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Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Going to the gym and pumping out rep after rep is the classic image of a good workout, but gym-goers are starting to get fed up with feeling like a hamster on a treadmill. More and more people are looking for ways to exercise that don’t feel like doing your daily chores.

Fortunately, our understanding of physical fitness is improving alongside our desire for more engaging exercise activities, If you’re looking to improve your health, but the boredom of a regular gym routine has got you down. Try incorporating these everyday exercise ideas into your life.

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Hiking

“Walking?!” Many of you might be thinking, what could I mean by endorsing that most boring of activities as a fun alternative to working out. To you I say, what you hate is walking, but hiking is different from walking. When you go walking for its own sake, you’re just plodding along until you go for however far or however long you’ve assigned yourself for this prescribed exercise activity. No wonder you’re bored.

Hiking is about taking in the world around you and any walking that you happen to do along the way is simply instrumental to the pleasure you’re getting from nature. This makes hiking a great way to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising. If you’re worried because you don’t have any hiking trails near where you live, no need to worry. You can get much the same experience in your city’s own parks. Look for things like this list of Philadelphia parks for your local area to get some ideas about where to hike.

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Swimming

It turns out that swimming is great for giving your muscles a good workout. Depending on your swimming pool exercise routine, doing your physical activities in water can either help you to ease into more difficult workouts or step your usual workout up another level with the added resistance of water all around you. Who knew that the ultimate symbol of backyard relaxation was also such an effective way to exercise?

Biking

Commuting by bicycle is something that more and more health conscious people are doing these days. It turns out that by leaving the car at home, you can get some great cardio in while doing your part to help the environment. It also helps that more and more cities are catering to their biking populations by providing safe bike lanes and innovative programs that will encourage citizens to get out on two wheels more often.

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If you’re just starting out with biking, try traveling back and forth to recreational events before you switch over to a totally car-free commute. For example, why not ride your bike to that baseball game that you’re going to see this weekend?

Rock Climbing

Nothing is more fun or provides a more complete workout than rock climbing. Pulling yourself up a sheer cliff is exhilarating, works every single muscle in your body just as well or better than the machines at the gym, and keeps your mind sharp by honing your problem solving skills. It’s the perfect solution for weary gym-goers who are tired of feeling like a hamster on a treadmill.

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If horror stories about the cost of climbing have you worried, fear not. Indoor bouldering (climbing on walls less than 15 or 20 feet tall) has taken off lately and is incredibly safe with large foam mats placed beneath climbers. Unlike traditional climbing, bouldering does not require a wallet-busting collection of gear. All you need is a pair of beginners climbing shoes and a gym membership to get started. That said, if you do decide to go the full gear route and tackle iconic climbs like Half Dome in Yosemite, take a tip from me and find yourself some kind of storage locker to keep your gear organized. There’s nothing more agonizing than spending $100 on a set of nice quickdraws only to have them disappear in a mess of equipment.

Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

All the great workouts in the world won’t help you if you get back from your hike, ride or climb and immediately open up a bag of Cheetos and a bottle of Mountain Dew. With new research showing that weight loss is as much a result of good exercise as it is maintaining a healthy microbiome, there’s more reason than ever to eat well on top of your fitness routine.

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

When people think of cardio, usually a boring treadmill, elliptical machine, or other mundane activity comes to mind. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

When you’re short on time or easily distracted, there are a variety of fat-burning cardio alternatives that will increase your body’s metabolism, boost weight loss, and keep you interested.

Here’s a list of different types of cardio workouts:

  • Steady State (Burns less fat, but isn’t as demanding on the body)
  • Interval Training (Burns more fat)
  • HIIT
  • Spinning
  • Stairs
  • Weight Training (Supersets) short rest periods
  • Weight Training (Compound Sets) short rest periods
  • Machine Circuit Training

And I’m going to talk about each of them in detail:

1. Steady State

Steady state cardio involves working at a low to moderate intensity — around 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, for a sustained period of time. This type of cardio doesn’t burn a huge number of calories, but it does burn a high percentage of fat tissue for fuel, and it isn’t too draining.

An example of steady state cardio would be a long outdoor walk at a moderate pace. Interval training, on the other hand, is much more intense.

2. Interval Training

Similar to HIIT but with exercises that are slightly longer in duration, interval training alternates levels of intensity. For example, if you enjoy running, you would run or sprint for 30 seconds, then bring down your heart rate and walk for two minutes.

