How Tech Can Help To Burn More Calories During Cardio

20 Minute Fitness Episode #87

Cardio might not be your all-time favorite workout, but this week on the 20 Minute Fitness podcast we’re here to change this. As today we’ll focus on fitness technology that is specialized in cardio. Let it be an app that motivates you with great music or a piece of smart equipment that makes cardio more fun, it’s guaranteed that you’ll push harder. And ultimately burn more calories.

Press play to hear how technology can help to burn more calories during your dreaded cardio session!

Three Things You Will Learn

1) The Power Of Music

A not-too-high-tech and a quite simple concept that you might not think of when it comes to burning more calories is music. But believe it or not, music has amazing motivational powers, which is exactly what Fit Radio plays on.

Fit Radio is an app that combines workout music and personal coaching with a goal to make you push harder. The app has a music library of thousands of DJ mixes with new tracks added daily. And you can choose from a variety of guided exercising programs, like running and HIIT.

If you go for running, the app will match the music to your pace, which will definitely give you an extra kick in the butt. Tune in to learn more about Fit Radio and its different features!

2) How Smart Is Your Kettlebell?

If you’re bored of the traditional cardio workouts, it’s time to go for something different. Kettlebell workouts are a great way to spice up your regular routine and nonetheless, they also come with some amazing results. Kettlebell exercises will help to burn those calories fast and work different muscle groups simultaneously.

And of course, as you could’ve guessed it, we already have some smart kettlebells on the market that will further improve your workout output.

The connected kettlebell by JaxJox allows you to adjust the weight with 6 different weight options in a matter of seconds. And the accompanying JaxJox app will make sure that all your kettlebell workouts are tracked accurately. Your connected kettlebell and the app together with count your reps and sets and track your power and workout time.

Listen to this week’s episode to find out more about why kettlebell workouts are so great and what your JaxJox Fitness IQ score means!

3) Cardio In A Luxury Edition

For those of you who are looking for something more high-tech and more professional, we have two very exciting pieces of tech today. The first one is a smart rowing machine, Hydrow.

Even though rowing is also a very efficient cardio workout, sitting in front of an indoor rowing machine can be quite monotonous after a while. Which is what Hydrow is here to change. With the Hydrow rowing machine, you’ll be transferred to a real water experience and can really enjoy the workout without actually leaving your own apartment.

Via Hydrow‘s smart touchscreen you’ll be able to join live rowing sessions that are coached by professional athletes and recorded on real outdoors water. This is what they call a ‘live outdoor reality’ experience. Hydrow will also give you real-time feedback on your workout performance with data points like calories burnt and distance completed. A real cardio gem for burning calories and enjoying your training at the same time.

Finally, if you’re more into body-weight exercises, Otari’s Smart Exercise Mat might be the perfect choice for you. Definitely not your average workout mat, the Otari mats have a digital display and are embedded with pose recognition technology.

They will provide you with a good selection of exercises ranging from yoga to pilates and even Bootcamp. No matter if you are taking live or on-demand classes, their embedded technology will track your form constantly leaving no room for error. So they won’t only mix up your workout routine, but also make sure that you’re doing every move as you should.

Press play to hear more about the more luxurious calorie burner pieces of equipment, Hydrow, and the Otari Smart Exercise Mat!

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Full Transcript

00:00: Hello everyone, and welcome back to another episode of, How Tech Can Help, on the 20-Minute Fitness podcast. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out last week’s episode, an interview with Khalil Zahar, the CEO and the founder of Fight Camp, the very first interactive at home boxing gym. It’s a really cool and exciting idea to teach people who have never done it before, the art of boxing, obviously, and the sport of boxing. And we actually covered this a few weeks ago as well in the How Tech Can Help You kill Your Boxing Workout at Home episode. The interview with Khalil is really interesting. I strongly recommend tuning in, and as I mentioned in the How Tech Can Help episode last time, boxing is a seriously good cardio workout, and it’s fun as well, and Fight Camp makes it really fun, engaging way to get involved and get active. So, definitely check it out.

