Cardio is important for heart health and also for meeting your physique goals. While it is possible to lose weight without doing any cardio at all, many people prefer to put in the extra 30-45 minutes so they can eat a little bit more per day.
30-45 minutes of cardio can feel incredibly long if you’re not used to it. During some preps when I would have to do two 45-minute sessions a day, I dreaded every minute of it. I’d count the seconds as they ticked by, trying to motivate myself by doing some crazy mental math. “Five minutes have passed by! That’s a whole 9th of 45 minutes, so that’s like 10% done right? That’s not so bad!” Music and browsing Pinterest can get dull after a while, so I’m sharing with you my tips for making cardio less miserable.
What I started doing to motivate/distract myself was downloading episodes of a show on Netflix, and only watching an episode while doing cardio at the gym. I actually get excited about going to the gym the next day to find out what happens next in the plot line.
Another trick I’ve started doing is listening to audiobooks during cardio sessions only. Audible has an amazing selection and comes with a 30 day Free Trial (and two free books), but if you’re doing several hours of cardio a week, this can get pretty pricey. I also recommend signing up for Hoopla, an app that syncs to your library’s audiobook collection. It’s completely free, and you can ‘check out’ 8 digital items for 30 days.
Podcasts also work really well. Many of them are 45 minutes to an hour long, so they’re the perfect length. You can listen to the news, learn something new, and generally feel more productive with your time. My favorites are Freakonomics and Stuff Mom Never Told You.
If you’re more socially driven, try a group class! I’ve heard great things about Orange Theory and Soul Cycle – the atmosphere of their classes encourages you to push hard and keep up the intensity. I’ve done some spin classes at 24 Hour Fitness, and I challenged myself to do more of the exercises the instructor was demonstrating, and to crank up the intensity when I could. Because I was so focused on pushing my limits, I barely noticed the hour fly by.
Finally, you could try changing up your cardio routine. For fat loss purposes, It doesn’t matter what exercise you do, as long as you get your heart rate up. Whenever I get bored, I’ll do 15 rounds of kettlebell swings or battle ropes (15 seconds on, 45 seconds off). You’ll be surprised at how much of a cardio workout you can get by using your upper body! You can also try something novel, like roller skating. It’s fun, you can go fast, and your heart will be racing if you do some fast laps around the track.
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