Waking up early in the morning to start your day, grabbing a cup of coffee, getting breakfast followed by your run. You run the same blocks or track, pounding the same pavement, in the same monotonous manner. This inevitably becomes a routine that you dread, and to no surprise.
Cardio is arguably hated more than weight training or other types of exercise and for good reason: many of us fail here when it comes to variety.
We do the same thing day in and day out which may be good for consistency, but certainly isn’t encouraging or enticing. It can be even worse for people who go to the gym, you don’t even get the luxury of a change of scenery and are competing for a treadmill.
Here are some ways you can make your cardio routine more bearable the next time you’re headed to the gym.
1. Get into the Zone
Getting into the zone-where your mind is completely clear and only focused on the task at hand can be really difficult at the gym. There are so many distractions around you from the various people, noise coming from the radio/television and of course from the machines you’re using. It can be data overload, which can really get you out of your element.
In order to focus on your workout to get better results and to make it more bearable, you need to tone out or eliminate some of the source of distraction. The first step here is to take a towel, book, piece of paper or whatever you can find and cover up the screen on the treadmill or elliptical.
Many of us make the mistake of just becoming obsessed over watching the time remaining number tick to zero, estimated calories burned, distance travelled, etc. Being obsessed over these numbers and being too concerned with them is just going to make your workout feel like it is going on forever, so avoid doing so.
2. Change Machines
If you are getting sick of working out on the treadmill or on the elliptical, switch things up. While there aren’t a million pieces of cardio equipment available in your average gym, there are other options out there.
One really great piece of cardio equipment that many people overlook is the rowing machine. Not only does this machine give you a full body workout, it does so with minimal impact on the joints making it great for people with knee problems.
Personally I find that swapping from a treadmill to an elliptical halfway throughout my exercise to be both beneficial and fun. The treadmill allows me to run forwards and then I can hop on the elliptical to go in reverse which gives the legs an excellent burn.
3. Interval Training
Not only should you consider switching up the machines you use, but the programs you are using as well. Many people stick to running/jogging/walking at the same pace, at the same incline with the same resistance. Doing so is not only boring, but not varying things up can cause you to burn a lot less calories than you could be if you’re doing otherwise.
Interval training is a great way to combat this, as switching up your intensity and the level of incline for example is going to tax your body more by increasing the difficulty, making things more interesting. Higher difficulty means that you have to try harder and thus expend more energy, helping you to drop more weight in the process.
4. Schedule Ahead of Time
The idea of making a workout plan beforehand is one foreign to many people, but it is a strategy that definitely works. Admittedly when we go to the gym we have other things on our mind, and it can be easy to forget how to do a new exercise or routine that we wanted to try out the next time around.
When this happens we inevitably fall back to something we are familiar with, like our usual boring routine. When you go grocery shopping and have numerous things you need you tend to write it down, right? Well it would make sense to do the same when it comes to your workout, which can help add variety and fun to them.
The key here is to remember to be specific as possible: things like “warmup on cycle at 8MPH for 5min” and “treadmill for 10min at a 30 degree angle” are some specifics you definitely don’t want to rely on your memory for in the thick of things.