00:47: If you haven’t yet, but you’re enjoying the podcast, then please do go over to the podcast app, whichever podcast app you listen to your podcasts on, and make sure that you do leave us a 5-star review, whether that’s the Apple Podcast app or whichever you listen on. And when you’re there as well, make sure you hit the subscribe button, so you can be notified when the next episode goes live. Because we really hope you are enjoying hearing all the stories of these founders and why they’ve got into the business and why they’ve developed their fitness product. And I hope you are really enjoying discovering all the new fitness tech out there.

01:21: This episode of How Tech Can Help is all about how you can max your calories burned during your dreaded cardio workout. If you’re like me, you’re not a fan of cardio, and sometimes it’s just nice to get some tech involved that can keep you distracted away from the pain that your body’s going through as you try and push your body to burn more calories and hopefully lose some body fat.

01:45: But before we dive in, a big thank you to our sponsor, Shape. Shape are building a 3D body scanning scale. You simply step onto the scale and a 3D body scanner will move all around your body capturing lots of different points of body data. This is then synced across to the Shape app, and you’ll be able to see a photo-realistic, 3D avatar of your body from all angles, and you’ll also get the quantitative data as well; that’s your body fat percentage, your lean muscle mass and your muscle girth measurements. So it really does make ShapeScale a really comprehensive fitness tracker. And it’s now available for pre-order at shapescale.com. So check it out while you can.

02:23: So, now onto the episode, and let’s see what tech’s out there to, not only help us burn more calories when we’re doing our cardio sessions, but what could also just make them seem like they go by as quickly as possible. So, first up in the as of low end of the spectrum, we have Fit Radio, and Fit Radio is your place for workout music, and it’s also your personal coach. Fit Radio’s goal is to make sure that these cardio sessions fly by and you push yourself harder, and you burn more calories. There’s thousands of different DJ mixes for you to choose from that are designed to fuel your workouts, and keep you motivated as you push on throughout the workouts. And there’s loads of different mixes and playlists which are added daily, which I think is a great feature, because, I overplay the same gym playlist over and over again and then I get really frustrated, ’cause I feel like I have no new music to listen to. And I’m someone that really does need music to pump themselves up if I’ve got a heavy set, for example, I need a new song for each new lift I do just to make sure I get in the zone and that I’m staying focused.

03:25: So, having some new music constantly being played to me would really help. It’s also worth noting as well that a lot of this music you won’t have heard. It’s people’s own mixes. So but if you are looking for new music that’s gonna really amp you up, then this could be perfect for you. It’s not just gonna be the charts, for example. So, Fit Radio has three different tabs. The first tab is called, the Coaching tab, and this provides you with cardio coaching sort of aligned with a suitable playlist as well. And the coach’s instructions are paired with bursts of motivating music, that really pushes trainees through really strenuous sections of the workout. So again, this is why it’s gonna help you burn more calories, ’cause it will make you keep your intensity up in those moments that you want to stop and curl up in a ball and just give up.

04:08: There’s a variety of different programs, from running outdoors or on a treadmill or getting on the elliptical or doing HIIT and many more. So there’s something for everyone as well, depending on how you like to kill yourself from your cardio. And each week there are more than 24 workouts added as well, which is great. But I should say that the coaching isn’t that technical. So Aaptiv, for example, gives you tips on your running technique; how you should make contact with the ground. Whilst Fit Radio really sort of gives you that extra motivation you need to burn more calories, rather than actually trying to make you focus on your form, for example. So, just consider that as well. The second tab is the music library, so you can sort your music by genre, beats per minute, the DJ who the mix is by, the different activity you’re doing, and within the music tab as well there’s also the ability to set yourself intervals if you’re wanting to do HIIT and interval training, because there’s an inbuilt timer in there as well. And there’s also a cool feature that you can tweet the DJ directly from the app if you’ve just discovered a new artist, for example, and you’ve become a big fan.

05:08: The final tab is the running tab and here you can match the music to your pace of running to ensure that the music carries you as your feet hit the ground. So this will encourage you to burn more calories because you’re running faster, trying to stay with the pace of the music the whole run. If you start running the app will automatically detect your pace, or before you start, you can set it manually as well. And the playlists are curated to give you the right music when you need it. So, if you’re hitting that runner’s wall, you need a big, powerful song to come on and drive you forward, make sure you finish this run strong, then you might get some motivational rock music coming on to power you on. So if you’re looking for something new and exciting, some great music, some coaching tips as you go along, a lot of motivation in an easy-to-use app and you want to get through your cardio sessions at a high intensity rate, then Fit Radio might be for you.

