Let’s face it, cardio can be a grid, but it’s a necessary evil when you’re chasing superior conditioning.
Thankfully, there are a few tried and trusted ways to beat the boredom, even for those hour-long steady state fasted cardio sessions on the treadmill or stationary bike.
In fact, there are many things you can do to make your gym-based cardio more enjoyable, other than merely listening to your favourite songs playing on your iPod…
#1: There’s an app for that
The gamification of fitness trend means that the world of interactive training is never more than a click away. A whole host of apps cater to those who want to add an extra dimension to their training, be it an immersive gaming experience, or a rewards-based approach where achievements and attaining specific goals receive recognition in the form of badges or credits.
If you prefer to stick with old faithful – your iPod or smartphone and your trusty earbuds – then technology can help make that more effective, too. The BeatBurn Treadmill/Outdoor Trainer app, for instance, uses beat-sync technology, changing the beat of your iPod music to perfectly match your pace and boost your motivation and enjoyment during cardio.
#2: Mix it up
Don’t limit your options to the conventional cardio machines at your local gym. While the treadmill and stationary bike are the go-to machines for steady-state cardio, you can also try the rower, elliptical or stepper, or any combination of the three during a session to best the boredom as they are all effective tools. You can also try a spinning or aerobics class for some added variety and a new challenge.
#3: Enjoy some ‘gymtainment’
A new trend emerging globally is that of ‘gymtainment’ – providing entertainment to gym-goers while they train. At the most basic level, this could include a TV screen in the console of your treadmill or stationary bicycle that offers a variety of channels or programs, while some gyms take it a step further with live music, DJs and even dancers during peak times.
You can also take a DIY approach by taking your tablet or smartphone along, or you can read your latest e-book or favourite magazine in digital format on your tablet while you peddle away. If your gym has free wi-fi there are also a growing number of streaming content options available to you.
#4: Train your brain
Your gym time need not focus solely on your physical development. You can also increase your general knowledge by listening to podcasts that offer insight and opinion on current affairs, or you can expand your horizons by using the time to learn a new language.
There are thousands of podcasts available for free download that you can listen to as you pedal or walk your way to a better body.
There is absolutely no reason why you can’t tune out during lower intensity cardio as there is no evidence to suggest that this has less of an effect on your heart rate or your physiological responses while you train.