Cardio offers calorie-burning and fat-torching benefits. Not only that, but cardio workouts are the key to preventing heart disease.
But cardio is pretty boring. From running on the treadmill to walking 10,000 steps, cardio is a necessary evil for most.
So, how does one build the motivation to do cardio? The number of calories one could burn? Or is weekly cardio just a part of the regular workout routine?
Building cardio motivation can be difficult. Here’s some advice on how to get in the mood for cardio.
Add Some Competition
For many, a little competition is enough to spark motivation. Try and outdo a gym buddy by running faster or increasing mileage. As an alternative, try and outrun others at the gym.
Many people also try to conquer different cardio goals. For example, walk three miles one day and five miles the next day.
Don’t Set Rules
While sticking to a schedule will help organize cardio time, don’t create strict rules. If one doesn’t do cardio on the day they scheduled it, they may come up with an excuse to not do cardio another day.
For example, let’s say Monday was supposed to be cardio day and Tuesday is an off day. If Monday is busy, aim to do cardio on Tuesday instead. Or, instead of running a 5K on Monday, walk a mile.
But Try and Follow a Schedule
A workout schedule doesn’t have to be strict, but there are many benefits of pre-planning workouts.
Committed cardio enthusiasts set a day and time for their workouts. Whether one chooses a morning bike ride or running in the evening, sticking to a schedule will help fit cardio into any busy schedule.
At the beginning of every week, take a look at the schedule and discover where to fit in an hour of cardio. Use calendar apps to schedule cardio during a workout. These apps will send push notifications, reminding users of their cardio time.
If life gets in the way, find any last-minute break to squeeze in even a brisk walk. A little bit is better than nothing.
It’s Not About Appearances
Many people start exercising to improve the way they look. However, that’s the biggest motivation killer.
Even with diet and regular exercise, it may take six months to lose between 5% and 10% of body weight. After a month of a regular cardio routine, one may not see the results they want and will give up.
What if weight loss is the ultimate goal? Set mini-goals. For example, strive to lose a pound a week. Mini-goals can also be performance-based; for example, aim to jog on the treadmill an extra mile every month.
Workout With a Buddy
Is solo cardio becoming too much of a pain? Ask a friend to join! A walk on the beach or a bike ride around the park is not only a great form of exercise but is also the perfect bonding experience.
Friends aren’t the only workout buddies one can choose. Ditch dinner and a movie — these cardio ideas are also perfect for a date.
What about kids? Stop using parenting as an excuse to not do cardio.
Get the kids involved. If they hate running, choose kid-friendly cardio such as swimming and jumping rope. For infants and toddlers, put them in the stroller and walk around the neighborhood or park.
Who said a cardio buddy needs to be a human? Dogs are the perfect workout buddy. Puppies will love nothing more than to jog around the park for miles (plus a visit to the doggy park).
There are numerous apps that assist with cardio goals, such as counting steps and documenting miles walked. Users can see their progress, such as how much they walked in one week versus the previous week.
There’s an app for everything cardio-related. For example, there are apps that simulate real-life hiking and running trails from around the world.
Running on a treadmill can get boring—this app helps runners explore somewhere new without leaving the gym.
Include Strength Training
Strength training isn’t only for the bodybuilders. Adding some weights can result in numerous benefits; beyond the calorie-burning benefits and increased metabolic rate, lifting weights strengthens the muscles and bones.
Bring a pair of weights on a walk and do arm curls. Go back and forth between lifting weights and HIIT cardio for a Crossfit-inspired workout.
There are even water weights for aquatic fitness. Go back and forth between swimming a couple of laps and lifting the water weights.
Stick to Fun Workouts
Most people hate walking 10,000 steps every day. But no one is forcing anyone to walk on a treadmill. Instead, focus on fun exercises.
For example, many cardio enthusiasts are preferring their weekly spinning class over other forms of cardio. Anyone who loves being out in nature will enjoy jogging in the park rather than jogging on a treadmill.
Some people don’t like traditional exercise. Fortunately, there are options for everyone. Many sports and dances are great forms of cardio. Many people prefer exercising with others. In this case, consider a group class instead of a solo workout.
Confidence is also the best fitness motivator. For example, one person has no motivation to go to the gym because they would rather dance. They can get cardio from fitness-heavy forms of dance such as Zumba.
Change up Cardio Workouts
Who said running is the only form of cardio? Constantly running and walking will kill anyone’s motivation.
Instead, spice up cardio. Incorporate bike riding, swimming, hiking, rock climbing, and fat-torching HIIT workouts such as burpees, jump rope, and jumping jacks.
Many fitness enthusiasts also switch up their cardio machines. Alternate between the elliptical, stair climber, treadmill, and stationary bike.
