Most people hate cardio. It can be boring and very repetitive. But people need to do cardio. One of the more common desires for people who engage in any sort of fitness program is losing excess fat and trimming up. You can’t do that without putting in the proper amount of time doing some sort of cardio activity.
While running, biking, or other outdoor activities are great, many of us also mix in time at the gym. But the indoor scene gets very boring very quickly no matter what is on the TV. So how can you stay motivated to get the work done you want or need to do? Make a game out of it!
Putting the Fun in Cardio
To keep my cardio activities out of the mind-numbing zone I opted to start having regular competitions with myself. Many people are naturally competitive whether they admit it or not. In the gym, a lot of us unconsciously compete against other people. If the person next to you is running on hard on the treadmill did you ever notice that you naturally try and keep up?
It is our nature.
So take advantage of that natural inclination and challenge yourself. To start, having a goal allows more focus. While ’30 minutes of cardio’ is a goal, that goal is time related and not effort related. So let’s set up some rules to get more effort out of your routines.
The Challenge Routine
Start by picking 3 to 4 cardio activities. You will do one activity per week. Make sure to keep a small log of what you are doing so you can track your progress.
The challenge is pretty simple. On the first day of the week you do cardio perform a regular workout. If you walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes then do it. When you are done mark down distance gone and calories burned. The next session make it your goal to beat that total by at least 5% in the same amount of time. If you are using an Elliptical machine you might try for more strides or on a stair climber aim for more floors climbed.
It may not seem like much but adding a 5% gain over a few sessions really adds up over a week. Let’s assume you do cardio 3 times per week. For your first session you burn 250 calories. Your next session you are at 262 calories, and the final session is at 275 calories.
Then to not get burned out, switch exercises and start with something new. After you cycle through your different exercises over a few weeks and get back to the first one, make sure you add at least 5% to the last outing (if not more).
Even though it might seem like a minor aspect to only try to get an extra 5% gain there is a reason why it works so well; the goal is attainable. People like to set goals and even more like to meet them. This level of increase is not only meaningful to your fitness goals but also attainable which keeps the enthusiasm level high.