What do you think of when you hear the word “cardio”? The elliptical? Spin class? Going for a jog?
While these exercises can be beneficial, have you ever wondered if there was a more fun way to do cardio?
Luckily there is! The following are my top six tips to have more fun with cardio and still burn fat:
1. Ditch the machines!
Ok, you knew that one was coming! Doing steady state cardio isn’t as effective as people once thought. Yeah, it helps burn calories, but it doesn’t really help with body composition (muscle to fat ratios) that much. What I mean is, you’ll never get the toned look you’re after from doing steady state cardio alone. And besides, it’s really boring! Have you ever seen anyone at a gym that really looks like they’re having a good time on the cardio machines? It’s because they’re not!
2. Add HIIT training!
Ok, ok, you REALLY don’t want to cut back on your cardio. I get it, change is hard. Try incorporating the HIIT (High Intesity Interval Training) protocol into your workout routine. HIIT is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.
An example of this could be 20 seconds of full effort sprints coupled with 10 seconds of standing/slow walking. Let me tell you, after 8-10 rounds of the HIIT protocol (only 4-5 minutes of exercise!), you won’t need any other type of cardio! Studies have shown that this style of training is a superior method for fat loss. Try it out and let me know what you think!
3. Lift weights!
Wait, lift weights for cardio? Yep, that’s right! If you lift weights and don’t get out of breath, you might be doing something wrong. Weight training is meant to challenge your body. If you never challenge your body, how do you expect it to change? That’s right, no challenge, no change! Don’t be afraid to push yourself by picking up heavier weights or going for that extra set. Your body will love it! You will start to see positive body composition changes!
4. Do body weight exercises!
But, you just told me to lift weights? Well, doesn’t your body weigh something? Sometimes lifting body weight can be just as hard as traditional weight training. An added benefit of body weight exercises is that you need no equipment. Your body is always with you, so no excuses! Some examples of body weight exercises are squats, push-ups, pull-ups, plank variations, mountain climbers, burpees, wall sits, lunges, box step ups, and the list goes on. Try doing a few of those exercises back to back and let me know if it doesn’t feel like “cardio”. I bet it will!
5. Train with a buddy!
Workout partners can help you stay committed to fitness and have fun. Exercise partners provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and, in some cases, healthy competition. They can play the role of teammate, co-coach and cheerleader — all while working out. Ready to partner up? Great! But before you recruit the first warm body you see, keep in mind that not all workout buddies are created equal. If you choose someone who does not share a similar commitment to fitness, that can be a distraction or even a deterrent. When you havea reliable workout buddy that drasticly increases your chances of sticking with your program.
6. Get outside!
Yep, the world is a remarkable place, get out there and experience it! Pick something that you enjoy doing. Surfing, horseback riding, hiking, roller skating, kayaking, walking on the beach, water skiing, snow boarding, swimming, etc. Mix it up! The only rule is you must have fun! Cardio shouldn’t be something you dread doing! Who says you have to do cardio on a boring machine to shed fat? Not me!
Have fun and train hard!