By: Jen Jewell
My number one fitness rule is to always have fun with my workouts, especially my cardio sessions. Fortunately for me, I actually LIKE cardio but I understand that’s not the case for everyone, which is why it’s paramount to get creative with your workouts. It keeps things interesting and it keeps your body guessing and progressing. If you’re bored with the same old treadmill steppin’, then try one of these options below to remix your workouts.
I know that when most of us hear the term HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), we think of sprinting on a track or treadmill and pushing ourselves to the point of passing out. This isn’t always the case. ANYONE can do a form of HIIT, we simply have to modify it by varying levels of intensity per interval. Typically, I’ll have my clients choose their preferred cardio machine and throw in HIIT to crank up their training. For a modified version of HIIT, try the following workout using any cardio machine.
For every 3 minutes of moderate intensity, go “all out” for 30 seconds. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes.
2. CARDIO BURSTS
Want to knock out weight training and cardio in a single session? Say hello to “cardio bursts”. If one of your goals is to maximize your time in the gym while torching extra calories, then the next time you are weight training, don’t rest between sets. This is typically the format for a circuit style workout where you move through exercises back-to-back until you finish a round. You can jump rope for 60 seconds, perform mountain climbers for 30-60 seconds, or do burpees and medicine ball slams. The goal is to keep your heart rate elevated between sets, which adds to the total caloric expenditure of your workout. As a bonus, it’s also a way to revamp your weight training–making your workouts more challenging and a bit more interesting, all at once.
3. “HOP OFF” THE CARDIO MACHINE
If steady state cardio isn’t something you feel like doing, no problem. Hop on a machine and add in a fun challenge like the one listed below. Note: I specifically used the step mill for this workout, but you can perform this on any cardio machine.
How to: You will need a step mill (or cardio machine of your choice), an 8-12 lb. medicine ball, and a small space directly behind the cardio equipment. Go 5 minutes on the step mill at a moderate intensity. Then hop off, and in the space behind the step mill perform:
- 20 Medicine Ball Slams
- 20 Jump Squats
- 20 Burpees
After these are complete, hop back on the step mill for another 5 minutes of moderate intensity work. Hop off and repeat the challenge. Repeat the cycle until you have completed this 4-6 times through.
Although cardio shouldn’t be the ONLY focus of your training, it is essential for overall heart health and endurance. It doesn’t have to be a drag. With a little creativity and willingness to try something new, you may find you actually enjoy your cardio workouts! Grab some BCAAs and get to training!