Let me tell you straight up, I don't enjoy cardio. Not a lick. But, it does have some benefits. It strengthens your heart, releases hormones to ease symptoms of depression and fatigue, and reduces stress and risk of heart attack. So it's not something you want to neglect.
We usually use cardio as a way to burn a few extra calories if we're going for that lean bodybuilding look. So now we need to figure out how to make cardio more enjoyable.
1. Choose Something You Enjoy
When you say cardio what's the first thing you think of? Treadmill? Stairstepper? Find something that you enjoy doing and that you can keep up with long term. That can be sports, hiking, group classes, dancing, etc. For me, that was softball growing up and today I get to play flag football. Never have I dreaded playing any sports game, and I'm literally running around for an hour. Cardio wins.
2. Create a Fire Playlist
My playlist varies from day to day, 90s R&B, oldies, gansta hip hop, pop, either way a new playlist gets me excited to workout. Time flies with a good playlist. Ask your friends what they listen to. I also will mix in audiobooks or podcasts. I gravitate towards motivational ones; Lewis Howes, David Goggins, Brendon Burchard, to name a few.
3. Keep Cardio 20-30 min MAX
How dreadful does 45 minutes of cardio sound? A piece of me just died saying that. What I find most effective is 20 minutes of interval cardio (some days I only do 10!). Mix it up each day with HIIT, jump rope (just don't twist your ankle), or going outdoors. Increase the speed or incline during commercials. Keep your mind and body guessing. Unless you enjoy running, I would advise sticking with high intensity interval training. Shorter and more effective. Professional bodybuilders are the only ones that may need to be doing 45 minutes of cardio. If you end up doing a longer steady state cardio, change up the machines every 15-20 minutes. Keep it interesting.
5. Take a Pre-Workout
Hype up your body so you can numb the pain of doing cardio. LOL Sometimes all you need to do is get started and you're home free.
6. Find a Workout Buddy
Misery loves company, right? Find someone who also needs help getting their cardio in. I strongly believe in accountability partners.
7. Concentrate of Form
Focus on your 90 degree elbow drive, your foot placement, your posture, your arm swing. Sometimes distracting yourself from the clock will make time pass.
Which of these have you tried already? What are you open to trying to up your cardio game?