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Which Program Should I Use on The Cardio Machine?

Almost every cardio machine has a menu of pre-set programs aside from just going at it on your own (manual). Lots of us don't venture there because we don't know what they mean and we don't want to take the time to figure it out.

So with that in mind, here is a general overview of what each program should do (keep in mind each machine may have different variations of these programs):

  • Weight Loss: These programs usually consist of extended intervals of work and rest intensities.
  • Fat-Burning: These programs usually consist of lower intensity, gradual increases over the duration of the program. Some Fat Burn programs are interactive as the program adjusts the intensity throughout the workout to maintain your heart rate at 65% of maximum heart rate.
  • Cardio: These programs will usually consist of gradual increases in intensity until you hit a certain level, and then you will remain at that level over the duration of the program. The intensities will range from moderate to high in order to challenge the heart and lungs.
  • There are additional settings, so

  • Heart Rate: These programs will typically build the intensity until your desired heart rate is reached. Then the machine will automatically lower and increase intensity based on your heart rate reading to keep it at where you indicated, usually within 2 beats.
  • Interval (Hills): These programs provide you with variety in your workout. Having the machine constantly changing intensities as intervals can keep the workout interesting and challenging as well as increase your total calories burned.
  • Fit Test: Fit Test is a cardio fitness evaluation. The test can be used to periodically monitor your own improvement in aerobic capacity -- I do it at least once a month.

Fit's Tip: Most pre-set programs have a cool down built in, if not, try and stay past the program until your heart rate decreases significantly (for example, on Fit's Calculator this would be at the Getting Warm Zone.)

wackdoodle wackdoodle 10 years
I don't know how to use the pre-set programs or adjust the resistance if there is any? Thanks Fit!
Fitness Fitness 10 years
I am not totally familiar with that machine, but what are you questions? You don't know how to use it? Or you just don't know how to use the pre-set programs? Let me know and I'll do some investigative work for you :)
wackdoodle wackdoodle 10 years
Fit do you know anything about the settings on the Versa Climber Pro machines? I started to use this at my gym and it's incredible but no one else seems to know how to use them or how to properly set them up. I googled and simply found out that its great for fat burning and cardio and athlete training but nothing else. I spent 5 minutes on this machine and it kicked my butt more than the treadmill, elipetical or bikes ever have. But I need help and info on it. Anyone...Versa Climber Pro Machine? Calories, areas worked, best way to use it? Thanks.
Tech Tech 10 years
Thanks fit, I wonder about this every single time I get on the elliptical machine.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Jke895, there is definitely a RANDOM option on some machines. Like I said, it varies from machine to machine... the Step Mill I use has a pre-set program called Kilimanjaro (it really could "kill" ya by the way) -- Just depends on the maker and machine.
JKe895 JKe895 10 years
Isn't there an option for the machine to vary from one setting to the other between cardio and fat burning? There's one at the gym that I go to and it does things on random. I just make sure that regardless my heart rate stays around 180 and I'm on the machine for more than 30 minutes, but that's not for everyone.
smart-blonde smart-blonde 10 years
Veekore, I believe all running burns more or less the same amount of calories (iirc, it's give or take 100 calories/mile, but someone correct me if I'm wrong). The variance is in how hard your heart works. Interval training strengthens your heart because it's forced to alternately pump fast and slow. The cardio setting keeps it at a single pace, which I'm guessing is better if you want to work on your endurance. So I think you burn the same amount of calories, but the challenge to your heart and lungs is different.
Veekore Veekore 10 years
So if you're trying to lose weight, do you burn more calories at the weight loss or the cardio setting?
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