The Cardieau Plateau: Stepping it Up


Hey fit readers! How’s the plateau-busting going? It’s going pretty well over here. Yesterday I did thirty minutes of circuits focusing only on my chest and calves (odd combination, I know!). This morning was my first offensive move against the cardieau plateau…

The last couple of months I’ve been doing “slow and steady,” C.S. Lewis-style cardio. I say “C.S. Lewis” because walking was his favorite mode of transportation. He routinely walked three miles from his picturesque home at The Kilns to Oxford through lamppost-lined streets and into Fellows Garden. I too was leisurely walking three miles a few times a week, but that is where the similarities – save for our faith – shared by myself and Mr. Lewis end.

Today, however, kicked off a more intense, “Biggest Loser”-style of cardio routine. Okay, maybe not as hard-core as what Jillian and Bob put their trainees through, but you get the point. I warmed up on the treadmill with a slight incline, but I wound up walking longer than desired because the Stepmills were occupied! Don’t you hate when that happens? It only tempts us to stay in our happy place of easy-going, hardly aerobic activity or leave the gym altogether.

 The fun began when, at last, “the stairs” became available and I geared up my iPod for thirty minutes of heart-pumpin’, plateau-crushin’ cardio.

In case anyone out there is interested, here’s what my routine looked like:

Oh, I should note that “RPE” stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It’s a subjective way of measuring how hard you’re working. I’m using the Borg scale that ranges from level 6 to level 20:

6: no exertion at all

7:-8: extremely light

9-10: very light

11-12: light (C.S. Lewis)

13-14: somewhat hard

15-16: hard

17-18: very hard

19: extremely hard

20: maximal exertion

K, here’s what I did and what I recommend if you’re in a cardio rut or want to boost your metabolism for some serious fat-burning.

Minutes 00:00-1:00, RPE 7-8

Minutes 1:00-2:00, RPE 9-10

Minutes 2:00-3:00, RPE 11-12

Minutes 3:00-5:00, RPE 13-14

Minutes 5:00-6:30, RPE 15-16

Minutes 6:30-7:00, RPE 13-14

*REPEAT minutes 5:00-7:00 three more times.

Minutes 13:00-13:30, RPE 17-18

Minutes 13:30-14:00, RPE 13-14

*REPEAT minutes 13:00-14:00 four more times.

Minutes 18:00-18:30, RPE 19

Minutes 18:30-20:00, RPE 13-14

*REPEAT minutes 18:00-20:00 two more times.

Minutes 24:00-25:00, RPE 15-16

Minutes 25:00-27:00, RPE 13-14

Minutes 27:00-28:00, RPE 11-12

Minutes 28:00-29:00, RPE 9-10

Minutes 29:00-30:00, REP 7-8

DONE! Stretch time! Then shower ;-).

Word to the wise, make sure the workout bottoms you’re wearing aren’t too tight. I must’ve shrunk my favorite pair of black Lululemon tights in the wash because they were literally cramping my style during my workout. They left indentions and everything. Ouch!

Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

 “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis, of course! 😉

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