Creating Your Own Cardio Fitness Plan

How to start a get-fit plan and stick to it

Everyone’s body is a little different, and responds differently to different types of exercise. These days, there are so many resources out there that you can create your own personalized cardio fitness plan that will work best for your body and with the cardio fitness equipment that you enjoy using.

When devising your cardio fitness plan, decide on the days, times, length of workout and cardio aerobic exercises you will do. Know your fitness goals. Decide beforehand what you are working to achieve: a bikini body, toning all over or maybe just losing 10 pounds? Knowing how often to do cardio and for how long will dramatically affect the results you get when using a personalized fitness plan.

Choose a time, location and cardio equipment

When you are creating your own cardio fitness plan, location is very important. Whether you prefer to work out at your home, at the gym or at a park, pick a place that you enjoy and that is not too difficult for you to get to.

If you like to work out at the park, take cardio fitness equipment with you that is easy to transport, such as ankle weights and a jump rope. If you get really motivated at the gym, make use of all the different kinds of cardio equipment they have there. When working out at home, you may consider investing in aerobics DVDs or cardio equipment.

The next step is to decide what days and times you're most likely to have the time and energy to follow through on your fitness plan. Remember to factor in time you will need to commute to your workout location and time to shower and change afterward.

Put your fitness plan on paper

Once you have decided where you will be working out, when you will be working out and what exercises you will be doing, write it all down. Having a written plan will encourage you to stay on track with your cardio fitness goals.

Don’t be afraid to change your plan to fit new goals as you go. Making your own cardio fitness plan is about catering to your body, so be creative and have fun!

Cardio exercises for weight loss

One of the keys to weight loss is burning fat. Cardio exercise is how to burn the fat that collects on your body, especially around the mid-section and thighs on women. Your body needs energy to move and, when doing cardio, this energy comes in the form of a "calorie." The more you move, the more energy you need; thus, the more calories you burn. This is the reason cardio training for weight loss is so important. Your body needs to burn calories, which mostly come from fat, in order to lose weight.

Burning calories for weight loss

Many people blame weight gain or loss on their metabolism. The Mayo Clinic credits exercise and the way your body processes food for the burning of calories. The 24/5 Complete Personal Training Manual published by 24-Hour Fitness shows how many calories a 130 pound woman will burn a minute, depending on her intensity. At a low intensity (60-65 percent) she will burn 4.86 calories a minute, or 291 total calories an hour. However, if the same woman is doing cardio at high intensity (80-85 percent) she will burn 6.86 calories a minute, or 411 calories an hour. Ultimately, you must burn more calories than you are taking in, so knowing how many calories you are eating and how many calories you are burning will assist you when doing cardio for weight loss.

Getting motivated

Getting motivated to start a cardio routine is the first step. The only type of cardio I can't stand is running. Just the thought of running bores me, so I needed to find other cardio exercises that I enjoyed doing in order to keep up a regular cardio plan for weight loss. Some of my favorites are the Elliptical Trainer, cardio kickboxing and boot camp classes that are offered at most gyms.

When working out alone, it is sometimes easier to slack off and skip a workout, or do a shorter length of cardio than you intended. Getting a workout buddy is a great type of motivation. Setting specific days and times to work out together will keep you on a regular cardio plan and will also have you looking forward to spending time with a friend.

How often and how long you should do cardio for weight loss

Doing some sort of cardio workout for 30 minutes will burn between 150-300 calories. It takes around 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat. That means that if you want to lose five pounds, you need to burn roughly 17,500 calories. Most experts recommend doing at least 30 minutes of cardio activity five days a week, if not every day. This amount of activity will help you maintain your current weight. If you are doing a cardio workout for weight loss, it's better to do at least an hour of moderate-to-intense cardio five times a week, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet.

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