I use the word fun very loosely here. I understand it takes a certain individual to enjoy this sort of thing and most people need a bit of a nudge to get going. Here are a few alternatives to cardio work that can help your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout your day.
1. Beat the deck – This is one of my favourites and works really well either as a standalone workout when time is short or for those looking to really take things up a notch at the end of their session. All you need is a deck of cards or find a random card app on your phone. Assign a different exercise per suit, set a timer and try and beat the deck.
Here’s a recent example I used with a client.
Clubs = Press Ups,
Spades = Inverted Rows,
Hearts = Squats,
Diamonds = Kettle bell swings.
All picture cards count as 10.
This took about 17 minutes to complete, and was a tough workout. You can play around with the exercise but keep a balance – think a push, a pull, a squat variation and a hip movement exercise and you will be ok.
Oh and if you have jokers in the pack they can be 10 burpees.
2. Sled pushing – Sled pushes are great as they burn a lot of calories and are pretty easy on the joints. We have a couple of options in the gym that get the same result. Our tyre is a 60kg brute and takes some pushing or we have a sled option where weight can be varied but the pushing point is much lower. I like to either work on the minute every minute or set a timer and see how many lengths can be completed in a given time. As a finisher, I try and work for a total of about 10 – 15 minutes with periods of high intensity (working) and periods of low intensity (lying on the floor crying).
3. Get the gloves on -We have a couple of trainers in the gym with some boxing experience and I’ve had a few workouts on the bag/pads with them. This has often been the hardest period of my session but definitely the most enjoyable. Try and get some pointers from someone who knows what they are doing or a couple of sessions with a coach to really get the most out of your time. The last thing you want to do is get injured. I’ve found mixing some pad work with some bodyweight fitness exercises is a really great way to spend a session.
4. Medicine ball circuits – I use these with some of my new clients when I’m trying to coach good form as well as get some intensity into their workouts. I use whole body movements with the added weight of a light medicine ball (maybe 2-3kg for most newby clients) and just tag them together. For example, a medicine ball squat and press combined with a side lunge and reach and a reverse lunge and rotation. That’s 3 exercises in all 3 planes of movement. 10 reps per exercise/leg takes about 60 – 90 seconds to complete. Rest for 45-60 seconds and do 5 rounds.
5. Sprints – Track or treadmill it doesn’t matter. An underrated way of training and a great way to get real intensity. If you’re a beginner then try and build gradually and get good form. Don’t try and run before you can walk as they say. A few quicker bouts of 30 seconds in the middle of your run is a good starting point. Use your rest period well, sometimes it’s tempting to keep the pace up here but doing so reduces the intensity of subsequent sprints. As you progress you should be aiming for a 1:2 work to rest ratio. One minute on and 2 minutes off or 20 seconds to forty seconds work well. A set of 10 rounds can make a brilliant HIIT session.