5 Ways to Make Your Cardio Workouts More Effective

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Some folks show up to the gym like it’s a total chore.

We’ve all seen it: They punch the clock, grab a towel, do their alotted 40 minutes of elliptical machine drudgery, and get on with their lives. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with putting in the time because you feel like you have to, gutting through a cardio workout even though you don’t want to do it is a sure way to get burned-out on your gym routine. (Also: While cardio is great for improving overall health—these workouts prove it—don’t assume that “doing cardio” has to equate with “losing weight.”)

Fortunately, there’s a better way. By starting with these five basic tips in mind, you can ensure a more productive (and more enjoyable) workout—and better chances at the weight-loss results you want.

1.) Pick the right machine

Ellipticals with levers that you push back and forth with your arms offer a better workout, since integrating your upper body will activate more muscles.

2.) Don’t hold on

If you grip the frame of your machine, you’re making it easier.

3.) Forget the numbers

Stay focused on how you’re burning the calories. “Don’t expect the activity to do the work,” says Joe Stankowski, C.P.T. Throw a towel over the display and just concentrate on pushing yourself hard.

4.) Pay attention to how you feel

“Listen to your own body and monitor your own effort,” says Melissa Rodriguez, C.S.C.S. “Soon you’ll be able to rate the quality of the workout by how your body feels when you finish.”

5.) Be honest with yourself

Don’t cheat, skimp, or cut corners with your workout. 

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