Cardio Tips and Tricks for the Cardio Haters
I’m not a huge fan of cardio (hate it actually), but I’ve found ways to tolerate it. Now that I’m in my offseason, I probably only do LISS once a week, if at all. It’s something that I’d like to work on, but for now, I’ll settle for once a week. No marathons on the horizon for me, unfortunately.
When I was prepping, my high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio of choice was 3 sets of 20-40 kettlebell swings, sprints on the bike and/or the elliptical machine. I also did glute finishers as a form of “cardio” on squat or deadlift days. However, towards the end of my prep, I had a hard time doing my HIIT at the right intensity because I wasn’t recovering as well, so I switched to low intensity steady state (LISS) and limited it to when I felt good or well-rested.
These cardio tips and tricks might come in handy for those who are tired from a long day’s work, or for those who don’t have the time to do their cardio at the gym. It’s also a great way to stay active while watching movies or working at a desk.
Put on some Youtube vlogs, a movie, your favorite TV series, etc.
LISS can be pretty boring for most people, but I don’t mind it if I have something to watch. Usually I’ll put on a Youtube video that’s 20 minutes long and use that as my timer. When the video’s done, so is my cardio. I find this to be very effective at helping me pass the time.
My favorites are:
Multi-task as best as you can
When you’re pressed for time, sometimes multi-tasking is your only option. Since I do a lot of work on my computer, I combine cardio and work by propping my laptop on the stationary bike’s handlebars. It’s not the most stable rig in the world, but it’s pretty solid if the screws are tightened well. Also, I find that I can focus on my work more when I’m pedaling versus just sitting at my desk because I’m forced to stay upright and alert.
Purchase a compact stationary bike
This little guy is a new addition to the fam. I bought it as a present for the bae but I’ve been using it more lately because I’ve started to look forward to my “pedal-watching”. This is great for shorter people (I’d say 5’6” and below) to maximize the rotations. My favorite part about it is you can sit on the couch or even lie down on the bed (lol yes, I’m that person) with your legs hanging off. I find bike seats really uncomfortable and my butt starts to get numb after a while. My couch has excellent lumbar support, unlike traditional stationary bike seats, and it’s the perfect height for this compact stationary bike.
Don’t disregard little things like comfort and convenience especially when prepping. Any barrier that stands in your way will be amplified once you start dieting or cutting down. You’ll find every possible excuse not to do it if you don’t like cardio. Or maybe that’s just me.
Tip: when using this compact stationary bike, check to make sure that your knees have clearance. I’ve bruised my knees so many times already from not checking if I’ve adjusted myself properly.
It’s better than nothing
Sure you’re probably not burning a crap ton of calories, but it’s better than not moving at all. Since it’s low intensity, it shouldn’t impede recovery which is why I like it so much. HIIT is great but I find it to be too taxing sometimes. When I do a true HIIT session at an RPE 10, I sometimes feel more taxed afterwards compared to a typical powerlifting training session. I don’t know if it’s just my crappy work capacity, but that’s how it feels to me, which is why I use HIIT sparingly. LISS on the other hand, I can do for hours and hours without feeling too tired.
Please share if you found this article helpful! Also, I’m stocking up on TV series to download and watch during my next prep. Any suggestions?