for one minute.
3. back to walking at 3.5 mph speed for one minute.
4. repeat step 2 and 3, alternate between running and walking. do this until the timer reads 20 mins.
5. by this time i’m already gasping (very) hard for oxygen, so i catch my breath and drink lots of water.

As effective as this cardio workout is for me, I sometimes find it monotonous. It lacks variety and fun. Enter, the Cardio Coach. Check out this video promo:

I met Sean O’Malley (aka Cardio Coach) when he joined Zaadz. He posted an insane gesture/challenge on his blog:

"The gesture – From now (Jan 5th) until the 27th,
anybody who wants to use Cardio Coach and is a member of the zaadz
community can get it at no charge. If you get one and like it, you can
come back and get another (up until the 27th).

"In Return –
verbally commit that you will give much consideration to participating
in the Press Play event on the 27th…. Press
Play day has the potential for amazing things."

I took Sean’s challenge, sent him an email and asked which of his cardio workouts
is right for me. He recommended Volume 2. So I clicked the promo link,
downloaded the mp3s, saved them on iTunes, created a Cardio Coach V2
playlist, and synchronized it with my iPod Nano.

Here’s what happened on my first session with the Cardio Coach:

NOTE: Before starting with the program I recommend that you check out the Quick Start Guide to determine your fitness level and familiarize yourself with your exercise equipment of choice. And of course, check with your doctor too 🙂

Volume 2 consists of eight mp3 files: Intro, Warm up, Challenge 1,
Challenge 2, Steady State/Rest, Challenge 3, Cool down, and Coaches
Notes. I didn’t bother checking my heart rate using the treadmill’s
panel. Since I’ve been doing cardio for a while now I have a good idea
of how to pace myself. So as soon as stepped on the treadmill I
selected the Cardio Coach V2 playlist and hit play. I used the tempo of
the music as my pacing and listened to the voice instructions. At first
I thought that this would be a piece of cake. So I pushed myself more.

For Challenge 1 and Challenge 2, I manually adjusted the incline to 5.0
and the speed to 7.5 mph during the challenge intervals. Man! Big
mistake. By the time Challenge 2 was completed, I was already sweating
like Jack Black in a sauna. I
underestimated the program and overestimated my capacity. Duh. During
the Steady State the Cardio Coach gave me the option to continue with
the third and final challenge or to "veer off to the beaten path" and
skip it. I seriously considered giving up and calling it a day. But I
visualized the Cardio Coach behind me shouting at the top of his lungs,
calling me a wuss if I give up! Rats. So I took a deep breath, crossed
my fingers and proceeded to Challenge 3.

For Challenge 3, I manually adjusted the incline to 6.0 and the speed
to 5.0 mph and kept my pace for the next five challenge intervals. I
thought that I would never complete the challenge but the Cardio
Coach’s voice guided me and provided the feedback that I needed to
focus on the challenge at hand. By the time I finished Challenge 3 I
felt like Homer Simpson about to have a meltdown.
My shirt was all wet, my perspiration was dripping from my head off the
back of my neck, I’m gasping for oxygen–all signs of an awesome cardio
workout! The workout lasted for almost 40 minutes, including cool down.
I felt great! I still feel great as I write this!

So starting today instead of listening to Guns N’ Roses during my
cardio workout, I’ll do my workout with the Cardio Coach. The pacing
provided by the music alone is worth it and the guided voice
instruction helped me to focus and gave me timely feedback to push
myself even more. Give it a try.

Thanks to Sean for this gift of fitness! I’ll be joining you on January 27!

~C (for Cardio Coach rocks!)

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