HIIT options are also popular, increasing the intensity of cardio machines or using one of the pre-set workout options.
Listen to Music
Music will keep anyone moving during even the most intense cardio session. Music is a healthy distraction during exercise. Plug in some headphones and jam out to music during cardio.
Create a playlist with the best songs. Listen to that new album or check out new bands. Or just put the music library on shuffle and be surprised.
Music isn’t the only option. Audiobooks and podcasts are also great cardio distractions. Anyone will be so engulfed by the book or the program and won’t even focus on doing cardio!
Change the Perspective
It’s common to think of excuses for not doing cardio. However, none of these obstacles should deter anyone from cardio.
Instead, change the perspective on fitness. If work was difficult, look forward to burning out any frustrations on an evening run. On busy days, do HIIT during any break. Walk and eat instead of sitting down.
Ignore the Little Voice
Everyone has that little voice inside their head. This little voice can tell someone that they’re tired or they need to rest. Sometimes, that little voice tells someone they’re weak and will never accomplish their fitness goals.
Change the mental approach—learn how to fight through the fatigue and silence that voice.
The best way to do this is by setting goals. Aim to do cardio for a certain amount of time, walk/run a certain mileage, reach the destination, or take a certain number of steps.
But everyone should stop doing cardio if any physical symptoms set in. These include breathlessness, painful muscles, and joints (not to be confused with normal soreness), or one just can’t move anymore.
Don’t Look at the Timer
Or mileage. Or steps.
These factors are discouraging. Anyone who looks at their progress will only feel like they have longer to go until they reach their goals.
Looking at the timer, mileage, or steps occasionally is not a problem. But refrain from looking at any progress constantly. Instead, focus on different movements and body form.
Modern cardio equipment may include a timer that will go off at certain mileage or duration time. This way, no one has to worry about checking the timer or mileage
Write Down Goals
Goals are the ultimate form of cardio workout motivation! But many people only store their goals in their head and not writing down their goals.
Everyone should write down their goals. When one writes a goal, the goal is there for one to read whenever they lose their motivation.
Some cardio enthusiasts even have a diary. They jot down what they do every day during their cardio session, including how long they exercised, recording their mileage/steps, and even how they feel after their workout.
Keeping a cardio diary not only helps anyone achieve their fitness goals but monitors any progress.
Rewards Go a Long Way
Many people reward themselves after a successful day of cardio training. But “rewards” may include eating a good meal after cardio. Understand that certain post-workout meal choices can sabotage weight loss goals.
There are other ways to reward oneself. Buying new running shoes and workout clothes are a great example. Many people also buy brand new goals when they reach their goal weight or size.
Cardio motivation doesn’t always stem from a mental state. Physical exhaustion and recovery issues can hinder cardio efforts.
Fortunately, regularly taking supplements can supply the body with the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to keep anyone moving.
Let’s take vitamin B12 as an example. This vitamin offers many health benefits, but fitness enthusiasts may not know that vitamin B12 assists in energy production.
For best results, take B12 supplements 30 to 60 minutes before a sweat sesh.
Anyone can also benefit from taking other sports nutrition and weight loss supplements, such as BCAAs.
Exercise in Short Spurts
The average person loses 100 calories for every mile they run and they need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound a week.
This means the average person needs to run 35 miles every week. To break this up throughout the week, the average person has to run 5 miles every day.
Sounds like a lot, right? Fortunately, no one needs to run that much. Break up running time; run two and a half miles in the morning and evening. As an alternative, one can run little-by-little throughout the day.
More people are adopting HIIT workouts. HIIT workouts focus on swift movements with breaks in between. This burns more calories than simply running or walking.
The average person only needs to do HIIT three times a week to achieve serious results.
Do Cardio in the Morning
It’s normal to hate cardio so much that one would rather get it over with as early as possible. If this sounds familiar, do cardio first thing in the morning. This way, exercise is already finished and there’s no reason to skip it.
Exercising in the morning also comes with many health benefits. Morning exercise enthusiasts state they feel more alert and productive throughout the day. That’s because exercise raises body temperature and keeps that momentum up for hours.
This is also why morning exercise improves sleep. As body temperature decreases, the average person will start feeling tired.
Keep in mind, morning workouts aren’t ideal for everyone. For those who struggle to achieve morning cardio motivation or prefer relaxing after waking up, there’s nothing wrong with an afternoon or evening cardio sesh.
Get Cardio Motivation Today
Many fitness enthusiasts struggle to get cardio motivation. From rewarding oneself to exercising in the morning, there are many ways to get moving and burn those calories.
Anyone who does cardio regularly should consider taking supplements. They help improve fitness performance and offer even more benefits. Click here to discover some of the best sports nutrition supplements.