All of us are guilty of getting into a fitness rut at one point or another—myself included. But if you've been doing the same workout without results, it's time to switch up your game.
The good news: The treadmill and elliptical aren't the only cardio kids on the block. In fact, there are quite a few cardio machines and fitness tools gathering dust in gyms that offer a workout as intense as running, says Chris Freytag, personal trainer and Prevention contributing editor.
From the tried-and-true StairMaster to an overlooked childhood go-to—the hula-hoop!—here are seven ways to shake up your slim-down. (Supercharge these workouts with 10 Tips To Torch More Calories.)
Line at the treadmills? Head over to the rarely used rower, a kick-butt cardio machine that mimics the motion of rowing across water.
"If you need to shed a few pounds, this is the machine for you," says Julia Derek, a personal trainer at Reebok Sports Club/NY. "Not only does this piece of cardio equipment burn serious calories, but it also strengthens every major muscle group except for your pecs."
Nicole Nichols, a fitness instructor and coach for SparkPeople.com, agrees: "You can burn 600 calories an hour or more with the rowing machine—that's comparable to running." (Don't forget the 10 Fitness Myths Holding You Back.)
"This is one piece of equipment that shouldn't be put in the corner like Baby in Dirty Dancing," jokes Amy Dixon, fitness instructor and star of the Breathless Body 2 DVD.
Not familiar with the name? On this machine, you stand upright and you use your arms and legs to simulate climbing.
"Think StairMaster-meets-mountain-climbing-meets-Spiderman," says Dixon. "It's a total-body exercise because you have to use your upper body to pull against gravity. It is functional, challenging and will help you burn more calories than an elliptical or treadmill any day, as long as you put in the work."
"Weighted hooping is an energizing, fat-burning cardio and muscle-sculpting workout that is endlessly fun, creative and sexy," says Freytag. "You can burn between 400 and 600 calories an hour with little to no impact on your joints."
Hang out in the yard and hoop, do it with the kids, or even twirl it around your waist while you watch TV for a killer ab workout.