My steady pace cardio is 40 minutes in the gym using the Life Fitness cross-trainer. I set the level to 17 to get my heart rate up to 140bpm then level my ‘cruise level’ of 16 keeps it there (plus or minus 2bpm) until the 40 minutes is complete.
This rate is pretty much at the top end of my fat-burning range, heading towards anaerobic (but not quite into that zone). I feel I burn the most calories from fat at this particular number.
This is pretty intensive for cardio, and I love it. It burns close to 600 calories (according to the machine) at my 75kg weight; although I doubt this is accurate, its a good clue as to the amount of energy being spent.
The speed is whatever goes with the beat of the music track I’m listening to. Its not at all enjoyable to cross-train at a pace that isn’t in synch with the music. So the level has to change with the music; if its a fast track, the heart rate may go up – if it gets to 143bpm (outside my maximum of 140 plus or minus 2), then I will drop the level to 15 or 14 from the usual 16 until its 140 and I reset to level 16 again. And if its a slow track, the heart rate may go down – if it gets to 137bpm (outside my target zone of 140 plus or minus 2), then I will go up one to level 17 until its 140 then back to the standard level 16. I don’t do level 18, its too tough and 17 always gets the heart rate back up quickly.