How To Break Out Of Your Cardio Rut

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Have you had enough of slogging through your cardio workouts on the treadmill? It’s tough being stuck indoors for months on end! Has your cardio workout even gotten so boring that you just avoid doing it all together? Nothing against the treadmill. It’s a great way to get a workout… when it’s part of a mix. But unless you just looove the tread mill, it’s time for a change! Even if you do adore your treadmill time, changing up your workouts from time to time is still a good thing.

If you get bored with your fitness program you’re not going to stick with it. But consistency is crucial in fitness. So, what can you do to shake things up?

First of all, let’s do a reality check… what does your overall program look like? If cardio is your go to, if it’s all or most of what you’re doing, then that’s the first change you should make. Swap out some of those cardio sessions for strength training. The benefits go way beyond relieving boredom. Strength training is a must for any well rounded exercise program. If you’re not already, start by adding a session or two into your weekly schedule.

Fortunately there are plenty of great cardio options out there. So, if you’re already doing strength training and it’s just the cardio sessions that need a little refreshing you’re in luck. Here are some things to try…

Metabolic conditioning (metcon) – These workouts (follow the link for an example metcon workout that requires no equipment, very little space and only 12 minutes) are super intense. They get your heart rate up. They get you sweating. And they do it in a fraction of the time of a traditional cardio session. Not only that, but they offer something called the after burn effect. This means you’ll be burning extra calories for up to 36 hours after your workout is done. These workouts are tough, but the payoff is well worth it. Check out my post on metcon workouts for more info.

HIIT workouts – These are really similar to metabolic conditioning. The difference is that rather than ditching the treadmill altogether, a HIIT workout can be a way to breathe new life into your treadmill sessions. HIIT workouts use a time based structure of alternating high and moderate intensity. You warm up for a few minutes first, then the intervals start. An example workout would be: 5 minute warm-up, 1 minute moderate intensity + 30 seconds high intensity, repeat x 10, 5 minute cool-down. These workouts will give you similar benefits to the metabolic conditioning workouts and they keep you busy. Between keeping an eye on the your timer and monitoring your intensity level you have enough to keep you occupied. Like the metcon workouts, HIIT workouts are much shorter than traditional cardio

DVDs – There are so many great DVDs! They have great music, great moves, and great instructors. There’s an at home Zumba collection. I’m a fan of Beachbody workouts like Insanity and Turbofire. You can often find workout DVDs that can be borrowed from your local library and if you have an account, from Netflix.

YouTube – Got Internet? If you’ve got a streaming device (Roku, AppleTV, etc.) or a smart TV there are tons of workout videos on YouTube. I’ve found many great full length workouts on the site. This is a great way to get tons of variety and it’s FREE. 🙂

Breaking out of a cardio rut is easy. Try one or all of these suggestions. Maybe this has sparked some ideas of your own. The great thing about having cardio options is that they’re great all year long. Even though you might like to get out for a run or a hike in the summer, sometimes it rains. Sometimes it’s just too hot out (I know that’s really hard to imagine at the moment!). Then there are times when you’re short on time and a quick metcon or HIIT workout is all you can fit into your busy day.

Variety is the key. It’s the key to keep away boredom. It’s the key to your sticking with it. It’s the key to continuing to get the results you work so hard for. And it’s the key to making your fitness plan work with your life.

photo credit: eccampbell via photopin cc

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2 Responses

  1. Stacy says:

    Thank you for this post! Just this morning, as I was on the treadmill, I was thinking that I need to switch things up a bit. Tomorrow, I’m going to try the example HIIT workout you gave for the treadmill. Just one question – what does HIIT stand for?

  2. Laura says:

    I’m glad you liked the post. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Have a great workout tomorrow!

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