6 Ways to Make Your Cardio Count

Getting FIT is not always about how hard you train, but actually about how smart you train. If you’ve lost motivation, aren’t seeing results, or want to up the sweat factor, I’m sharing six ways to get more out of your cardio sessions.

Doing some sort of exercise daily is the best way to keep fit and healthy, and cardio is usually the easiest to get done as you can simply go for a walk or run to get your heart going! The only problem is that it can become boring and you can start to lose motivation very quickly. You end up strolling instead of power walking, or walking instead of jogging, and before you know it, you just aren’t pushing yourself at all.

It’s so easy to fall into comfort zones and not want to improve, and we all end up doing it sooner or later. Think about a time when you spent half an hour on the treadmill, yet you didn’t even break a sweat. It’s easy enough to say you did a half hour of cardio, but did you really? Did you get the most out of that half an hour?
Every now and then we need to re-evaluate our exercise habits and push ourselves to try harder, move faster, and do more. If we don’t, we end up wasting time and not progressing.

Here are some tips to keep yourself accountable and motivated to push through and get the most out of your cardio sessions:

Be consistent!

Get in a cardio session every day, even if it’s just a 10-minute sprint, or some high knees at home… Any little bit counts. 10 minutes every day is better than 30 minutes once a week. Being consistent helps to make it feel like routine, like brushing your teeth. If you just tell yourself it has to be done, and just do it, you don’t allow yourself time to come up with an excuse not to. Consistency is key!

Use intervals!

On a bike, treadmill, elliptical, running, walking or jogging, alternate your speed from a light pace one minute, to a burst of faster pace for 30 seconds. Go from walking to sprinting and alternate, to build endurance and burn body fat.

Add resistance!

Use any type of added resistance where you can, and you’ll be burning more calories and fat faster. If you’re on the treadmill, increase the incline, or raise the resistance level on a bike or elliptical.

Increase the effort!

Even while you walk, try to think of all your muscles working together to push your body along and keep moving forward. While thinking of each muscle, engage and squeeze them as you move, keeping your tummy tight, and clenching your glutes as you step. If you’re on a bike, lift your butt off the seat so you are using more of your leg strength and core to hold yourself up. While on the elliptical, drive through your heals so that you engage your glute and hamstring muscles.

Keep track!

A pedometer, smart watch, or fitness app is great for keeping track of your activity. You can see your progress and become motivated to keep improving and beating your personal bests. You can also keep a fitness calendar or diary to mark off your workouts each day. Just as you would increase your weight with resistance training the same is important for cardio – gage your workout and try to improve each day and/or week.

Get pumped!

Before you start your cardio, make sure you feel good. By this, I mean feeling good in your clothes and footwear so you are comfortable and won’t get too hot or cold. And also get in the mood by listening to some uplifting music with a good rhythm to keep up the pace to.

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About the Author

Karen Gallagher

Karen Gallagher

Karen has over 20 years of combined experience as a personal trainer, nutritionist, transformation expert and holistic health coach. Her holistic health coaching offers an individualized process to help you move forward in life and to end the diet/binge cycle for good.  Karen has had tremendous success working with people of all walks of life including high profile athletes and executives. She truly believes that every […]

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