When a new client joins Fitness Together, we provide them with a training schedule, nutrition guidelines, a meal plan and an independent cardio prescription. The latter provides the client with what to do on his or her non-training days to accelerate results, burn extra fat, increase metabolism. The independent cardio, however, is - without a doubt - the most neglected item. Everyone shows up for training sessions, most people - at the very least - make an effort to change their diet to some degree, but very few people do the independent, extra cardio.
I, personally, understand why this item gets neglected. There is no trainer present, waiting for you, to create that accountability. No one will know, in the moment, if you shirk cardio. Furthermore, cardio can just simply be boring. Most of the time, its really just the same movement, over and over, for a long time. In fact, many of us have to find additional tools to tolerate doing cardio - watching TV, reading a magazine, listening to a podcast.
But the truth is that doing extra cardio is important. It burns more calories during the day. It increases your basal metabolic rate. It will make you live longer by keeping your heart healthy. So -rather than thinking of cardio as a boring necessity, let's make it fun and interesting!
They say that "variety is the spice of life" so we can apply that to our cardio choices. Variety will prevent your body from adapting to an exercise program and accelerate your results.
Choose 3 days out of your week to do cardio and follow this schedule:
Day 1 - High Intensity Interval Training. Only 10 Minutes! Get on the bike, treadmill or elliptical and alternate between 1 minute at an easy pace and 30 seconds at an all-out-sprint. Do 7 rounds for a total of only 10 minutes and 30 seconds of fat burning, heart pumping cardio.
Day 2 - GO OUTSIDE! Plan out a scenic, enjoyable walking or jogging route that would cover 4-5 miles. You don't have to run the whole time - or even at all! Walk at a brisk pace, enjoy the nice weather, and keep your mind occupied while your burning calories.
Day 3 - Have you ever tried boxing/kickboxing? That is crazy, high intensity cardio that burns tons of calories in a fun, unconventional way. Check out a local boxing/kickboxing gym, or ask your FT trainers to schedule a boxing/kickboxing session for you.
Remember - cardio is only as boring as you make it. It is a necessity for a healthy, athletic body but it can be fun and not just a necessary evil.