For many of us, we now have our eyes fixed firmly on the upcoming spring months which will quickly lead into the warmer summer months. Summer is most people’s favourite season as it involves copious amounts of hot sunshine, longer days, shorter nights, and it gives us a chance to hit the beaches, the swimming holes, the lakes, or even simply our back gardens and do a spot of sunbathing before cooling off in cool waters. The problem is that summer tends to involve us wearing much less clothing than the winter, and if you happen to be out of shape, or simply not in the shape you were hoping to be in, this can potentially be embarrassing. People in fantastic shape are obviously not shy about showing off their physiques, and why should they be? They worked hard to achieve their body, so why not show it off? If you would like to be one of those individuals this year, then obviously one of your main priorities will be fat loss. Now, in order to burn fat you need to not only eat fresh, healthy, natural, and low fat produce, but you also need to ensure you get plenty of physical exercise as well. When it comes down to burning body fat, you simply cannot avoid cardio, no matter how you feel about it. Most people tend to have a love-hate relationship with cardio – they hate doing it but they love the results that it yields. In order for you to really get the most out of your cardio however, there are a few insider tips and tricks that you may not have realised, and for that reason we’ll be sharing a few of them with you by now, so that when you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll have a newfound respect for cardio and you won’t view it in the same negative light ever again.
Make use of hills
Hey, we never said it was going to be easy, but truthfully, anything worth having in life doesn’t come easy, and that includes a fantastic body that you’ve always dreamt of. If you happen to enjoy getting your cardio outdoors, I.E walking, jogging, or cycling around the block or even around local beauty spots for example, then why not incorporate alterations in terrain into your routine and make use of hills and inclines? Hills and inclines are ideal because they do require you to work so much harder than if you were on a flat surface and because of that you will burn more calories and body fat as a result. Not only that, but incorporating inclines into your routines will also help to build and tone muscle in your legs, providing you with a fantastic leg work out in the process. For a brutal, quick, yet enjoyable workout, why not try your hand at hill sprints? Simply start at the bottom of a steep hill, then as quickly as you can, sprint to the top, carefully make your way back down, and repeat as many times as possible.
Find activities you enjoy
Life is too short to continuously do things that make you miserable, so for that reason, try to find activities and pastimes that you actually do enjoy. People often say that they don’t like cardio, yet if you ask them which sports they enjoy playing, they’ll list several. The sports that they listed actually provide fantastic cardio-based workouts, yet because they enjoy participating in them, these people don’t actually see them as workouts at all. If you hate treadmills for example, don’t use them! Find something you do enjoy instead. Whether it be walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, football, badminton, or any other sport for that matter, if it gets your heart rate up and works up a sweat, it counts as cardio and will help you to lose weight.
Get friends and family members involved
If you’ve found yourself truly stuck in a rut when it comes to your cardio workouts, why not get some friends or family members involves to help you out? As mentioned previously, if you enjoy playing certain sports, why not play against friends/family? Not only will this help to motivate you, it will also benefit them, and will also add a competitive edge to things that may make you work that little bit harder. Cardio in the gym is also more beneficial with friends/family as you can select two pieces of equipment next to one another, and help to motivate each other or simply have a bit of a chat if you happen to be going at a slow and steady pace.
Mix things up
Another great way of really getting the most out of your cardio workouts is to mix things up every so often and not perform the same exercises and activities in the same fashion over and over again. The body has a great knack of adapting to things and building up resistances so if at first your steady state treadmill sessions were yielding great fat loss results, but gradually began to decline, the reason is that the body is now aware of what is coming and will not burn as many calories to compensate for the sudden change in activity and the requirements for energy. To keep the body guessing, mix up your cardio sessions every so often. If you perform steady state cardio, why not try fast-paced high intensity cardio instead? If you cycle a lot, why not try jogging, or swimming? Change the exercises, the intensity, and the duration to really maximise your workouts and to avoid becoming complacent.
Get it out of the way early
For some of us, it doesn’t matter how beneficial the workouts will be, or indeed what we actually do, some of us simply have a mental block when it comes to cardio that cannot be overcome. If this applies to you and you simply do not enjoy cardio, but know you must do it, if possible, try to get your workouts out of the way early. Often if we know we have cardio later in the day, we make excuses in our heads for why we shouldn’t do it, or we simply spend our time worrying which makes us dislike it more. If this applies to you, the trick is to simply get it out of the way as early as possible. Get out of bed half an hour early and go out for a jog, or a walk, a cycle, or hop on the treadmill etc, do what you need to do, shower, eat, and then go about your day as usual. Not only will you now have the rest of the day to do as you please, you will have a sense of accomplishment as you now know that you’ve burnt several hundred calories, which will all add towards your total fat loss for that particular week.