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You’re busy and have a tight schedule. We get it. But don’t let your planner get in the way of living an active, healthy lifestyle. Your moments at the gym are precious, and we don’t want you to waste a second. Do you want to know the secret to having the best cardio workout ever? You need to give it your all. Not sure what we mean by that? We’ll break it down for you.

Armed and ready.

Take a moment to list 3 cardio workouts in your head. Done? Okay. We bet you were thinking along the lines of running, elliptical, riding a bike, dancing, etc. Have you ever noticed that the majority of cardio workouts are all lower-body based? While we’re all about lean legs, it’s time to give your upper half a little love. Get the most out of your cardio workout by putting your whole body into it. When you’re walking on an incline, swing your arms. This helps you burn more calories with the arm movement and challenges your core when you don’t hold onto the machine. Or the next time you’re grooving to your favorite Zumba track, don’t let your arms linger by your side. Shake and shimmy like you mean it.

HIIT it!

Do you want to see results faster? You have to be intense about your workouts. Crank up the intensity of your workouts by making your everyday cardio routine into an interval workout. If you love the stationary bike, spend a few minutes biking at an average pace. Then for one minute, we want you to pedal as fast as you can. Now repeat. This type of high intensity interval training (HIIT) helps you burn more calories and build endurance.

Wash, rinse, and don’t repeat.

Raise your hand if you do the same routine at the gym day in and day out. It’s time to spice up your workout! While we’d love for you to get into a gym routine, getting stuck in a workout rut increases boredom and slows down results. Your body gets better at the movement, so running at a 10-minute pace will become easier – but less effective. Not the thing you want to hear when you’re trying to get to your goal weight. How often should you change your workout? We’re not suggesting a complete overhaul, but don’t be afraid to try new things. If you’re getting too cozy with the elliptical, switch it up with a Group Fight class. Do you love spinning? Say goodbye to the bike once in a while, and take the stairs in Group Blast. Switching up your routine will keep your workouts interesting and allow your muscles to heal.

Harder, faster, stronger.

Change doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. You have to push the limit to get the results you desire, and this is especially true once you’re used to a certain type of workout. We’re not saying you have to break up, but you need to put down some new rules. It’s time to make your favorite workout harder. Love running? Increase the distance or speed. Are you a fish out of water when you’re not in the pool? Strap on ankle and wrist weights the next time you do a few laps.

Put your heart into it.

As you know, cardio is short for cardiovascular (that is, having to do with your heart). For optimal fat burn, you want your heart to be between 65 to 75 percent on your maximum heart rate.

Here’s how to calculate the minimum heart rate you want when performing cardio:

(220 – Your Age) x 0.65

For example, if you’re 30 years old, you want your heart rate to be above 124. There are so many affordable fitness trackers on the market nowadays that your heart rate is easy to keep an eye on. Are you having trouble keeping your heart rate up during your workout? You need a killer workout playlist.

Stave off sleepiness.

Is cardio not your cup of tea? We know that going to the gym after work is practically a death sentence, especially when you’ve had a long day at the office. Instead of throwing in the towel, have a little afternoon pick-me-up. Studies found that having a little bit of caffeine before a workout not only wakes you up but also helps your performance. That’s right – no more half-hearted workouts. All you need is 3 to 5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight (2.2 pounds), i.e. less than one cup of coffee.

Get the most out of your cardio routine and your gym membership with a cardio group fitness class. Try a class for free today!

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