You’re not alone; I too think cardio can be time consuming and boring at times.  When cutting fat is necessary, cardio is too. But rather than being a hamster on the never ending wheel, let’s identify a few alternatives to the treadmill that I find to be just as, if not more, effective when it comes to cutting fat.

Sprints

With spring knocking on our doors, it makes perfect sense to get outside and take in some Vitamin D.  If you’re looking to crank up your metabolism and get through your cardio in a short amount of time, set the clock for 20 minutes and head to a park, open field, or track.  Following a brief warm up (light jog and some light stretching), find your inner child and skip. If skipping is good enough for Olympic track athletes to both warm up and increase speed, then it’s good enough for us. 

Mix these sprint workouts in on a rest day or on a non-lifting day.

Sample Sprinting workouts:

  • 20 x 20 yard sprints - After your warm up, mark off approximately 20 yards.  Sprint the 20 yards and then walk back as your rest; repeat for 10 sets. Take a 3-minute water break; repeat
  • 6 x 100 yard sprints - Stretch it out with 100 yard sprints.  Take a 2-3 minute rest as you walk back between each 100.
  • 10 x 40 yards - Sprint down and walk back, repeat 10 sets.

Metabolic Finishers

These can be great additions to the end of your workouts.  Metabolic finishers can be added to the end of your workouts or they can be turned into a complete workout to compliment your strength training on your off days.

Measuring is the only way to determine if you’re progressing.  Add these circuits in and measure yourself each week for 4-6 workouts. Try to beat your rep count before moving onto a new circuit.

Timed format:  5-2-5 (work-rest-work, in minutes)

Workout 1

8 reps of each exercise:

  • 8 Pull-ups
  • 8 Push-ups
  • 8 Burpees

Workout 2

10 reps of each:

  • Dumbbell squat and overhead press
  • Wide Mountain Climbers - touch right-knee to right-tricep; repeat on left side
  • Dumbbell Bench Press

Do Something You Love

All too often we make things so much more complicated than they need to be.  I firmly believe in tracking your workouts to ensure progress. After all, the goal is to constantly evolve.  With that said, once you’ve completed your workouts and put in the time, I find it equally important to be active in your daily life and strive to have fun with it. 

Here are a few examples of exercises that don’t feel as conventional as the standard cardio options. I know if you’re reading this you are one smart cookie and can come up with a whole bunch more options.

  • Hike
  • Swim
  • Play a sport - basketball, tennis, volleyball, bowling, etc.
  • Dance
  • Jump rope
  • Play tag (great for those with kids, get them out there with you)

The point is, get out there and move your ass, and have fun doing it!  What are some of the unconventional exercise options that work for you?  Please share in the comments below.

Yours in Health,

Ben