If you find yourself nearing cardiac arrest when you run, or it's been ages since you've seen the inside of a gym, chances are cardio is not a friend of yours. Alternatively, if you seek nothing but strength gains year-round, you may avoid stepping on a treadmill at all costs. Like it or not, though, we all need a little cardio in our lives.
If you have to do it, you might as well get it over with quickly before your body realizes what it's doing. Or, better yet, trick it into by doing exercises that don't feel like the traditional cardio workouts that bore you.
Sprint Intervals1 of 5
With sprints, it's all about speed, and this means a quick workout. Sprint training is an effective way to burn fat and calories. One study even shows you can burn up to 200 calories for 2.5 minutes for exercise.
Jog for 3 to 5 minutes as your warm-up. Mark your distance between 50 and 100 meters. Sprint the distance as fast as you can. Jog back to the starting point and sprint again. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Jump Rope2 of 5
There's something about jumping rope that takes us back to our childhoods. And while it might be more difficult to do than when you were a kid, jumping rope can often keep your attention better than other traditional cardio exercises. Plus, there are countless patterns and styles you can experiment with.
Try adding jump-rope exercises to your workout routine in rounds. For six rounds, jump for one minute using a speed rope. Rest for 20 seconds and repeat. Once you've mastered speed, you can continue challenging yourself by doing single-leg jump rope or double jumps.
Side Shuffles on Treadmill3 of 5
Have you ever stepped on a treadmill and felt like time actually stood still? It's common to loathe the human hamster wheel, but it's possible you might enjoy using it in a different way.
Set the treadmill speed between 2.0 and 3.5 mph. Start with a slower speed if you are new to this exercise. Using the handlebars, slowly turn to the right side so that your entire body is facing to the right..
Slightly bend your knees and shuffle your feet to the left, making sure your feet don't cross. Continue for one minute before switching sides. Repeat the set four times..
Over time, gradually try to increase the speed and let go of the handlebars. For a more difficult workout, try setting the treadmill to an incline.
Hill/Stair Intervals4 of 5
If you hate cardio, interval workouts should be your go-to plan. Running uphill—or up stairs—has added benefits you don't get from running on a flat surface, as it requires the muscles in your lower body to work differently.
Start with a light warm-up. Try slowly jogging or walking up the hills or stairs to gauge the level of difficulty before you begin your intervals. Sprint up the hill or stairs at a high speed. Once at the top, walk back down and repeat. Perform 4 to 8 reps.