Trust us, we are well aware the summer shred is fading and the bikini clad beach numbers are dwindling. What doesn’t have to dwindle is your physique. You took the time to labor through those hours of cardio, but did you take the time to analyze if you could have cut down on that time? In a world full of shortcuts, use these 5 cardio enhancers as a tool for controlling your winter bulk.
1. Treadmill Elevation
Sure, running on a treadmill counts as cardio; most would applaud you for stepping on one in the first place. Now lets turn up the intensity and cut down on the time spent on it by ramping up the elevation. A simple adjustment from flat ground to just 2.5% can spike your heart rate up to 60%!
2. Upright Bike Intervals
The upright bike seems like the bastard of the gym. It’s not really hard to find one available and when someone is on it, no real work is being done. Grab that open bike and do work. Keeping an eye on your pedals per minute, double your starting resistance and keep the same pace for 30 seconds on/1 minute off intervals. Don’t be surprised at the pool of sweat under you in just 7 minutes.
3. Active Rest
Doing cardio doesn’t have to be so intense that you redline every few minutes and have to catch your breath. Take a different approach and scale back the intensity by utilizing active rest periods. Spike your heart rate and while you’re catching your breath choose an exercise that simply keeps you moving. As your cardio gets better, choose exercises that will challenge you further.
4. Circuit Training
With so many options for cardio available at most commercial gyms circuit training is always possible. String together three or four machines, set a time for each, and find out that not only will the time pass quicker but also your cardio will be more effective. Starting at a stairclimber, transitioning to a rower, and finishing off on the treadmill helps you engage more muscles – meaning a more effective workout.
5. Tabata Sets
Saving the most brutal cardio enhancer for last, Tabata sets will help you find new limits of muscle activation and cardiovascular endurance. Four full minutes of time is all it asks for in a very specific protocol; 20 seconds are spent at absolute 100% maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. These eight sets of maximum effort are deceivingly brutal.