It’s easy to fall into a workout rut, and specifically with your cardio. If you go to the gym and hop on a machine, are you more focused on your workout or the TV show/podcast/magazine keeping you entertained? For YEARS, I was the girl who hopped on the elliptical for 30 minutes with a trashy magazine and I also listened to music…all to distract me from my workout! How silly, when you consider that I dedicated 45-60 minutes to my workout and should have been able to focus specifically on my workout while I was at the gym.
When I work with clients who are looking to get toned or lose weight, I always talk to them about their cardio habits. More often than not, people tend to stick to one type of cardio and there’s usually at least one thing to “distract” them from the workout. The simple fact that people are spending time to work on their cardiovascular fitness is great! Like all things in life, there are opportunity for improvements.
Upping the intensity of your cardio workout doesn’t have to be overly complicated or cause you to pass out from exhaustion. Adding some simple intervals, increasing resistance, and switching up the type of cardio you do can help accomplish this goal. Here are a few specific ideas to get you excited about your next gym session:
- Elliptical trainer – Alternate between a moderate and difficult resistance level. Try 3 min at moderate level and 2 min at difficult resistance and repeat 6-8 times.
- Walking on treadmill – Add an incline for several minutes. Try 2% for 4 min and 6% for 2 min. Repeat 5-8 times.
- Stationary bike – You can add intensity in a variety of ways on the bike. Add 30-60 second bursts of a standing climb (make sure you up the resistance) every 3-4 minutes.
- Some machines may have an interval or a hill interval program. These are great options if you want to start simply. Just make sure that at the peak resistance or challenge, you are working hard. If it’s too easy, you won’t necessarily get the benefits from an interval workout.
- Try something new – Make the move from your favorite elliptical to another cardio machine or simply take your workout outside. You’ll work new muscles and your body will thank you.
By upping the intensity of a cardio workout using intervals, there are a few benefits that one can expect to achieve:
- Increased calorie burn – typically, the harder your body works, the more energy you expend and therefore the more calories you burn.
- Increased metabolic rate after the workout is over – adding intervals to your workout is a simple way to enhance your post-workout calorie burn.
- Increased muscle fatigue – it will make you stronger over time!
- Improved heart health – by pushing your heart rate into different zones throughout the workout, your heart gets a better workout.
If you have questions or would like specific guidance or support on your cardio workouts, let me know! I love sharing ideas and creative ways to enhance a workout.