Are struggling to get your workouts done? Wouldn’t it be much easier to have a short, concise action plan? Well, you are in luck because I’ve covered short workouts frequently in my books, blog and videos. And I’m going to post a few excerpts from my recent publication The Home Workout Plan: How to Master Cardio in 30 Days. Over the next few posts, you’ll have a better understanding of what you can do to get the best and most efficient cardio workout.

What Is a Cardio Workout?

A cardio workout is training the heart at a 50-85% of maximum heart rate[i] (MHR) or maximum beats per minute. I’ll discuss the relevance of the percentage of maximum heart rate a little later. First, you must know your maximum heart rate so that you can train safely and effectively. You don’t want to put too much stress on your heart, much like you wouldn’t wish to pull a car uphill. Sure, you may be able to do both, but each shares more risk than reward and are far too strenuous for your body. Training between 50-85% of your maximum heart rate puts enough stress on your heart to build strength and endurance while burning calories.

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published a study of a widely used formula that closely estimates maximum heart rate[ii]. NCBI concluded that the maximum heart rate formula underestimates the actual level of physical stress. In other words, the formula is fairly general and may provide an average maximum heart rate of an inactive person to a more active individual. The MHR formula is:

Maximum heart rate = 208 – (0.7 x age in years)

What’s the Deal with the Heartrate?

The lower intensity of 50% MHR is for someone new to fitness. Fifty percent of maximum heart rate is a great starting point, but if you find it too easy, increase your heart rate by 5% and see how you handle that amount. Over 3-4 weeks, gradually work your way up towards the higher intensity. It’s okay if you don’t get to 70-85% MHR in one month. With consistent training, you will be able to handle higher intensities. Higher intensities of 70-85% MHR are ideal for someone experienced in exercise. If you are new to exercise, this should be a big goal for you to achieve.

As you exercise, periodically check your pulse. One option for pulse checking is through a heart rate monitor. Technology is becoming cheaper and easier to get these days. A simple wrist watch with a heart rate monitor feature can cost $10-15. More complex models can cost upwards of $100. The cheaper solution is checking your pulse on your radial artery in your wrist. Practice pulse checking before working out so that you have a firm grasp on finger placement. American Heart Association is a great resource for proper pulse checking. Go to http://dalelroberts.com/pulsecheck for more information.

What Do I Do Now?!

There are certainly a variety of options available for a cardio workout and your imagination is the only limitation. Come back here this Tuesday, and I’ll give you a great suggestion that doesn’t involve running or using high-tech gym equipment. Stay tuned to DaleLRoberts.com and remember to subscribe to this blog, so you get post updates. I’ll catch you on Tuesday. Till later, rule your day!

(Excerpt featured in The Home Workout Plan: How to Master Cardio in 30 Days)


This blog post proposes exercise recommendations and all readers should consult a qualified medical professional before starting this or any other health & fitness program. As with any exercise program, if you experience any discomfort, pain or duress, stop immediately and consult your doctor. The author of this blog post disclaims any liabilities or losses in connection with the exercises or advice herein. You should inspect any equipment or workout area in advance as free of danger, flaw or compromise. The user assumes all responsibility when performing any movements contained in this blog and waives the equipment manufacturer, makers, and distributors of the equipment of all liabilities.

[i] American Heart Association. (2015, January 18). Target Heart Rates. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp

[ii] Tanaka, H., et al. (2001, January). Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11153730

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