If you’re like me, then you probably HATE running! I just can’t wrap my head around how someone chooses to run willingly, or how marathon runners can run for miles on end. After about a half mile in, I get bored and call it quits, even while using music as a distraction! I need alternative method to doing cardiovascular exercises because running around the neighborhood or running around a track simply won’t cut it for me. I’ve finally found a method for me that makes cardio easy and entertaining that you can do in the comforts of your own home!
Cardio(Heart) Vascular(Blood Vessels)
Your cardiovascular system carries oxygen and nutrients to the tissues of the body while also removing carbon dioxide and waste. When this system becomes blocked with plaque, nutrients are unable to get to the heart which can lead to heart disease. There are many types of heart disease, but the most common are Congenital Heart Disease, Arrhythmia, Coronary Artery Disease, Cardiomyopathy, and Congestive Heart Failure.
Think of your cardiovascular system as the engine of a car. Everything in your car revolves around your engine. The last thing you want to happen is to see that check engine light come on! With a healthy diet and regular exercise, you minimize the risk of heart disease.
Common Causes Of Heart Disease
- Poor Diet
- High Blood Pressure
- Bad Cholesterol
Types Of Cardiovascular Activities
When it comes to doing cardio exercises, we primarily focus on doing things such as running, speed walking or jogging. I don’t include walking at a normal pace as a form or cardio because it doesn’t really elevate the heart rate. We walk every day of our lives and still manage to gain weight, so using walking as a form of cardio for weight loss is counterproductive. Any exercise that gets the heart rate up for an extended period of time is considered a cardiovascular exercise. My two favorite cardiovascular exercises are interval training and riding an exercise bike.
Internal training, also called Circuit Training, is the concept of doing multiple exercises back-to-back with little to no rest in-between sets. The goal is to keep the heart rate elevated so that you can burn more calories which results in more weight loss. An example of this would be running in place for 30 seconds, then immediately begin doing jumping jacks for another 30 seconds. Both of those exercise combined would be considered as 1 set. You can add as many exercises as you want to each set for as many sets as you’d like. Sometimes, I do up to 4 different exercises per set. The more exercises you do per set, the more calories and fat you will burn.
This is my favorite way to train. I usually work 2 muscle groups at a time by doing 3-4 different workouts, 10-15 reps each, for 3-4 sets. Interval training is a great way to get a quick workout in if you’re pressed for time. My sessions usually last 30-45 minutes. During that time, my goal is to keep the heart rate elevated so that I can burn as much fat as possible. Here’s as example of what 1 set of interval training looks like for me.
Bicep & Shoulder Day
- Alternating Dumbbell Curls: 10-15 Reps
- Hammer Curls: 10-15 reps or until failure
- Standing Shoulder Press:10-15 Reps
Here’s the dumbbell set that I recommend.
All of this is done back-to-back without any rest. After doing 3-4 sets of these exercises, I rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute and do the same thing for 3-4 new exercises that work those same muscle groups. You can alter your interval training in whatever way that works best for you: AS LONG AS YOU KEEP THE HEART RATE GOING.
Xterra Folding Exercise Bike
My 2nd favorite type of cardiovascular exercise is riding my Xterra folding exercise bike. It allows me to keep my heart rate up for extended periods of time just as it would if I were to go running. I usually hop on my bike first thing in the morning while I’m on my intermittent fast. Depending on my schedule for the day, I try to ride anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Burning those extra calories on an empty stomach helps speed up the fat loss process. The key to this though, is not to overcompensate by eating bad foods that are high in calories when your session is over. That will only replace those calories you previously burned resulting in no weigh loss or even weight gain.
Working out first thing in the morning gets that fresh blood circulating in your body which makes you more energetic and upbeat during the day. It also helps release stress that you would otherwise hold inside if you sleep in instead. When you start off your day with a workout, it helps your day go by much smoother.
Make Cardio Fun
Whether I choose my exercise bike or interval training, I always find ways to make it fun and keep it entertaining in the process. The beauty of having your own home gym is that you can multitask while you work out. While doing interval training, I usually have a movie playing or will watch a YouTube fitness video of someone who a physique similar to the one I want. That gives me the extra motivation and push needed to go harder. It also helps you lose track of time because you’re into a movie or TV show and before you know it, you’ve extended your workout, ultimately burning extra calories.
I’ve come to the realization that I just don’t have the mental fortitude to push myself when I run outside. I get bored and distracted way too easily. The whole time I’m thinking about other things that I’d rather be doing. An exercise bike allows me to get a great cardiovascular workout in while also doing the things I love! If you enjoy playing video games, watching TV, or doing various activities on your phone, then riding an exercise bike will be perfect for these tasks. While riding, I also use a bicycle phone mount that allows me to check the news, reply to emails, check my calendar, and browse social media as I get prepared for the day.
A great benefit to riding an exercise bike is that it doesn’t require any real focus so you can multitask while you ride. To increase productivity, I have a rule set for myself where I can’t watch any TV or play video games to start the day unless I do them while riding. This is a great way to consolidate some of your time so that you have more time for doing other fun activities. Being entertained while doing cardio helps keep things fun so that I don’t get bored and stop easily like I do when I run outside. If you hate running, this should be a great alternative to help your burn that extra fat while having fun at the same time.
Is Your Check Engine Light On?
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of deaths among Americans. Approximately 1 out of every 3 deaths is due to Heart Disease. Are you at risk for heart disease? The key to prevent heart disease is to maintain a healthy diet and incorporate a cardiovascular workout plan. By doing this, you will prevent plaque from building up in the arteries that surrounds the heart.
If you have a hard time pushing yourself while you run, try using an exercise bike as an alternative. They are affordable, doesn’t require much space, easy to store, and have a resistance knob that allows you to increase the intensity of your workout to really get the heart pumping!
Doing an interval training session after you’ve knocked out some calories on your bike will burn some major fat! If you want to see those pounds fall off then this is the way to go! But don’t forget to couple this with a healthy diet! Best of luck on your journey!!!
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Peace & Blessings!