05:58: Next up, in the mid-level category, we have Kettlebell Connect by JaxJox, and it got a lot of good press at CES, so there was a lot of excitement around it, and it is as it says in the name, a smart kettlebell. And it can be yours for either $349 or $30 a month for 12 months. You might think that sounds quite expensive. What can you actually do to make a smart kettlebell, or how can you make that interesting and worth the price? Well, it allows you to adjust the weight in seconds with six different weight options in one device, so it saves you, obviously, from taking out the room in your house or your studio or wherever it is by allowing you to just buy one kettlebell. And as a lot of you will know, kettlebell workouts are renowned for helping you to burn calories fast and workout a number of different muscle groups simultaneously. In fact, a study published on WebMD that involved 10 men and women, and they all performed a variety of kettlebell workouts for 20 minutes, and they found that the subjects burned, on average, 20 calories a minute. So that’s 400 calories for the 20 minute workout, which is insane. If you’re someone who usually just tries to run the treadmill that feels like forever. So maybe switching to kettlebell workouts might be the right solution for you to burn some more calories, and that’s actually equivalent to running a six minute mile as well, which is pretty impressive as well.

07:16: Again, a cool feature, not just the fact that you have the six different weight options within the one kettlebell, but you can adjust the weight from 12 to 42 pounds in just three seconds. So this is a cool feature if you’re wanting to do drop sets for example, and you’re really wanting to max your calories out by hitting eight reps of each weight and gradually going down, for example, or even working your way up. So, really cool that it can just do that so quickly. The Kettlebell Connect requires you to download the accompanying JaxJox app as well, and in the app you’ll be asked to set up a profile with your basic personal information, like many apps. So that’ll be your gender, your weight and your fitness level. And then you’ll pair your kettlebell via Bluetooth to the app. And then within the app, you can set goals, so that could be, you want to complete 60 kettlebell swings a day and however many sets you want to do as well. Or you could set week-long goals and obviously each week after you’ve, fingers crossed, hit your goal for the week, you could go for even more reps and sets, and you can also record what weight you did of those reps and sets as well, if you want to progressively overload your muscles, and then obviously you just up the weight by clicking the plus button on the front display of the kettlebell.

08:26: So very cool that you can track your kettlebell workouts within the app and you don’t actually have to write down each kettlebell swing you do on a piece of paper, because that can get quite tedious. The Kettlebell Connect allows you to connect nine users, so you can have eight of your friends to have their own profile using it as well. And the JaxJox app records your reps, sets, weight, power and workout time. They’ll also give you a score to help you assess whether you’re getting fitter, called the JaxJox’s Fitness IQ. And this considers a number of different factors, like your body weight, your chosen fitness level, your max and average power and your workout consistency. And the IQ is actually based on the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendation for fitness. If you also purchase the JaxJox Heart Rate Monitor, which sits on an adjustable chest strap, you can also track your heart rate within the app as well, so that you can see how hard you’re really working, what sort of a heart rate level you’re training at.

09:21: Next up we have the Polar H10 or the Polar H One Zero, however you want to say it, and this is one of the most accurate heart rate sensors on the market. Again, it’s a chest strap with the heart rate monitor sitting within it, and this is arguably more accurate than a wrist wearable as well. And we’re gonna really consider this and we’ll talk about why this is useful to help you burn more calories during your cardio workouts in the context of going on runs. So if you’re someone that does a lot of running on the treadmill or outdoors for your cardio workouts, this could be a great device for you. So before we move on to why it’s so good for running, you can actually connect the Polar H10 with lots of different fitness apps and gym equipment and also smart watches to get a more well-rounded idea of your training and fitness and how everything’s going and whether you’re progressing towards your goal or not.

