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Finding the motivation to workout is always difficult but people seem to have the most trouble when it comes to cardio. Maybe it’s because it’s not that exciting. After a couple of minutes of running, you’ll probably already feel like you want to stop. But cardio is such an important part of your workout routine. It’s one of the best ways to burn off fat and it massively improves your heart health.
Regular cardio also improves your metabolism which is a huge bonus because it means you’re less likely to gain weight from eating. Getting in shape in the first place is hard but people usually fail when it comes to keeping weight off. An increased metabolism is essential if you want to stay healthy. If you neglect cardio entirely and just focus on weight training, your workout isn’t going to be well rounded and you won’t get the results that you want.
What you need to do is find some way of making that cardio more bearable. It doesn’t have to be the chore that you think it is. It could even be fun if you do it right. Here are some simple changes to make to your cardio routine to make it more enjoyable.
Choose An Activity You Like
This seems pretty obvious but most people don’t follow that advice. Most people think that cardio just means running on a treadmill but there are all sorts of different ways that you can get your heart going. The reason that everybody hates doing cardio is that they’re just doing an exercise that they don’t like. Instead of just sticking to the treadmill, why not try going on a stepping machine or exercise bike instead. You don’t have to limit yourself to the gym either. You don’t need any equipment for cardio so there’s no need. It might be a bit more interesting if you went running or cycling outside somewhere nice. Having a better view will take your mind off how much your legs are hurting and make it easier to get through your cardio session.
Sports are another great way to work cardio into your routine. The majority of team sports will give you a better cardio workout than just running on a treadmill and they’ll actually be a lot more fun. See if there are any local teams you can join. Even if you don’t want to play competitively, you can still go along to training sessions every week.
Listen To Something
It’s hard to carry on when you’re focused on how much your legs are burning and how out of breath you are. You’ll only manage 10 minutes of running if you’re constantly thinking about how much you hate it. That’s why you need to distract yourself from something. The best way is to listen to something. By listening to music, you give yourself something else to concentrate on and it makes it a little more enjoyable, rather than just running in silence and thinking about how terrible running is. You’ll need to get yourself some good quality headphones from somewhere like HeadphonesAddict if you’re going to go running with them. A cheap pair of earbuds is just going to constantly fall out and it’ll just make cardio more frustrating rather than making it more bearable.
As well as listening to music, you could also listen to podcasts or audiobooks while you’re doing a cardio workout. People often find that it gives them more to focus on because they’re making a conscious effort to listen, which better distracts them from the cardio.
Find A Workout Partner
Misery loves the company and that’s never truer than when you’re doing cardio. It’s easy to come up with excuses and give up on your cardio routine when you’re on your own. But if you’ve got somebody there to tell you to suck it up and carry on, it’ll be far easier to get to the end of the workout. If you skip a workout on your own, you’re only letting yourself down. It’s easy to justify that to yourself. But if you’ve made plans to meet somebody and go for a run with them. You’re not going to let them down by not turning up.
Having a friend there is also a good distraction which helps you go for a lot longer than you would on your own. There’s also a level of competition there which is a good motivator. However, you’ve got to be careful who you choose as a workout partner. If you pick somebody that is just as unmotivated as you when it comes to cardio, you’ll just encourage each other to skip workouts. Find somebody that doesn’t mind doing cardio. They can help you stay motivated and you can help them out with the weight training that they struggle to keep up with.
Wear The Right Stuff
If you’re uncomfortable, that’s just going to give you another reason to stop early. That’s why outdoor fashion is so important here. Getting some good quality workout gear will massively help with motivation. It helps you to get into the right mindset to workout and it’ll make you a lot more comfortable while you’re doing it. It’s also a good way of stopping you from skipping a workout; if you put your gear in your bag in the morning when you’re planning to work out, it’s a constant reminder that you need to do some cardio.
If you then decide not to, you’ll feel bad about it because you’ve already got everything with you. It’s worth spending a bit more money on good exercise clothes that are going to keep you cool and comfortable while you’re doing cardio, you’ll find it a lot easier to keep it up if you do.
A lot of people just find running boring and that’s why they struggle to keep up with it every week. But if you use running apps, you can make it a bit more interesting for yourself. They have loads of great features that make running a bit more fun. You can plan your own routes or see other routes that are popular with people nearby. Adding a bit of variety is a simple way to stop it from getting boring. You can also compare your times and distance with friends. You’ll be itching to get out there and go for a run if one of your friends beats your time. You can also track your own progress which is vital.
Sometimes, it might feel like you’re not getting anywhere and you’ll just decide to give up. But if you can see a physical representation of your progress and see that you’re improving, it’ll inspire you to keep going. If you’re really serious, you can get running trainers with a tracker in that links up to the app. It’ll give you information on your form and give you tips on how to run better. This is good because it makes you far less likely to get injured and makes running more comfortable.
Don’t Eat Beforehand
When you exercise on an empty stomach, your body taps into fat reserves for energy so you’ll burn off a lot more. Seeing good results is important for motivation so always make sure that you’re doing cardio before you’ve eaten. If you do eat before, leave it at least 2 hours before you go out running. If you’re eating right before, your blood glucose levels will be high and your body will use that for energy. But if your glucose levels are lower, your body will burn off carbs instead. When you go running right after a meal, you’ll just burn off the food that you’ve eaten and you won’t see any results.
Don’t Do Cardio For Too Long
You’re probably glad to hear this one. The maximum amount of cardio you should do in one session is about 45 minutes. After this, your body will start to release cortisol which causes you to start burning muscle and actually protecting the fat in your body, so it’ll have the opposite effect that you want. That doesn’t mean you can do 5 minutes and give up though. It’ll take about 20 minutes before it starts to become effective. It’s best to do somewhere between 20 and 30-minute sessions at a time. Doing cardio too often is bad for you as well because you’ll put too much strain on your joints and you could get injured. You’re also going to be worn out so you won’t be working out effectively. You’ll see far better results if you do a roughly 25-minute session about 3 times a week.
Cardio is most people’s least favorite part of working out but it has so many great health benefits. Before you start using weight training to build muscle, you need to burn excess fat first. If you’re struggling, try some of these things to make it a bit more fun.