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 five 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 rarely 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! In fact, everyone looks like they’re punishing themselves. They’re definitely having zero fun.
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 protocol into your workout routine. This style of training calls for 20 seconds work ratio to 10 seconds rest ratio for a total of about 4-5 minutes. 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 may even start to see positive body composition changes! Sweet!!!
4. Do bodyweight 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, floor bridges, plank variations, mountain climbers, inchworms, crawls, burpees, wall sits, lunges, handstands, 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. 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, snowboarding, swimming, etc. Mix it up! The only rule is you must have fun! Cardio shouldn’t be something you dread doing. Let’s change our mindset about what we think about cardio. It’s not punishment, it’s just another way to move that amazing body of yours!
Who says you have to do cardio on a boring machine to shed fat? Not me! Have fun and train hard, y’all!