At Method3 Fitness, our workouts are focused on strength training and interval training (often called the bootcamp style), but in order to create a balanced fitness routine, my coaching staff and I encourage all clients to add additional cardio at least 2-3 days a week. I know from experience that most people are in the dark about cardio activity. I frequently see the same clients performing the exact same cardio routine, over and over again on the same machine, at the same heart rate intensity, for the exact same number of minutes. If this sounds like you, I’m challenging you to break out of the box and mix up your cardio routine. This is ultimately what will help you get better, faster results on your fitness and weight loss journey.
Why You Don’t Mix Up Your Cardio Routine Now
There are all sorts of reasons for sticking to your usual cardio routine. Some are completely valid while others are excuses in disguise.
- Comfort. It’s a fact that some cardio exercises are more difficult than others. For example, I used to hate running because it felt so difficult. Yet, I was eventually able to overcome that and train for a half marathon. Like any habit, there are initial aches and pains, but once you get through it, you’ll kick some serious ass like I did!
- Convenience. Perhaps you don’t have a gym membership or cardio equipment of your own, so you always resort to the same old routine. This is completely understandable and a legitimate reason for not having varied your routine thus far. As I’ll show you in this blog, there are ways to mix up your cardio using variations of the same exercise.
- Fear. Finally, there will always be some types of cardio that we’re just not good at. The good thing is, you don’t have to be good at it in order to get a great workout! Plus, there are a few awesome benefits to picking up something that pushes your skill level.
Why You Should Mix Up Your Cardio Routine
Cardiovascular exercise is best for your body and your muscles when you change it up. Just like we vary the types of resistance exercises during Spark and Ignite sessions at Method3 Fitness, you should seek to vary your cardio sessions in as many ways as possible. To be more specific, you should mix up the type, length, and intensity of your cardio routine. This will helps you to:
- Engage new muscles that you might not be working with your typical routine.
- Increase your cardiovascular endurance so you can feel stronger even when you go longer.
- Burn more fat even when you spend less time on your workout.
Cardio Activities You Might Want To Try
The sky is the limit when it comes to the types of cardio activities out there. Swimming, running, hiking, cycling, kayaking, mountain biking, spinning, indoor rowers, basketball, volleyball and yes even some of the other machines at the gym like the stairclimber, which is great for preparing for big hikes, the elliptical trainer, stationary bike, and even group fitness classes like Zumba and other high intensity dance fitness formats. 🙂 And this is just a small sampling.
My recommendation? Change it up! Out of a three day routine, vary your cardio once. If you only complete the minimum of two days a week, choose one week out of the month for a different activity. For example, if you usually take U-Jam Fitness, take spin instead. If you’re a swimmer, hit the bike. Think outside the box. If you have trouble coming up with a cardio exercise you might want to try, ask a friend or a San Jose personal trainer.
Easy Ways To Change The Length Of Your Cardio Routine
Changing the length of your cardio routine is probably the simplest option. It doesn’t take much thought, just a little planning. Do you usually spend 30 minutes climbing stairs or 60 minutes walking the treadmill? Try shortening or lengthening the session. This can go hand-in-hand with mixing up your strength routine. For example, if you want to lengthen your cardio routine without adding extra time to your overall workout, shorten your strength routine. If you shorten your cardio routine, add a little extra time to your strength session. Alternatively, you can squeeze in a few extra minutes of mobility by allotting some time to stretching.
Another way to change the length of your cardio routine is to change the goal measurement. Instead of measuring time, measure miles, laps or calories burned. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find that the amount of time you spend on your workout shifts a bit.
Simple Rules for A More Intense Cardio Routine
It’s way too easy to coast while doing cardio, especially when you’re completing the same old routine you always do. Here’s a good rule of thumb: The harder the exercise is, the shorter the duration. Take interval training. Instead of your normal jog, try sprints, which are great for fat burn. Sprint for 30 seconds and walk, or recover, for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this about 4-8 times and then cool down. You get a great workout in under 15 minutes. Nice and quick but very intense. The same can be done when you’re swimming, biking, rowing, stair climbing, etc.
Another way to vary intensity is change the terrain. A simple switch for walking on a treadmill is to increase the incline. You don’t have to go any faster, but now instead of walking on a flat surface, you’re climbing a hill. Do you usually play court volleyball? Hit the sand instead. It engages more muscles and is harder to work with than the smooth, bouncy gymnasium floor. These intensity builders give you an entirely new sensation during your workout and most likely increase your calorie burn. They force your body to react and work harder….and that is a good thing. 😉
Think of Ways You Can Mix Up Your Cardio Routine
Each and every one of us is different. We all have preferences when it comes to the types of cardio we like to engage in. But the fact of the matter is that mixing up your cardio routine is a surefire way to help you work more consistently toward your fitness and weight loss goals. So, be a loose cannon, live life on the edge and get off that damn elliptical trainer :-). Good luck my fellow fitness friends and go kick some cardio butt!
Live Stronger for Today,
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The Method3 Fitness blog is updated weekly. All content is designed to improve the way you move, eat, and think so you can achieve your goals and live stronger for today. Check back here each week and LIKE our Fan Page, to stay up to date on the latest tips, strategies and methods to get fit, lose fat, and build confidence. Ready to get started with us? Click here for a complimentary goal strategy session!