It’s the little things that matter most in life. Just like a compliment from a stranger makes your day, simple changes in your diet or fitness routine can make a huge impact on your health. This is the first installment of our Simple Swaps Series. In this series, you’ll learn how to make small swaps that can seriously impact your performance at the gym and on the scale. This first blog in our series will explain the simple swaps that can amp up your cardio routine for maximum calorie burn.
Distance for Intervals
Running for an hour straight is impressive, but it doesn’t burn as many calories as switching up the intensity for a shorter period of time. Doing an extended period of steady-state cardio is great for beginners and can be done more often than intervals. Unfortunately, it tends to be boring and your body stops burning calories shortly after the exercise is complete. If you’re looking to burn calories hours after your workout is complete, try breaking up your cardio into high-intensity and low-intensity blocks. If running on the treadmill is your favorite way to get your heart racing, try sprinting for 30 seconds and walking for 90 seconds.
Flat Road for Hills
If switching up speeds isn’t your thing, try upping the ante by increasing the incline on the treadmill. Serious runners prefer running outside over treadmills. Do you know why? It’s because running on the treadmill is too easy. Treadmills pull your feet back as you run, making an incline of zero much easier than running on a flat track outside. And let’s be honest, New England is made up entirely of hills. If you plan on taking your runs outdoors anytime soon, you need to acquaint yourself with a series of hills. Next time you slip on your sneakers, try incorporating some hills into your cardio routine.
Staying Put for Switching It Up
Cardio is a necessary evil in everyone’s workout routine. Make it less miserable by switching up what machine you’re on instead of spending the entire time on one machine. Switching up machines will allow you to work different muscles, and will make you less likely to sustain an injury from repetitive motion. Challenge yourself to spend 10 minutes on 3 different machines. For example, spend your first 10 minutes warming up on the bike, then run for 10 minutes, then finish your last 10 minutes on the stair climber.
Rest for Cardio Sets
This swap is kind of like a “get out of jail for free card” that you can cash in when the gym isn’t that crowded. Next time you’re lifting weights, instead of resting between sets, try adding a minute of cardio. Have you ever wondered how boxers become lean, mean, fighting machines? Boxing movies don’t put in countless scenes with jump roping for cinematic effect. This stuff actually works! Weight lifting keeps your heart at a steady rate that burns calories, but on a slower pace. Increasing your heart rate while weight lifting will increase your calorie burn and shorten your workout because you eliminated rest. In between sets, try jump roping, mountain climbers, or jumping jacks. Just be sure to respect other gym-goer’s space and only try this out when you have the room to sprawl.
Elliptical for Kettle Bell Swings
Let’s be honest. Does anyone actually enjoy being on the elliptical? Swap out your dreaded elliptical routine for some kettlebell swings. This will kill two birds with one stone. Not only does this torch some major calories but it’s also an excellent workout for your glutes. Choose a weight that is heavy enough to have an impact, yet light enough to perfect your technique.
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