Let’s face it, cardio sucks. The only thing less exciting than a funeral is sitting on a stationary bike for 40 minutes waiting for the timer to elapse. But if you’re in a hardcore shredding phase or just trying to lose a few extra pounds, cardio is one of the tools necessary to make it happen. So what happens next?
You get on the elliptical machine or stationary bike and let your mind go dead until your time is up. It doesn’t have to be that way. Cardio doesn’t have to be mind-numbingly boring. There are different techniques you can apply or ways of implementing cardiovascular workouts without the boredom.
HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO CURE THE CARDIO BLUES
The concept and science behind interval cardio are pretty simple and effective. Less time with more intensity to produce greater results. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves small bursts of high-intensity exercise mixed with a steady cooling off/recuperation period.
A total HIIT workout may only last 7 to 8 minutes, but during that time, you will have exerted 100% of your force/speed several times for a 10 to 20-second period. Let’s use running as an example. Start on a treadmill at a slow steady pace and continue this way for 60 seconds.
Once that time is up, sprint full speed for 20 seconds and then return to your slower pace for another 60 seconds to recover for the next burst of maximum output. You typically repeat this five to six times, and that’s it.
Studies have shown that this type of exercise forces your body to burn more calories during and after your workout, due to the maximum effort you repeatedly exert.
JUMP ROPE (SKIPPING)
Skipping rope is an amazing way not only to burn fat but also to improve coordination and fast twitch muscles in your legs and shoulders. If you’re new to skipping, it’s probably best you aim for a regular pace, where the rope passes your feet in a single jump. Make sure you warm up your ankles and shoulders since you extensively work body parts during this exercise.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it and can continue at a steady pace, try skipping backwards to challenge yourself a little more. Set rounds and timers to keep track of progress and you can even implement a HIIT workout with your skipping session.
Very few sports train and condition the entire body the way boxing does. Nowadays, almost all gyms offer a boxing class several times throughout the week.
Taking a class once in a while will make for an exciting way for you to burn calories and not even feel like you’re doing cardio. Apart from the incredible health benefits, it also provides you with self-defence, in case you’re ever in a sticky situation.
While I’m not a huge advocate of a mundane 40-minute stint on a stationary bike, spinning classes are an entirely different experience altogether. These classes are usually done with other gym goers and an instructor who, to the tune of an energising soundtrack, will shout instructions to increase or decrease your speed and intensity.
It is not uncommon to burn 1000+ calories in a spinning class, so if you’ve been cheating on your diet recently, that’s probably not a bad way to start your morning.
Keeping cardio exercises varied will certainly help you attain your goals without going insane from boredom.