Interval Training on Elegant and Touch Treadmill Consoles

Looking to improve your race times, increase your running speeds, burn more calories in less time or simply break up the monotony of your regular or steady pace treadmill workouts? Try the Interval program on a Vision Fitness treadmill equipped with the Elegant or Touch console. The treadmill Interval program included on these consoles is a speed-based program.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

When training for your next 5K, 10K or 1-mile race against yourself, it is important that you break through your comfort zone in a way that challenges your body’s desire to achieve homeostasis. Homeostasis is your body’s natural need to achieve balance, to stay the same and to only expend as much energy as is needed to accomplish what it is asked to accomplish. Quite simply, if you don’t force or trick your body into trying something it isn’t used to doing, you will never know if you are even capable.

We humans are programmed to seek out comfort, which is why so many people hop on the treadmill, press go, select their favorite speed and incline and do the same workout they have done any number of times before. This bad habit will not make you more fit – It will not make you faster, decrease your run time or burn any more calories than it did last time. In order to accomplish any of these things, you need to get past your comfort zone. Enter – the Interval program.

What is the Interval Program

This program will give you segments of alternating speeds (adjusted in length according to the total workout time you have selected). The speeds will vary from a “challenge” speed to an “active recovery” speed. As you progress through the program and get warmed up, the “challenge” speeds will increase until the final two segments, which are where the program has already pushed you past your comfort zone and gets you ready to cool down.

A few common questions come up, which left unanswered seem to become excuses for individuals to not try a new program. So, to help you gather up the courage to try something a little more challenging, here are some answers to a few of those questions:

Q: How long should I go for?

A: One option is to base your exercise time on how much time you have available, some exercise is better than none. If you don’t have a lot of time, this is a perfect program because it is higher in intensity than your regular steady workout. Plus, there are a multitude of studies that show a short higher intensity workout is as effective, and sometimes more effective, than a longer workout at a lower intensity. Or base your workout time on how quickly you would like to be able to complete your next race.

Q: What level should I use/how fast should I go?

A: Look up the program chart in the owner’s manual and choose a level where the “challenge” speeds are 1 mph faster than you would choose to go if you were just doing a steady or “comfortable” time-based workout. Or, figure out how fast you need to go to achieve your next race time and pick a level that “challenges” you at a speed just higher than that. Remember, the “challenge” speed is always followed by an “active recovery” speed.

Q: How far should I go?

A: You don’t really need to go any further than the distance you are training for and will even benefit with shorter training sessions. One of the reasons to participate in speed intervals is to get your body used to moving faster and taking longer strides. These adaptations will carry over to your race distances.

There you go! Don’t you feel better already? Next time you’re looking to throw yourself a fitness curveball and take your workout to a new level of intensity, start an Interval program.

Sources

http://www.livestrong.com/article/386878-the-best-treadmill-interval-workout/

http://runners-resource.com/training/intervals/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/interval-training/SM00110

 

Use Goal Programs to Spice Up Your Workouts

Want to add a little variety to a stale workout routine? Maybe you need a little extra motivation?  Try a Goal Program! Having a fitness goal can increase accountability and make workouts more fun. By using a goal program, you’ll finish your workout and reach those fitness aspirations more quickly. Thankfully, there are four different Goal Programs available on the Vision Elegant and Touch consoles for you to try.

5K and 10K Goal programs are distance-based workouts with 10 available levels of intensity.