Pick two intensities per interval, usually one at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate and the other at 60 percent, and alternate between them. I find that 85% for 30 seconds and 60% for one minute, not only burns more calories but increases my energy level as well.

Another example would be jumping rope. Jump rope for two minutes, rest for one minute. Begin again, this time jumping rope for one minute and resting for one minute. On the third and final round, jump rope for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds. Repeat five sets of this routine.

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3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Have a busy schedule? Fifteen minutes a few times a week is all you need. HIIT is an extremely popular workout because it can be done quickly, burn calories in a short amount of time, and can even be done in your home or during a lunch break at work. And the best part – You don’t need any equipment.

With the use of your body weight, HIIT is typically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of active rest which means your heart rate remains elevated for the entire 15-minute workout.

Check out this HIIT routine by Fitness Blender: 15 Minute HIIT Workout

4. Spinning

Spinning is a great way to get your heart up and keep it up in a 45-minute spin class. Our thighs and back are our largest muscles so they work the hardest.

To get the most out of spinning, try to stay out of the saddle throughout an entire spin class. That way, you are forced to hold up your body weight which burns more calories and increases intensity.

It’s also great for stabilizing and building strong core muscles, versus cycling outdoors, where most of the time you are sitting in the saddle and going for distance (steady-state cardio).

5. Stairs

One of my favorite places to get out of the gym for cardio and trim fat from my thighs and butt is the Santa Monica Stairs, near California’s most popular beach. Climbing 170 steps a few times builds the glutes, leans the thighs, strengthens the calves, and builds endurance.

So, if the gym is not your scene and you love the outdoors, climbing stairs is a great alternative. Find a place with multiple steps, do six or seven rounds, and you’ve easily burned around 600 calories.

6. Supersets

A superset is two exercises that work opposing muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings, or different body parts such as the lower and upper body with little to no recovery between sets.

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The superset may include two to five sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of each exercise or more.[1]

So, if you love to workout with weight-training but aren’t really feeling cardio, supersets with no more than 30-second rest periods between exercises will keep your heart rate up. Not only will you build muscle, you will burn fat!

For example, say you are doing a leg workout, five sets of exercises with high reps and low weight is all it takes to turn your weight-training into a cardio workout.

Here’s one of my leg training workouts:

i. Dumbbell Step-Ups on a secure bench or box (4×15, each leg)

ii. Front Squat (4×15)

iii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet (4×15)

iv. Leg Extension (4×15)

v. Leg Curl (4×15)

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    Photo Credit: Shape Magazine

    vi. Front Squat


      Photo Credit: Stack

      vii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet Squat

      viii. Leg Extension

      ix. Leg Curl

        Photo Credit: T Nation

        7. Compound Sets

        Compound exercises are exercises that recruit muscles in the entire body, such as pull-ups, squats, bench press, etc. However, a compound set simply means to “compound” the number of different exercises into a series of sets with little or no recovery between, similar to supersets.

          This may be accomplished by performing four to five exercises for the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups or total body exercises performed in succession such as full body extensions, followed by squat/cleans and complete the compound set of compound exercises with lunges with biceps curls.

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          Compound sets put stress on the body and are great for expending additional calories while strength-training.

          8. Machine Weight Training Circuit

          Like compound exercises, a machine circuit workout targets the entire body, upper body, lower body, or core. The difference is, with the use of machines instead of free weights, muscle strength is increased by by making your muscles work against weight.[2] By limiting rest periods between exercises to 30 seconds, your metabolism will go into over-drive!

          Machines also give you better control over the exercises, which decreases risk of injury.

          Here’s a machine circuit training example: Muscle and Strength Machine Workout

          The Bottom Line

          The above-mentioned workouts should be completed within 30 minutes, unless you’re taking a class which is typically 45 to 60 minutes, giving you time to get on with the rest of your day.

          By keeping your rest periods to a minimum between exercises, your heart rate will stay elevated and you will burn more calories, get lean, and have more energy.

          Don’t be a gym rat, spending unnecessary time doing lengthy workouts that give you minimum results. For efficient weight loss, perform these workouts three times a week and watch the fat melt away while achieving your fitness goals.

          More Resources About Weight Loss

          Featured photo credit: Spencer Dahl via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Mountain Life Fitness: Super sets, compound sets and giant sets
          [2] Better Health Channel: Resistance training – health benefits

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