5 Not So Boring Ways To Do Cardio For People Who Hate To Do Cardio
I should probably get this out of the way first: I HATE CARDIO.
Its an honest Soji fact (hopefully it will win somebody a million dollars on a game show one day).
Any day of the week, I much rather be lifting weights than hitting a dirt path and going for a run. No offense to avid runners, but to me its just boring. There's only so much scenery I can take in before adorable babies and cute puppies lose their motivational power.
On the flip side of that equation, i know how important cardio can be to helping you become a lean machine (enhanced aerobic capacity/V02 max isn't too bad either), so skipping it would be a mistake. Fortunately for us, all cardio isn't created equal. The fitness gods have declared that there are multiple ways to skin this calorie ridden cat.
Here are 5 ways to ditch the treadmill and pump a little awesome into your cardiovascular conditioning.
1. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebells are an awesome tool to use because they are versatile and come with multiple benefits. When it comes to this piece of equipment, I'm pretty much a basic b**ch. I like to keep things simple. The kettlebell swing burns a ton of calories, sends fat packing, and strengthens the posterior chain (Demmm glutesssssss tho) and core muscles. This exercise has also been shown to improve force output, so you need to get on this!
There are two ways I generally do kettlebell swings. In the first, I will set 5 minutes on a timer and attempt to complete as many swings as possible (resting when form breaks or I think i just may die). In the second way, I use Kettlebell swings in timed sets, so i will do 5-10 sets of 30-45 seconds worth of swings (resting for 30-45 seconds in between each set). Check out the awesome Neghar Fonooni demonstrating the Kettlebell swing below. Her coaching cues are phenomenal and shes practically a super hero, so you can't go wrong with this video.
2. Lift Weights Faster
Fitness editor, writer, and personal trainer Jen Sinkler (Jensinkler.com) popularized the phrase "lift weights faster" when she was asked what she did for cardio. Metabolic resistance training, circuit training, madman training, or whatever you want to call it, is the act of completing both structural and compound exercises with little rest between each in order to maximize calorie burn. This form of training has been shown to help people get leaner, stronger, and fitter in a fraction of the time required from traditional forms of training.
In order to provide more of a cardiovascular benefit, when putting together these circuits you want to make sure to use lighter weights (opt for 30-40% of your max load), be dynamic (choose exercises that involve large amounts of muscle mass and can be done quickly), and perform high volume (get those reps up!).
Try out this workout from Jen Sinkler's awesome metabolic resistance training product "Lift Weights Faster". Its called the tiger tamer and is sure to get your heart rate moving!
3. Battle Ropes
When you hear the word rope when it comes to fitness you probably immediately think about a jump rope or maybe you have sweaty flash backs to middle school gym class when you were forced to make the dreaded climb. While those are both pretty formidable opponents, there is a newer bully in rope-ville. Battle ropes are thick, heavy ropes that carry resistance and challenge your body like never before. Think of these bad boys as ropes, but on that special juice like A-Rod. With this low impact, high results tool you will melt fat like a maniac and engage your abs, arms, legs, & shoulders. You will also have a killer conditioning workout in the process!
When i use battle ropes, I simply work with timed sets and use 30 second work to rest ratios. I will usually perform about 4-8 sets depending upon the focus for the day. The folks over at Greatist have compiled a list 20 epic battle rope moves that you just have to try:
4. Sled Work
There's probably not many cooler images then seeing someone throw around weight on a sled like it owes them money. While it is usually associated with elite athletes and speed/acceleration development, sled training is both easy to learn & implement. In addition, it is awesome for burning fat, building strength, & enhancing full body conditioning. The time required to get a major payoff is short and there are so many ways to go about utilizing the sled. You can push, pull, drag, lunge, crossover run, etc and simply work in multiple planes without having to adjust the load on the sled. Sled training also works well mixed into circuits with other tools and exercise movements.
Try these following moves out for distance, completing 5 sets of 30 yards for whichever movement you choose.
When it comes to cardiovascular activities, the king (in my opinion) is basketball. This may or may not be because I absolutely love the sport, but besides this overwhelming bias basketball is a HUGE calorie burner. For a 170lb man, a 45 min game of full court basketball can burn upwards of 650 calories. With a pound of body weight equating to roughly 3,500 calories and a safe estimate of weight loss being about 1-2 lbs a week (means burning or abstaining from 500 calories a day), this 650 calories burned in a game of basketball more than meets the requirement of a successful fitness tool. Basketball is also readily accessible/inexpensive, the fundamentals are easy to learn, and is fun! Ask the 450 million people who are involved in the sport worldwide.
After being asked if basketball is an exceptional tool for fat/weight loss, the next question i usually get is: "So Soji, now how do I use basketball to reach my fitness goal?". For the many people who can't command a group of 9 friends at the snap of a finger or who have looked online for exact protocols of what to do, this question may have been depressing.......until now.
I have created a program called "The Fast Break Body" , which will combine basketball based high intensity interval training and metabolic resistance training (like the lift weights faster section above) to help torch fat, build muscle, and get basketball lovers everywhere in the best shape of their lives. This program will consist of close to 100 workouts that last only 20-30 minutes. No longer do you have to despise cardio. No longer do you have to be in the gym for countless hours a day to get the results you want. No longer will you have to dread your workouts. Come Summer 2015 the game will change.
For more information about this product fill out the form below. Some other Free goodies and a special promotion may also stumble into your email if you do so as well. Its really a win-win scenario.
If you are a serial cardio-dreader like me, what are somethings you do to make the process a little more tolerable? Let me know in the comments below if I left anything out!