  • The elevation/resistance adjusts automatically throughout the workout. The height of each hill is based on the level of intensity you choose. Speed is controlled by      you, the user.
  • The Touch console offers you a Stage Meter, which helps you monitor your progress through the different elevation/resistance changes in the program. This can mentally prepare you for the elevation changes ahead. The Stage Meter has a percentage completed number that changes as you progress through the stage as well as a meter visual. vision touch console stage meterWhen the meter is almost full and your percentage completed hits 95 percent you know it won’t be long before your hill is over. The Elegant console offers a more traditional profile view which will fill in as you move through the program.
  • Did you choose a level that was too hard? Don’t worry, the level of intensity can be adjusted during the workout to make sure you don’t have to stop and restart. Press the “Workout” tab at the top of the screen and use the arrows to change your goal.
  • Another motivating feature of the 5K and 10K programs is the Time Remaining feedback window. This window will constantly readjust based on how fast you      are moving. Want to finish in 30 minutes? The Time Remaining window will tell you exactly how long each workout will take you. Vision touch console time remaining window

Calorie Goal is a program that allows you to select a desired number of calories you would like to burn.

  • Set your calorie goal and the console will estimate your total time based on the starting speed, elevation and user weight prior to the workout.
  • During the workout, the Time Remaining feedback window will constantly readjust based on your intensity level. Want to burn those 300 calories in 20 minutes? The Time Remaining window shows you if you are on track. Going faster or increasing your intensity level allows you to reduce the remaining time of the workout.
  • Feeling good and not ready to stop? You can readjust your calorie goal right on the fly. No need to start over. Simply press the “Workout” tab at the top of the screen and use the arrows to change your goal.Vision touch console change calorie goal

Distance Goal is a program allows you to set your goal based on distance and not time.

  • The Time Remaining feedback window constantly adjusts based on your speed. That way you don’t need to wonder how long those 5 miles are going to take you.
  • Feeling strong today or maybe you bit off a little more than you can handle? You can add or subtract distance mid workout.

Try one or all of these Goal Programs available on Vision Fitness Elegant and Touch consoles and take your workouts to a whole new level.

Travel to Different Destinations without Leaving Home

Keep your workouts fresh and exciting. Exercising with Passport Media Player can transform your static workout­ routine into a dynamic adventure, filled with intensity, excitement and education. While en route, scrolling text appears on-screen to inform the user about locations along the way.

Compatible with all Vision Fitness Classic, Touch and Elegant consoles, Passport Media Player with Virtual Active (available for purchase as an accessory) allows users to travel to exotic locations from all over the world.  Below are two of my favorite locations destinations, though that may change as more destinations will become available in the future.

Chicago destination on Virtual Active

While traveling through Chicago, you’ll notice thousands of tulips along Michigan Avenue, also known as ‘The Magnificent Mile.’ These tulips typically bloom in late April, just north of the Chicago River. The historic Water Tower is the largest shopping district in Chicago, with an impressive 3.1 million square feet of retail space. More than 22 million people visit this area annually, where dozens of the world’s leading luxury retailers have a strong presence.

Along your journey you’ll pass through Millennium Park, which is known for its beautiful and interesting public art installations. The infamous ‘Cloud Gate’ (referred to by Chicago residents as ‘The Bean’) is a three-story, 110-ton sculpture that distorts objects with its curved mirror/reflective surface.

From there, you’ll travel along the Chicago River through the heart of downtown. There are 38 movable bridges that span across this river. In a feat of engineering, the flow of the river was reversed for sanitation purposes in the early 1900s. The river is famously dyed green each year in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. In1992, the river broke into an underground freight tunnel network, flooding the lover levels of many buildings.

Italy

The journey to Northern Italy takes you though areas where early adventurers in the Bronze Age were attracted to due to the prevalence of copper ore. Marble, semiprecious stones and oil shales have also been found in this region. Travel along the historic road to Timmelsjoch, which was built in 1959 to accommodate tourists while seamlessly blending into the landscape. Back in 2007, this infamous city had an average of 50,000 tourists a day. On the border of Austria in Italy’s Otztal Alps, Timmelsjoch is often referred to as the ‘secret passage’ because it is used less heavily than other mountain passes in the area.

