Depending on your fitness goal, there are some common mistakes that could be stalling your progress. Whether you're doing cardio to drop weight, lose body fat, train for a race, or decrease stress, see below for the most common cardio mistakes, and how to fix them.
Goal: Train for a Race
Mistake: Using the treadmill
Using the treadmill to train for a race doesn't work as well as hitting the streets, unless your race is on a treadmill (doubtful).
The problem with using the treadmill is that the ground is moving for you so you do not have to use the muscles on the back of your legs to pull yourself forward. Because the ground is moving for you, you literally just pick up your legs, which is very different biomechanically than running outside. Also you miss out on running downhill, which is very hard to keep your running technique and takes practice. Without getting off the treadmill you won't learn how to handle the force of going downhill. This could set you up to injure yourself in your race.
The Fix: Train on the same terrain as your race.
Hit the streets or the trails to get ready. You should also look up the elevation of the race you want to peak for and train for hills if necessary uphill and downhill.
Goal: Decrease Your Body Fat
Mistake: Doing the same thing over and over again.
If you get on the same cardio machine, clock the same amount of time, at the same intensity every day, you're wasting your time. Doing the same thing over and over again, your body adapts and stops changing and will not drop body fat.
The Fix: Change it up.
Change up your routine including intervals as mentioned above. Each time you work out, push yourself harder than the last time. If you've been using the same machine for more than 4 to 6 weeks it's time to switch it up. (To bulk up the right way, follow these 10 Tips to Build Lean Muscle.)