I’m sure by now that you all know that I’m no cardio queen. Having had a fairly dysfunctional relationship with overexercising in the past the pendulum well and truly swung the other way to downright cardio loathing. However, with my current goals and also just for overall health, I know that cardio is something I need to work into my routine. So here are the four things I’ve been doing recently to make cardio workouts a fun and stress-free addition to my workout routine…
I love being outside, and when the weather is good I just can’t resist getting outdoors for a run. I don’t think I can count myself as a die-hard runner any longer so you probably won’t find me out on bone-chilling winter 10ks, but if the weather is mild there’s something really calming about going on a good 45-60minute run. If I’m home in Winchester there’s just no stopping me from getting out either, I just can’t resist a run in the countryside. Add to that the cycle the boy and I did when we were in Bruges was just a wonderful way to spend a day, and I didn’t even really realise that I was getting a workout in. So top tip for my fellow cardio loathers: get outdoors, enjoy the scenery and make a day of it.
Join a Class
I surprised myself with this one to be quite honest. I’ve always sworn that I am not a class person, apart from when it comes to yoga of course. But my experience at F45 Tottenham Court Road really changed my mind on this one. I was amazed at how hard I pushed myself and how quickly the time flew by. It’s a bit tight for me to add regular classes in alongside my bikini coaching (which really is the priority) but once I’m based in East London I’m definitely going to look into Class Pass as there are so many awesome exercise classes near my new office. Who knows, I might even visit a spin class. Who even am I?
HIIT the Treadmill
I couldn’t resist the pun. Last week I set myself a challenge to do two treadmill HIIT sessions. Essentially, I give myself 20 minutes, ramp up the incline and sprint as fast as I can for 45 seconds, before hopping off and resting for a minute. It’s a serious pulse raiser and I find it so much more exhilarating than the 45 minute slog, um I mean jog, I used to force myself through. Plus that 20 minute time is great as it’s not overly long and I feel like I can mentally talk myself through it without giving up! As my cardiovascular fitness improves I hope to shorten those rest breaks, increase my pace and eek up the time to 30 minutes. It feels good to have some measurable cardio goals in place thanks to this one.
Probably the simplest of all my added techniques, I have decided to up my daily step goals. I have always enjoyed walking and so this seemed like a really logical and hassle-free way of just raising my total daily energy expenditure without feeling like I was ‘adding in’ cardio. I go for a half an hour walk every lunch time to get those steps in and that has the added benefit of clearing my head from staring at a computer all morning – I definitely recommend doing it. I have also taken some inspiration from my coach and have added in super steep incline power walks on the treadmill if I have time after my weights sessions. It’s amazing how much of a killer those are!
After doing this I’m now getting in an average of 12,000 steps a day, and according to Fitbit just this simple change has increased my daily calorie burn to being in the 2000s rather than 1800-1900. Can’t really blame me for being pleased with that now can you?!
Let me know how you make cardio fit into your routine, I’m always looking for more fun ideas!
Feature image by Kim Nicole Photography