The transition from Timmelsjoch to Venice is quite noticeable as Venice has no roads and is only navigable on foot or by boat. Known for its canals, gondolas, and beautiful architecture, Venice is also recognized for its film festival. Founded in 1934, the Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world. Another site worth noting along your voyage is Piazza San Marco, or ‘The drawing room of Europe.’ This is one of the few great urban spaces left in the area that’s not polluted by the sound of motorized traffic.

Try either of these destinations on your Vision Fitness treadmill, elliptical or exercise for an entirely different, interactive workout experience.

Layman’s Guide to METs

I have been asked many times over the years about METS since they are displayed on most of today’s cardio machines, including our new Elegant and Touch consoles. Simply stated, METS is a good way to measure your exercise intensity and therefore the effectiveness of your exercise. MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent Task where one MET is equal to the rate you burn calories while you are sitting. As you begin to move or to exercise, you burn more calories and that increase can be measured or represented as an increase in METS.

I like to use a laymen’s translation for METS as a Metabolic Equivalent To Sitting, or how many times more calories a person is burning during an activity compared to if they were sitting around watching TV. So if your cardio machine states that you are working at five METS, you are burning calories 5 times faster than you would if you were watching television. Exercise at 10 METS and you will burn as many calories in a 20-minute cardio session as you would in over three hours and 20 minutes of watching TV.

While the number of calories you burn obviously goes up with an increase of METS, the actual number of calories a person burns still varies based on age, weight and fitness level and this is another subject which should be addressed separately. MET values will vary with combinations of change in speed and elevation on a treadmill or speed and resistance on a bike or elliptical. You can also use METS to determine if your workout on an exercise bike today is as efficient as it was yesterday on a treadmill or elliptical machine.

TIP: Since many people may not be able to maintain 10 METS or even five METS for extended periods of time try an interval based program like Sprint 8® that will take you to or near your individual tolerance and back down to something more comfortable and then back up and down again repeatedly. This type of fitness program has been shown over and over again to be extremely effective at increasing fitness levels.

Here is a chart showing the MET value of various common activities: METs chart

 

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/METs

Train with the Intervals Program on Your Exercise Bike for a Change of Pace

Vision Fitness R40 Recumbent Exercise BikeThe Intervals program on a Vision Fitness® upright or recumbent bike can be a valuable tool in your fitness regimen. Bikes are a great way to get your cardio training in, while giving your skeletal system a break from the stress of a weight-bearing exercise like treadmill running. One of the keys to exercising on a bike is maintaining a sufficient level of intensity so you are maximizing your time spent exercising. Unlike a treadmill that forces a user to keep up, on a bike, the user must push himself/herself to keep the level of intensity up where he/she is truly benefiting from the workout. This is where a program like Intervals can really help.

What is interval training?
Interval training is a method of training where you increase and decrease the level of intensity of your workout between aerobic and anaerobic training. The goal for interval training is to push the body past the aerobic threshold for a few moments and then return to your aerobic conditioning level with the objective of improving your performance.

The aerobic threshold is the intensity where your body switches from burning a greater percentage of fat to a greater percentage of carbohydrates. A general parameter to measure where this threshold is would be 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. According to the web site www.medicinenet.com, train below 85 percent and it’s aerobic; train above 85 percent and it’s anaerobic. (For more info on monitoring your heart rate, click here.)

Using the preset Intervals program

After selecting the Intervals program on your console, you will be prompted to enter in your age, your desired time and your weight. Once you have done this, the console will then ask you to enter in the difficulty level. This may require a trial and error period as you figure out which level will best challenge you. The resistance level will automatically change from segment to segment, alternating between a higher level of resistance (the active phase) and a lower level of resistance (the rest phase). These changes in resistance are designed to push you past your aerobic zone and into your anaerobic zone during the active phase, as described in the paragraph above. The duration of each segment is determined by the total time you entered in the beginning.

