By Myprotein Writer |
Danny Worf Spicer
Cardio can be any type of movement that raises the heart rate and increases blood circulation. It is a bit like marmite, you either love your morning run or you hate it, but either way sometimes cardio is a necessary evil in your workout routine.
The beauty about cardio is that it can be performed anywhere, at any time. Leaving you with no excuses not to get it in!
The majority of people use cardio as a way to burn off those extra calories in order to burn body fat or to be able to eat more food. All types of cardio burn calories; however some movements are more efficient than others.
There are some other huge health benefits too, including but not limited to; improved heart health, reducing recovery time from a tough weights session, stress relief and an increase in metabolic rate making it even easier to burn more calories. But the benefits are not what this article is about; here are 7 ways to stop your cardio from being a chore!
#1 Switch It Up
I’m not sure about you, but I would not find walking on an incline treadmill for 45 minutes 3 times a week fun and this is why it becomes a chore. Instead you should switch up how you perform cardio; there are numerous pieces of equipment in the gym to get your heart pumping, so why not use them?
Doing the same thing over and over again will become boring for anyone, but there is so many variations you can make to change things up a bit. Instead of low intensity steady state cardio (LISS – e.g. long walks on the treadmill) why not throw in a high intensity interval training session (HIIT – high impact activity for 20 seconds with a 40 second rest, repeat this 10-15 times) which can actually burn more calories but in less time than LISS cardio.
✓ Or set up your own circuit training regime. Perform 6 heart pumping exercises for 60 seconds with a 30 second rest in between. Have a 3-minute break after the 6th exercise and start again!
Do this for 3 rounds and you will have burnt a huge amount of calories without even thinking.
Common exercises to throw in would include press ups, bodyweight squats, burpees, ab crunches, planks, star jumps, kettlebell swings and skipping rope but you can choose whichever exercises you want and change it up whenever you get bored.
#2 Take Up A New Sport/Hobby
One of my favourite ways to make cardio more fun is to take up new sports or just play your favourite sport more regularly. Kill two birds with one stone by burning up a mass of calories whilst perfecting your sports techniques.
Whether it is football, rugby, tennis or boxing all of these will burn calories just as much as you would on the treadmill without realising you are doing it.
Taking up new sports has the added benefit of meeting new people and creating a new social group of friends with similar interests as you.
✓ Playing sports brings the best out of people and will certainly improve your confidence and leadership skills whilst giving you that competitive edge.
#3 Include The Family
Many parents will put off cardio as they simply do not have the spare time as they are always looking after their children. The best way round this is to involve members of the family with your cardio.
If you have a newborn, try going on long walks with them in the pram or even carrying them, this added weight will increase the resistance of your walking and will increase the calories burnt.
Slightly older children?
No problem, go to the park and play football with them, walk the dog as a family go for a family bike ride. You could even set up your own circuit training routine and have the whole family join in.
✓ There is nothing more motivating to do those couple extra reps than trying to impress your kids!
#4 Make Some Changes
Struggling for motivation to do actual regimented cardio? Staying consistent with a cardio program can be difficult, however by making some small changes to your day-to-day life you can burn those extra calories without even realising it.
I know it sounds silly when people say it, but choosing the stairs over the elevator, walking to work instead of driving, carrying a basket around the supermarket and cycling to the gym.
✓ All of these general activities will all add up to increase your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and will help you to burn fat with the added benefit of doing your bit to save the planet.
If you get bored of cardio easily or find that a minute on the treadmill feels like 10 then try and do other things whilst performing cardio. Some of the tasks I like to complete during my (LISS – Low Intensity Steady State) morning cardio, include:
✓ Checking and responding to personal/work emails.
✓ Catching up on my social media feeds.
✓ Updating my workout and food logs.
✓ Planning out my day & brainstorming new ideas.
✓ Catching up with some of my favourite TV shows/podcasts/films.
You can see that the list is endless and it seems to be a real waste of time performing LISS cardio without combining it with another activity, which will either make the time pass quicker or make your day more productive – or even both!
#6 Join A Class
Cardio on your own can be a real drag, causing you to give up.
All of these classes will have members similar to you, wanting to burn a few extra calories but also want to socialise and feel part of a group whilst doing it.
Being part of this group atmosphere and having a great instructor to help you along will certainly provide the motivation to give it your all.
#7 Don’t Overdo It
Lastly, some people think that they have to do hours upon hours of walking, running, cycling or rowing just to lose weight, this is completely false. Fat loss is dependent on being in a caloric deficit, meaning you burn more calories in a day than what you consume.
People with this misconception get bored of cardio very quickly because of the high frequency in which they are performing it and this causes them to stop altogether.
✓ I recommend that the general population perform cardio 2-4 times a week in order to live a healthy lifestyle whilst balancing life in the gym with life outside of the gym.
Take Home Message
In conclusion, cardio is as boring or as exciting as you make it, sometimes you can do cardio without even realising you are doing it. Doing the same thing over and over again will get boring quickly and that is when you no longer want to make the effort.
Try some of these tips in order to stay motivated and keep on top of your cardio.