How do I make my cardio workouts more interesting?

August 16, 2014

Q: I’m looking for some different types of cardio that will keep my interest and prevent me from having to do endless sessions on the treadmill. Do you have any suggestions that might reduce the boredom and help me get better results?

A: If spending 40 minutes on the dreadmill staring at the wall doesn’t get you excited about working out, it might be time for a cardio makeover. Why not step outside the box and try something new and exciting to help you achieve your goals? Here are five effective ways to do cardio that will jump-start your metabolism while engaging your mind, keeping you fresh and motivated.

Split cardio sessions

Ever feel like you just don’t have the time or energy to do 40 minutes of cardio? Why not divide and conquer your workout by doing 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes directly after your evening workout? Not only will it be less painful, but research shows that splitting your cardio can boost your metabolism for longer periods of time, leading to greater fat loss.

Interval training

Most fitness professionals would agree that interval training is one of the best ways to burn fat because it forces the body to constantly adapt to the workload. To perform interval training, simply alternate lower-intensity cardio with bursts of higher intensity. A good example would be walking for three minutes and jogging for 30 seconds for beginners or jogging for three minutes and sprinting for 30 seconds for those with higher fitness levels. Interval training is also great because it keeps your mind occupied and makes the session seem twice as fast.

Metabolic interval training

Some people love cardio while others love weight training, so why not combine them for a fast-paced hybrid workout? Metabolic interval training is an intense combination of weight lifting, calisthenics, body weight exercises and different forms of cardio that gives you the benefit of building muscle while increasing muscular and cardiovascular endurance. A couple sets of these babies and you don’t need to do cardio. A good example would be a set of dead lifts, pushups, jump rope and bicycle crunches done in consecutive order and then resting for approximately two minutes and repeating the process for a desired amount of sets.

Cross training

Who says you have to stay glued to one machine for your entire session? Try splitting your cardio among several different machines, giving your body a completely different look. A good example would be running on the treadmill for 10 minutes, changing to the elliptical for 10 minutes and finishing with a speed inline walk for 10 minutes. This technique allows you to master challenges in different combinations, constantly keeping your body off balance and forcing it to master new tasks. You can also take your routine outdoors by simply substituting activities like jogging, biking and swimming.

Athletic cardio

If you’re a former athlete or you like new adventures, you can create some awesome workout routines simply by using the community as your playground. Try running the stadium steps at the local high school, entering a local 5K race, doing wind sprints in an abandoned parking lot or going for a beach run in deep sand.

The possibilities are endless, so what are you waiting for? Give your cardio workouts a complete makeover by incorporating the above techniques, and you just might have some fun in the process.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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