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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cardio Coach

For those of you who have not heard me rave about Cardio Coach, I want to let everyone know about this terrific workout series.

What you do is download the workouts from cardiocoach.com.  They are in mp3 format, so put them on your iPod and listen to them while you work out.  You can use them on any stationary exercise equipment - so,  elliptical, bike, treadmill, etc.  As you run, your Cardio Coach, Sean O'Malley, tells you to increase your pace or resistance in measured increments.  It is all based on perceived exertion - which means that you can set the levels to anything that works for you.  Levels are:
  • Level 1 (Blue Zone) - For me, this is a walk.  It's a level that would be considered a warm up or a recovery.
  • Level 2 (Green Zone) - This is a light jog for me.  You should be able to work out at this level for  30-60 minutes or more without feeling too tired or winded.  No heavy breathing.
  • Level 3 (Orange Zone) - This is considered a sprint, or a level at which you are working pretty hard.  However, it's not as hard as you can possibly work, and is not anaerobic.
  • Level 4 (Red Zone) - Pushes your anaerobic threshold, this is an all-out sprint or hill climb.  Very tough!
The music is pretty good and inspiring for running and I've found that I cannot step on a treadmill without doing one of these workouts.  Sean does a great job at motivating you to keep going and even though he's not "really" there, I find myself never wanting to let him down.  I work as hard as I can and I know that I get a far better workout using Cardio Coach than I ever would just running along on the treadmill without it.  They are an absolutely necessary part of my training.

Lots of folks have asked me what workouts I recommend.  First off, it is difficult for me to recommend any one over any other.  I like 4, 5 and 6 for their length - I find that 1, 2 and 3 are too short to do for an entire workout and end up repeating some or all of the challenges, and I find that 7 and 8 are too long and I end up cutting them short for any of my reasonable 45 minute workouts.  The workouts get progressively more difficult - so 1 is the easiest and therefore a great place to start.  I think the music is best in 6, 7 and 8, although I love a lot of the music in the rest of the series (5 is more African / tribal, and I always get excited for the gospel music at the end of Volume 1).  Volumes 7 and 8 have a big focus on endurance, as they have very long challenges (I go 21 minutes in Volume 7 without walking, and Volume 8 contains a challenge with two 8 minute hills).  I really love them all.

Right now, Sean is running a special where he is selling the workouts for a super-affordable $4.95 a piece.  Honestly, I'd just buy them all.  This is a terrific deal and certainly the lowest price I've ever seen the workouts going for.  Give them a try, you are sure to love them!

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