Episode 21 – How to make cardio more exciting

Today is about cardio. Some people like to skip it so let’s make cardio more exciting.


Cardiovascular (or cardio) training is a type of physical activity that involves the cardiovascular and respiratory systems of the body.

Some benefits of cardio include:

  • Better recovery from physical and mental exertion
  • More stamina through elimination of waste by-products (metabolites) and more efficient fuel (nutrient) delivery
  • Better thinking processes (better delivery of fuel and efficient removal of wastes)
  • Lower chronic disease risk for conditions such as diabetes type II, heart complications, obesity and cancers, etc.


1. Mix it up and start with some interval training

This is probably the easiest tip to adopt into your current cardio training. Instead of just doing 10 mins on the bike or 2000 metres on the rower, try one of these techniques:

  • Pyramid
  • Ramp
  • Reverse Ramp



If you can think of a pyramid (or triangle), what does it look like? It’s starts from a point and then builds to a peak and then finishes to a point again. You can also apply this pattern to rowing, jogging, cycling, hill sprints – you name it, the pyramid works!

This is how you can start to build a pyramid interval program for running. For example,

  • 1 min Run, then rest
  • 2 min Run, then rest
  • 3 min Run, then rest
  • 2 min Run, then rest
  • 1 min Run, then rest.



The second type of interval pattern is a ramp. This pattern gradually gets longer in duration as the session progresses. This pattern might start out fast and intense, then steadies into a longer high-moderate intensity as time progresses. Let’s have a look at an example:

  • 1 min Run, then rest
  • 2 min Run, then rest
  • 4 min Run, then rest
  • 8 min Run, then rest
  • 16 min Run, then rest.


Reverse Ramp

The reverse ramp would simply be the opposite to the ramp. The pattern would start out moderate in intensity and longer in duration and then builds into a faster, more intense but shorter timeframe of cardio.

For example,

  • 16 min Run, then rest
  • 8 min Run, then rest
  • 4 min Run, then rest
  • 2 min Run, then rest
  • 1 min Run, then rest.


2. Try different types of cardio

Get involved in different types of cardio workouts. This is called cross training and while the activity is different you’re still essentially doing cardio. Some examples include:

  • Cardio classes
  • Resistance based group classes
  • MMA classes
  • Outdoor bootcamps
  • Dance classes
  • Pairing up cardio equipment, eg. bike and rower
  • Circuit training


What’s the other two ways to spice up your cardio? Read on!



3. Join a club or sporting group

Test yourself with cardio in a different arena to what you’re comfortable.

They will have a mixture of people in the group such as senior, more experienced individuals who can act like pacers and leaders as well as other beginners just like you.

Some great examples include:

  • Zumba
  • Sports
  • Bike, running or swimming club
  • YMCA
  • Or even visit an indoor or outdoor sports facility to see what they can on offer (indoor netball, indoor cricket, indoor table tennis, squash, volleyball, etc.).


4. Go out in nature

Test yourself by going out into nature. Not only will it make a difference in your cardio workout but it’s also a great way to get your mates involved – make an event, have a picnic and take plenty of photos. It might even turn out to be a weekend of great memories as well. Give these a try to make your cardio more exciting.

  • Ocean swim – Instead of swimming in a pool where it’s a 25-50 metre pool, try swimming in open ocean water. Note: be careful, read the waves, understand the currents, swim between the flags.
  • Climb mountain terrain – the variable height, size, steepness, challenges, and elevations will no doubt spice up your cardio. It’s the unpredictable terrain that you will enjoy and push you to the limit.
  • Bike off-road – great challenge because it’s in a completely different environment and believe it or not, off-road biking is absolutely different from road biking as well as the stationary bike in the gym.



There you go guys and girls, a few easy tips to spice up your cardio to make it more exciting.


Here are the top four tips to keep in mind:

1.  Mix it up and start with some interval training

2. Try different types of cardio

3. Join a club or sporting group

4. Go out in nature


Feel free to watch the video


  • Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
  • Erhman, J. Gordon, P. Visich, P. Keteyian, S. (2003) Clinical Exercise Physiology. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
  • Myers, T. (2009) Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists (2nd Ed.). Churchill Livingstone
  • Scientific Publishing, Ltd. (no author) (2006) Scientific Publishing’s Anatomy Chart Book. Scientific Publishing Limited
  • Sherwood, L.(2004) Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems (5th Ed.) Thomson, Brooks/Cole

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.


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