If you don’t already know this about me, then you’re about to find something new out…I HATE CARDIO. Literally, just the thought of it makes me sad. Trying to drudge up fond memories of high school, and remembering being forced to “run the mile” for physical fitness testing gives me goosebumps, like listening to a scary story. So when I first ventured into the gym some years ago, it goes without saying that I didn’t even glance at the treadmills and bikes. And that’s how I spent the first solid two years of my time in the gym. I was consistent and determined, yes, because I lifted weights or used some sort of weighted equipment almost every single day of the week. I’d look at the ladies running their asses off on the treadmill and think to myself, “They are absolutely crazy. There is no way humanly possible that anyone can find enjoyment in that”. Then a bit of time went by, and the boyfriend suggested adding some cardio in my life. So, because I find him to be an intelligent human being, I began doing 10 minutes of cardio before I would lift weights. I know, I know…ten minutes! I think at some point I increased that to 15, at which point I thought I was dying. I had ZERO cardiovascular endurance. If The Walking Dead would have happened in real life, I’d have been toast. Period.
Fast forward another year or so to when I got the bright idea to take my training to the next level and compete. And it was all fun, prepping meals, seeing how creative I could get with my food while staying within the boundaries set forth by my coach, watching my body completely change with some very basic changes to my diet. And then my coach went and uttered the word I had previously banned from my vocabulary- Cardio. And just like that, my fun went out the window. Looking back on that first show prep now, I have to laugh because in the moment I thought that the cardio would be my death for sure. And now I’m seeing that what I once thought was a torturous task, is now sometimes even enjoyable. GASP! I’ve heard horror stories of women who’ve prepped for bodybuilding competitions that were doing ridiculous amounts of cardio. We’re talking something upwards of two hours per day. And here some of you are, complaining that you have to do half an hour to help reach your weight loss goals. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to two hours. But, thankfully my coach is intelligent (like the boyfriend) and uses cardio as an effective tool in weight loss. Simple terms: the more cardio you do, the more cardio you’ll have to do for it to be effective in helping you drop weight. It’s such an easy concept, but one that so many get tripped up by.
Anyhow, back to the topic…how the heck am I finding any enjoyment in cardio when it once was as painful as if I was being held hostage and tortured?
First– I do as little cardio as possible, year round, unless I’m competing. So I do enough to help keep my heart healthy, because we all know a little jogging and sweating keeps the ticker ticking.
Second– I’m a nerd. Wait, what? I’ve lost my mind…nerd, cardio? What?! Because I’m nerdy and devour books like my dog eats any food, I can lose myself in a book and before I know it, I’ve pounded out 30 minutes of cardio. Easy as that. So, find something you like…watch a movie, read a book, pick something to distract you from thinking about what you’re actually doing and you’ll find time seems to pass more quickly.
Third– In my ripe old age of forever 25 (because a lady never tells her true age) I have found that doing a little thinking outside of the box is good for changing things up. For the longest time, when I thought of cardio it was always on some stationary piece of equipment or running on pavement. That was it. But now, I’m older and wiser, and I have found new and much more fun ways to get my heart rate up. Sometimes I do little HIIT circuits right in my driveway. Body-weight squats, sprints, jumping jacks. Really the possibilities are endless. I’ve taken classes at my gym, which I swore I’d never do. Some of them are actually quite effective for cardio activity- just choose wisely. I’ve even pulled out my rusty tennis racket from high school and played a match or two. The one thing all of these activities have in common? They’re much more fun than running on an endless loop, AND they can all be done with a friend.
So, now my babble has come to an end, it’s about time that I shut up and put my money where my mouth is…and do my cardio workout. Today is sprint intervals, a sure way to end drenched in sweat and feeling good. What are your workout plans today??