How many of you out there associate cardio workouts to weight loss? Many people do, and it's true. Simply put, you will lose weight if you do cardio. Therefore, people tend to hit those machines full force. And that's great, because when the adrenaline kicks in and the motivation is in high gear, that will tend to carry you. But when the novelty wears off, and when the progess isn't what you expected, or you just simply get bored, then what?
The #1 thing to remember when deciding to take on a workout regimen is to vary it! For example, if you do the treadmill everyday, running 5.0 miles per hour (mph) on a 5% incline, you may notice a change in your body.
It could be that your clothes are starting to feel looser, or that there is more definition in your legs. But if you keep that up, several months down the line, you may notice the progress tapering off. So you begin to wonder why. "Am I not working as hard?" "Am I doing something wrong?"
In reality, it's natural for a body to "plateau," meaning the strength stalled and the exercises stopped increasing. The human body is incredibly effective at adapting to change so the key here is to constantly change up your routine, intensity, and duration. So for example, if you use the treadmill, one day you can increase the speed and keep the incline at a bare minimum for about 15 minutes.
The next day, you can do intervals, meaning you can increase the speed for a few minutes, then decrease the speed for a few minutes. On day three, you can raise the incline significantly, but just walk it, to get your legs and body used to that position. Then increase the speed and duration slightly if you feel ready. There really are many many ways to vary a workout on any type of cardio machine.
On the other hand, you may detest cardio machines just for the simple fact that they are "boring." If you fall into that category, don't despair. You are not alone! Many people fail at their attempt to achieve cardio fitness simply because they are bored. If that's the case, try going outdoors. That can be just as effective, plus you get the benefits of breathing the fresh air.
You can vary your workout outside just as effectively as if you were to be on a machine. You can walk, brisk walk, jog, stride and/or sprint. You can do a walk/jog combination one day. A jog/sprint combination the next day. There are many different combinations you can put together to keep "tricking" your body into thinking its doing something new, whether you are using a machine or utilizing the fresh outdoors. So get motivated, change it up, stay safe, and have fun!