10:08: What’s also cool is you can leave your phone or watch at home. I’m someone that doesn’t like really having something bouncing around in my pocket when I’m running. So that’s quite nice that you can leave your phone at home. And the reason being is because a single session can store up to 65 hours, and I would imagine your sessions won’t be that long, so I wouldn’t worry about not being able to track any of your data even if you’re on a long, long run for example. You can also connect it to GoPro‘s four and five, so you can actually add heart-rate data to your video. So if you’re someone who wants to post on social media, for example, one of your running routes, then it might be quite cool to show what your heart rates were during different points of your run, if it’s particularly scenic and you’ve got a chest strap or a head strap on, for example, with the GoPro.

10:47: So you may have heard previously that heart rate training is an effective way to build your cardiovascular fitness. Heart rate training uses your heart rates and beats per minute, BPM, or your percentage of your maximum heart rate as a guide for the intensity you’re going to train at. I’m gonna go a bit on a tangent here and talk a little bit about heart rate training, so you can understand how the Polar H10 might help you train and burn more calories, for example, and keep track of your heart rate as you train. So you’d use the Polar H10 to be able to train yourself to run at a specific effort for a set timeframe or a set distance, for example. So the first thing you’d want to do is calculate your max heart rate by doing an equation like the Tanaka equation, which is 208 minus, and then obviously in brackets, 0.7 times your age, and that will find out your max heart rate, and then you can find out your different training zones by multiplying your max by a percentage.

11:37: So, for example, if you’re max heart rate is 190 and you want to train in zone one, you times your max heart rate by between 0.55, so 55% and/or 0.65, 65%, giving you 104.5 to 123.5, and this would be your zone one, sort of comfortable warm up and cool down pace. So if you wanted to go on a very leisurely cool down, you might want to keep your heart rate in zone one. If you want to move onto zone two, which is usually the bulk of your training, then that’s 65-75% of your max heart rate. Zone three, 75-85%. You’re pushing yourself harder here. And then obviously zone four, 85-95% where you’re really going quite fast, maybe a 5k really trying to push it as hard as possible for your cardio, and obviously deciding on which zone to maintain whilst wearing the Polar H10, would obviously help you push harder and burn more calories if you’re trying to maintain zone three for a longer period of time, than you have previously done, for example.

12:34: In the accompanying Polar Beat app, you can see your max heart rate, the duration of your run, the average heart rate, calories burned and also what percentage of those calories are estimated to be fat rather than energy stores. So if your cardio sessions are dominated by running, the Polar H10 could be for you. And heart rate training could also be something you might want to consider to kick your training up a notch.

12:57: Finally, we’re moving into the high end now, so quite expensive bits of kit here. The first item we’re looking at is the Hydrow Rower, and this has been called the Peloton of rowing. So I’m sure all of you have found out that getting yourself in the rowing machine can definitely help shed weight. If you’re working up a sweat by either doing short 200 metre blasts, or if you’re doing longer 1,500 metre sessions, these are grueling. They are really quite tiring, but obviously, get results and help you build your cardiovascular fitness as well.

13:25: But your willpower can often give way. You often don’t end up hitting your calorie target or your distance target because all you’re focusing on is that monotonous motion of rowing, and that can leave you to give up and be quite down-heartened because, as I said, it is quite monotonous and all you’re focusing on is the pain that you are currently experiencing. However, the Hydrow Rower creates a more immersive experience, so you’re gonna get more enjoyment out of your rowing and obviously more distraction. So it should make you want to row for longer, and hence burn more calories. It has a digital touchscreen display that enables you to get your exercise in, in four different ways. But before we touch on this, it is worth saying that the rower alone cost $2,100. And then you’ll have to pay $38 a month to get access to all the live and on-demand classes that are on offer from Hydrow. So very expensive, but obviously, if rowing is a massive part of your cardio regime, it maybe worthwhile investing in. And obviously, you can put one in your home or in your studio, or whatever space you have for one, as well.

14:28: So as I mentioned, there are four ways you can use Hydrow Rowing to help you stick to your cardio session. That’s either opting for a live rowing session, which is broadcasted from instructors that are really actually on the water or in the studio. And there’s also on-demand classes for you to do at any time, 24/7. There’s also a serene mode which allows you to potentially go about a longer, more endurance session, as you’re… There’s a full experience going on there, with quiet bird sounds, running water. So that’s maybe if you’re clocking in for a long, slow endurance row, just to burn a shedload of calories. Perhaps you had a massive meal before and had the need to burn some of that off. And finally, there is a whole body fitness mode, which allows you to do yoga, stretching, functional movement, and resistance training. But obviously from that, you might be thinking, “How do you do resistance training and yoga on a rowing machine?” But these are actually floor-based sessions, so obviously, it’s not just a rowing machine in this regard. It does give you some limited options for different types of exercises as well.

