We see a lot of people jumping on and off the cardio machines. Sometimes you think in your head, did they even have a proper workout due to how they’re positioned on the machine? I get it, there are a lot of different ways of doing cardio these days; especially with everything you see on social media. Here are some ways to have the best cardio without having us cringe at you! Take your cardio seriously and you will see results, along with your weight training. 😉
Warming Up On The Treadmill
If you’re just coming into the gym to do plain old cardio and you just hop right to it, maybe you should take some extra time to stretch before you start moving. You’re probably thinking, “but I can go slow and warm up walking”. Yes, going slower on the machine is good to get your blood moving, but I recommend some stretching on the floor before you get on. I’m guilty of this, and when I forget to stretch, I notice how tight my leg joints are and it causes me to not have the best run. Your body needs just 5-10 mins of good stretching to open up more range of motion. Do some lunges, body squats, lying quad stretches and stretch those hammies! ETC. I always have tight hamstrings, so getting them ready makes a huge difference. We want the range of motion and flexibility to be all good when you’re getting into your jog.
I get it 100%, cardio can SUCK! So why are you taking your time on the machine? There’s a beautiful thing called “HIIT cardio” I love doing this on the treadmill and more so on the stairmaster. The great thing about HIIT is being able to be in and out of the gym quicker. It burns more fat and it goes by A LOT faster. I like to do 30 seconds intense and 30 seconds slow pace to get your heart rate back up. Have your phone on you, so you can start and stop it the timer. I do more of a quick jog up the stairs and it’s the most intense thing ever, but you know what? I don’t have to keep myself occupied or keep looking at the clock because this goes by fast! I do HIIT for 15-20 mins max and it’s honestly all you need. And to those people on your phones. Go home or walk outside! Just saying. If you have a cardio machine at home by all means do whatever you want, but when you’re watching stuff at the gym and not paying attention to the time, you’re using a machine up that someone may want to use so they can kill their cardio session and go home. I also see SO many people talking and even face timing while at the gym. I’m sorry, but if you can talk and do cardio you’re not pushing yourself hard enough and it’s a wasted session. Walking is great, so do it outside on your phone. If you want to lose weight a good intense cardio session is key.
Holding On For Dear Life
This one is overdone, so I thought I’d come out and say it, stop leaning on the handles! The handles are there to check your pulse or for an emergency. If you noticed you’re holding the handles with a tight grip you may want to reduce your speed so you can retain your natural form. Holding on tightly will restrict your hip movement. I see so many people leaning on it as if they’re dying, but not changing the speed… You don’t normally walk or run hunched over so check your form and fix it! If you need to catch your breath, change the speed, it won’t hurt you. As for the stairmaster, I do hold on very lightly or I don’t hold on at all, it all depends how fast I’m going.
Jumping On Off and On Again… ?
I’ve seen so many IG videos of girls working out and doing a crazy circuit HIIT on the treadmill. Where they continue to jump on and off the machine for their whole workout. First, it’s not safe and second you’re taking up too much space! For some gyms there isn’t a lot of space between the rows of machines, so please do your crazy routines elsewhere or do the running / walking HIIT instead of jumping all over the place.
Living On The Treadmill
We all see those people at the gym who spend the whole hour on the cardio machine or even longer! Cardio is great for your health and I highly recommend everyone to get out more and do something active, however it’s not healthy to be on there for 40 mins every day. We need to get into a better, healthier relationship with cardio and start doing more strength training and stretching too!
Not Switching Things Up
Like I said when you’re watching tv on your phone, I’m sure you’re going for the same speed for who knows how long. Our bodies sometimes need change. Change up the equipment, speed, intensity, and incline! Help adapt your body to different speeds and inclines to maximize your progress. Steady state cardio is when your heart rate stays the same. The problem is you’re not challenging your heart rate and you should for your health and for more progress!
Always Inside Doing Cardio
We need to switch things up often, not only to keep things entertaining, but to help your mental health. It can start to feel blah doing cardio everyday in the cold gym. Get outside and run! Jogging outside goes by a lot quicker and not to mention there’s things to look at! I love it and it feels a lot better. It’s also rewarding knowing how far you ran! 🙂
Thinking Cardio Can Outrun A Bad Diet
Just because you do cardio every day or have your own cardio schedule, doesn’t mean you can eat whatever and whenever you want. You may have “burned” 300 calories, but that doesn’t mean you can go straight to a fast food joint afterwards as a reward.To get the best results in the gym you must treat your body with the love and care it deserves and feed it good nutrient dense foods!
Doing Full Out Cardio Before Strength Training
Stretching and some cardio is great before your workout, however don’t be those people who do 30-40 mins of cardio BEFORE their workout. How are you supposed to be energized for the weights if you kill all of your energy and strength on the machine. Cardio is perfect for after your workout! Take that pre-workout or even a sugar free red bull and pump it up! Go hit some PR’s!
Take A Break
We all need those rest days and I know some people go into the gym on their “rest day’ from strength training and only do intense cardio, but why not just go for a simple walk around town. Your body needs a break from the intense workouts and cardio. Take advantage of your rest days and still be active and be outside taking in the sun and nature! 🙂
The bottom line is to have a great healthy relationship with cardio as you should with food. Cardio is a wonderful thing, just don’t overdo or under-do it! Balance is literally key for everything in life! Take HIIT cardio into consideration because it works wonders and it’s burning fat more than plain old steady state. Take care of your mind too and don’t always focus on cardio. If you finish your workout and realize you don’t have time to do cardio that day, don’t stress about it. With COVID, I’ve fallen in love with jogging outside. It’s a great opportunity to connect with nature, have the warm sun in your face, sweat more, and switch up where I jog every now and then. It’s great on your ego when you can see how far you can actually jog with being a person who dreads cardio. 😉
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