The benefits of interval training are numerous, and it is becoming the preferred method of training for many of today’s elite athletes. Benefits such as burning more fat, decreasing your risk of high blood pressure, strengthening your immune system, and lowering cholesterol, are all attributed to interval training according to Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com). Also, it can ultimately put less stress on your joints because you are exercising for shorter periods of time.

The beauty of this program, especially on a bike, is that anyone can start it and begin to reap the benefits immediately. Interval training can closely simulate participating in sports such as basketball, soccer and lacrosse. All are activities that include quick bursts of energy intermingled with periods of active rest.

Interval training has long been a favorite of coaches because it can be an effective means of improving an athlete’s cardiovascular capacity, thus helping their performance on the field. It can also help an individual burst through those dreaded “plateaus” we have all encountered at one time or another after performing the same exercise routines for an extended period of time.

For me personally, the active phase helps push me to workout harder, while reducing my perception of how long I have been working out, a big-time bonus in my opinion. So if you are looking for some variety and want to spice things up, I suggest you get off your feet, get on a bike and challenge yourself with an intense Intervals program.

 

Put Your iPhone or iPod to Good Use With New Vision Fitness Consoles

Using an iPod or iPhone with your new Vision Fitness® console can open a whole variety of features you wouldn’t expect from a piece of fitness equipment!

The new Vision Touch console is able to transfer the audio and video from an iPod or iPhone through the iPod/iPhone cord to the console. This also allows you to control the device on the touch screen, and keep your eyes on the prize. A great undistracted workout means better results. Unable to stream video through your iPhone? Simply switch your iPhone to “Airplane” mode under Settings, and both the video and audio should stream just fine.

As you get into your workout, you may feel the urge to slow down, but your phone or iPod never has to! You can also charge your device using the USB port while you work out. Please note this is possible for devices that require 1 amp or less for charging. Simply plug your device into the USB port and watch your device charge as you work your way to a lean and mean fitness machine.

These are just a few new exciting features to check out that will help you use your Vision Fitness exercise equipment to its fullest potential!

Program Overview: Glute Burn

The Glute Burn program is found on the state-of-the-art Vision Fitness® Suspension Elliptical™ Trainers S7100, S7200 and S70. This interval-based, muscle-targeting program is made possible by the adjustable incline feature, which is not available from every elliptical manufacturer. The program automatically varies incline settings in ranges that target the glutes and hamstrings throughout the pedaling motion.

On the S7100, you are given eight 45-second intervals, which provide progressively challenging incline and resistance changes. The S7200 and S70 use a combination of incline and directional changes, along with console prompts, to help maximize results.

Glute Burn delivers movement and results similar to that of running stairs, but without the potentially harmful impact on the knees and joints. By reducing the impact-induced injury and fatigue, you will be able to put more energy into the workout. Not only is this program great for toning the posterior, but because the glute muscles are among the largest group of muscles on our bodies, this program is also highly efficient at burning calories. Use higher levels of resistance and lower RPMs to increase the muscle shaping and toning effects of this workout.

Use the Watts program to stay challenged during your workouts

“Watts” is defined as a measurement of power output that the user is exerting. Vision Fitness is one of the few manufacturers to offer a Watts program, which comes standard in the Deluxe and Premier Consoles for all cardio machines. The program works by setting a watts level (try 150 to start) which is used to calculate the user’s RPMs. The treadmill, bike or elliptical will then apply resistance or elevation accordingly. If the user moves at a faster RPM, the resistance will remain at a lower level, but if the user starts slowing down the product will increase the resistance. No slacking during your workout! Most users slow the pace after the first 15 minutes, but the Watts program will just apply more resistance to remind them to pick the pace back up. If the user would rather move at a slower pace, that’s fine too—the resistance will just be more difficult. The Watts program is great because you are keeping a consistent power output, which is the same as maintaining a consistent caloric expenditure, thus making your workout more efficient and productive. Try it out at your nearest Vision Fitness retailer today!

Already use the Watts program? Tell us what you think about it.