15:25: And Hydrow’s rowing classes vary from a short, how to row tutorial, make sure you get the right form, to a 45-minute intensive rowing session. The mat classes are, as I said, not varied, but there might be something like a five-minute cool down or a 20-minute core class, or things like that, but it’s nice to obviously have the option. The rowing classes are shot from a number of different angles as well, because a lot of people, when they get in the rowing machine, aren’t really using the full power of their body, so they’re not actually maxing the amount of calories they burn and they’re not really doing the form properly so you might end up with some aches and pains. But you’re taught by a professional, you’re shown the different angles to be shown how to, obviously, replicate their movements. You’re also given the real-time stats, like estimated calorie burn, distance traveled and time spent. And there’s also a leader board, if you’re doing a live class, so you can take on others and test your fitness against all the other competition in the class as well. So as I said, serious investment, but if you’re someone that focuses a lot on rowing for your cardio workouts, this could be right for you.

16:22: And finally, something quite similar, but not quite. I’m sure you’ve noticed obviously that everything these days is becoming smart. It’s integrated with technology to try and optimize performance, whether that be jewelry, like the Oura Ring to help you sleep better, or that’s clothing or sensory running kits, for example. All sorts. Everything’s being integrated with technology now, and soon, there will be smart mats. So a company called Otari, is planning on launching a smart exercise mat to help you smash out workouts in the comfort of your own home, as if you had your own trainer. These are planning on being launched in early 2020, but again, it will set you back a hefty amount. They’re planning to launch for just under $1,000 with roughly $39 a month for the on-demand fitness content. And it’s very similar to the likes of Peloton and Mirror and Hydrow Rower we just discussed. You’ll be having a sort of digital display at the end of the mat, that you’re obviously purchasing, and in the mat it’s embedded with a camera and a pose recognition technology to help you understand whether you’re performing the exercise the right way or the right technique. And it will also count your reps and track your progress.

17:28: You’ll be able to do either on-demand classes, so you can do them 24/7. Or again, live classes, so you can test your skills against the rest of the class. So there’s a theme at the moment. Obviously, on the back of the success of Peloton and the Peloton treadmill, and we’ve got the Hydrow Rower and Mirror, and now smart mats coming out. So obviously, it just depends on your preference, really. The classes Otari will offer will range from yoga to pilates, bootcamps, and many, many more. There’s also an option to start a personalized 90-day training plan. So it won’t take up much room in your house, but you’ll be able to do a lot of different exercises and potentially that can keep you more excited than a Peloton, for example. As although the classes change, you’re doing the same movement, so if you’re someone who likes mixing up their routine, it could be for you, and you’ll get a whole ton of different bodyweight circuits.

18:18: So we’ve seen a number of different bits of tech here that can help push you harder and teach you [chuckle] how to distract yourself from the horrible pain of cardio, and even obviously train with different techniques, like heart rate training with the Polar H10. Fitness tech is becoming better at motivating you and helping us become more engaged in the fitness and activity, helping us improve our technique. The likes of Vi-headphones, which we haven’t discussed today, give us sort of coaching tips on our running as we’re using them. There’s devices like the Gymwatch by Strenx, that we’ve covered before, that helps you work out your strength outputs. The JaxJox obviously turns a difficult exercise of kettlebell swings to allow us to do drop sets very quickly, so we can exhaust ourselves even more, and push the limits of what our body can do even harder.

19:00: So it’ll be really exciting to see after this summer what else comes out in this space. And especially looking towards 2020, what else is released, what sneak previews we can find out about for some future episodes. So I really hope you enjoyed, and hopefully some of this tech will help make the pain of cardio just that bit easier and you’ll be able to burn a load of calories to help you stay in shape for summer. So we’ll see you next time.

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Lilla Laczo

Lilla is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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