After a long summer, vacations where you fall off track and breaks that are longer than you expected, going to the gym can seem like a daunting task. Get back into a steady exercise routine by trying these tips to make your cardio routine more effective: 

 

PLANNING IS KEY

Make sure to know exactly what you’re doing ahead of time. When you start, aim for two to three sessions per week with workouts that get progressively harder.

TIP: Remember being able to handle more than before proves that you’re making progress. 

 

FOCUS ON YOUR WORKOUT

If you have a magazine or book you thought about catching up on while you worked out—think again. Get rid of it!

TIP: When getting back into your workout groove, focus on one thing at a time—hence your workout.

 

DON’T SKIP A WARMUP

Doing warmup exercises will increase your mobility and prepare your body for the task at hand.

TIP: Warmups are commonly overlooked, but skip them and you’re much more likely to get injured.

  

CHANGE PACE

Unless you’re training for a long-distance race, avoid moving at the same pace for an extended period of time.

TIP: Varying the intensity of your workout increases your metabolism. Pretty cool, huh?

 

SPRINT IT OUT

Add sprints to your normal run or do them as their own workout session.

TIP: Sprints rev up your metabolism and can actually assist with building muscle in your legs.

 

JAZZ UP YOUR CARDIO EXERCISES

For an extra little something, try mixing in bodyweight exercises in between your cardio. Your body will thank you later.

TIP: This will break up your session so you don’t get too bored of it. Plus, (obviously) it adds a strength-building component to your routine.

 

FIGHT YOUR INNER NEGATIVITY

Yep, seriously—ignore that voice in your head that tells you not work out. You know the voice that also tells you to slow down, take a break or just flat out quit. Put it on the hush.

TIP: Fitness is a discipline. Give yourself time to learn to embrace the hard work.

  

TAKE THE TIME TO COOL DOWN

Make sure after a moderate or an intense workout to bring your heart rate back down.

TIP: Doing this will not only improve your recovery progress, it’ll progressively slow your body down after an intense session.

 

MAKE A WORKOUT LOG

Track your exercises, how much weight you lift, how far you went, how long you exercised for and the tempo of your cardio. 

TIP: Numbers don’t lie—documenting your progress will keep you in tune with what works and what doesn’t.

  

KEEP CONSISTENCY 

One great cardio session never got anyone anywhere, but a month of cardio sessions? That’s when you really see the payoffs.

TIP: Get into a routine and stick with it. It’s that easy! Don’t give up.