So you've heard it a million times. To look how you want, to get that six pack, to lean out, to maintain muscle mass with no layers of fat over it, cardio is absolutely necessary. For some it is not so bad, but for most of us, myself included, it is a necessary evil. It seems especially taxing to those of us that have done it for years, and still continue to have to do cardio multiple times a week.
Why is it so boring? Why do we hate it so much? Because most people refuse to put any thought into cardio, they just do the same thirty to forty minute walk on the treadmill every time they workout. This is so monotonous.
People email me every day asking me how I stay motivated to do cardio all the time. I have news for you, I am no different than anyone else. I hated doing cardio, I loathed it in fact. Only over the last year have I begun to find ways to make it fun and look at it as a way to get creative. I don't hate cardio now.
I got creative, and its not so bad anymore. You have to just think if every time you went to the gym if you did the exact same weight routine, if you only worked out arms every single time. That would get really old fast. You have to change your thinking.
Cardio should be viewed as you view your weight training, or your social life, or your eating habits. What if every time you went out to eat, no matter who you were with, you went to have Mexican food?
What if every time you went out for a night on the town you went to see the exact same movie? It wouldn't take long before you never wanted to go out! This is what happens for people with cardio in most cases. You should constantly switch it up and do different things that will keep your interest.
My Top 10 Tips On Making Cardio Fun
1. Go To Class
First of all, nowadays there are so many different options in classes. Gyms offer cardio striptease, cycling, boxing, kickboxing, pilates, yoga, core integration, hip hop dance classes, boot camp, budokon, the list is endless. Most gyms offer classes all day long beginning in the early morning to the late evening. So you can't dance, okay, don't go for the hip hop class, try the cycling class. I would recommend you try any class that even remotely interests you.
Eventually you will find a variety of routines that all accomplish the same goal, to get your cardio in and burn some fat. Who knows, you may even make some friends and enjoy yourself!
2. Watch Your Favorite TV Show Or Movie
So maybe you are not a group exercise type of person and prefer to go it alone. That's fine too. Take something you like, say a particular TV show, and go to the gym during the time they will be showing it. Or watch it at your house while doing your treadmill.
3. Break Out The Music
Love music? Ever heard of an IPOD? Put together play lists that will inspire you to keep going. Another really cool feature on an IPOD is that you can design a slideshow out of images that you upload to the IPOD screen.
Get creative. If there is a particular model, celebrity, bodybuilder, or even pictures of yourself when you were in great shape, have them on the IPOD screen to inspire you when you want to quit.
4. Do More Than One Machine
If you are the type of person to get bored on the treadmill after ten minutes, go straight to the bike for ten more minutes, and then ten minutes later hit the elliptical rider.
As long as you are doing consistent cardio without stopping for 30 minutes minimum (obviously with just enough time to switch machines), it won't be as easy to get bored.
5. Get A Cardio Buddy
Find a walking buddy, in my experience; if I know a friend is going to be meeting me at the gym, chances are I'll show up. The time also goes by so much quicker when you have someone to talk to.
I walk three times a week outside with one of my friends, and it is the easiest cardio that I have ever done. Not because the routine is easy, but because we enjoy each other's company and the outdoor scenery.
6. Break Out The Magazines
I have a friend who must subscribe to every magazine ever made. That is what he does the entire time he is doing cardio, and before he knows it, it's over.
The only bad thing is you might be limited to looking at pictures depending on if you are running or what type of cardio you choose.
7. Do It In The Privacy Of Your Home
So what if you hate going to the gym? Okay, you antisocial freak. Just kidding. Lots of people are not alone in their desire to do cardio without feeling as if they are being watched. That is no excuse, there are so many different workout tapes, do it in your house. Ever heard of Carmen Electra's Cardio Striptease? What about Tae-bo?
Whatever tape you choose, just stick with it and make sure it's something you enjoy. Think tapes are lame, buy a treadmill. And use it.
8. Play A Video Game
While it is a more expensive option, PSP's and Gizmondo's, whatever your handheld console of choice, it is a fun one. There are so many things you can do on one of these devices, playing endless games, texting, watching a DVD. This is another great option to pass the time away.
9. Create A Reward System For Yourself
Make an agreement with yourself, and write it down. Hang it on the refrigerator or somewhere you will see it every day. Decide that if you do cardio consistently every day for two weeks, you will get yourself a new pair of shoes, a day off of work, a massage, or allow yourself a cheat day.
Whatever it may be that you would look forward to, knowing that you are working towards a reward is another inspiration to think about when you are doing cardio. It worked in elementary school with the gold stars from the teachers, so why not apply the same principle as an adult?
10. Use Cardio To Get Things Done
Sometimes, I check my email while I am on the treadmill on my cell phone. I respond, get lots of business stuff out of the way. Text your friends, use it as a time to stay in touch with people that you might not normally make time for. When was the last time you sent your mom a text? Never? Maybe its time to start. You'd be surprised how fast it will go by when you are replying to a friend.