We hear it all of the time: I hate cardio.

Why is it that one of the most important types of physical activity out there is so dreaded by so many people? Do people really hate cardio that much, or are they doing it wrong? And what about all of those people who claim to love running and working out? What’s their secret?

We suspect cardio enthusiasts have a few secrets worth sharing, so that’s what we’re going to do. Keep reading to learn how to fall in love with cardio again or perhaps for the first time.

Consider the benefits.

The benefits of cardio are abundant. Things like mental clarity, boosted metabolism, and increased energy simply cannot be achieved through screen time or naps on the couch. So, even though cardio might be painful for a time, you have to admit, the benefits far outweigh and outlast a 60-minute sweat.

Switch things up.

If you’re jogging the same route every day, or hopping on the same stationary bike at the same time every morning, then you’re going to get bored. You just are. And there’s a chance that you don’t actually hate cardio — you just hate redundancy.

The key is switching things up. If you usually use a treadmill, try a row machine. If you always run at the same pace, try a sprint workout. If you usually quit halfway through a 60-minute cardio workout, try doing 30 minutes of cardio and then lift weights for the second half. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your cardio. The important thing is that you do it.

Get out of your head.

If you’ve ever talked to a long distance runner, and asked them how they do it, they probably told you, “It’s all mental.” That may seem like a cop-out answer, but guess what? There’s a lot of truth in that statement.

If running truly is “all mental” as they say, then cardio workouts in general are, too. That being said, the key to liking something that your mind is saying it dislikes has to be… changing your mind. There are a lot of ways you can go about changing your mind about cardio, and different things work for different people. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Stop saying you hate it. This is key. Yes, it seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people tell us they’re trying to run more or workout more, but in the same breath, they tell us how much they hate it. The more you verbalize your hatred of running (or cardio in general), the stronger your disdain for the activity will become. The mind is a powerful thing. Best to not give a voice to the things holding you back.
  • Listen to music. Whether music serves as a distractor or a motivator for your breathless workouts, it can be a great way to keep your brain energized and stimulated. Music can help to pass the time while you get lost in song lyrics, or it can keep your stride up while you channel the tempo. If you’re bored by music, consider listening to a podcast. It’s almost like having a workout buddy by your side, and what’s an hour of cardio when you’re listening to Jocko talk about self-discipline and fitness?
  • Talk to yourself. You’ve got to learn to be your own cheerleader. Whether it’s 30 minutes of burpees or the big uphill climb at the end of your workout, you’ll perform better if you’re giving yourself positive affirmations. Don’t be afraid to say them out loud either. Anyone who sees you will probably assume you’re singing along to your playlist. But then again, who really cares what they think? This cardio time is your time. You are strong. You don’t quit. You are fearless. You are a champion. Keep on moving. Never give up. Chin up. Eyes ahead. You’re almost there. You’ve got this… Get it? That’s how lovers of cardio talk to themselves.
  • Never trust the first mile. This tip is running specific, but it might be the most powerful mind game out there. It’s easy to get a few strides into your run and decide, “I’m not feeling good today. I’ll cut this short.” But that first mile can be misleading. Sometimes you don’t find your stride until mile two, and then you have an epic run. Never trusting the first mile means that you don’t make any excuses or decisions about your run until you’ve hit that second mile. You can take this tip into your other cardio workouts as well and say, “Never trust the first nine.” Wait until minute 10 to determine how you really feel about your workout.

Find a community.

Many people don’t like cardio or running because it’s a lonely activity. If that’s your excuse, the solution is simple: Find a buddy! You could join a gym and attend group workout classes. Take it one step further, and make friends with your instructor and the people you workout with so that you have a support group and some sort of accountability.

You could also hire a personal trainer or running coach. The advantage of having a trainer is that your “workout buddy” is all about you and helping you succeed. You’ll have someone to push you when you’re tired, give you reliable fitness advice when you’re unsure, celebrate with you when you hit your goals.

Balance Fitness is a great place to find your cardio community. Our personal trainers will push you and encourage you every step of the way. Contact us today to discuss the opportunities at Balance Fitness, and let’s get you where you want to be.