Don't make these 5 Cardio Training Mistakes

Do you ever hop on a machine for some mindless cardio?  Maybe you listen to music, watch the Last 10 Pounds Boot Camp on Slice TV or read a magazine.
I get it… I do the same from time to time.  I know I’m not working out as effective as I could be, but sometimes just doing something is good enough, and catching up on who is dating who in Hollywood is an added bonus.
There are a variety of cardio machines to chose from, depending on what gym you go to.  My personal favouites are the rower,  treadmill and spin bike.
As fool proof as cardio machines can be, there are a two things you should not do. These mistakes are common- I see them everyday at the gym.  If you do them you are saying good bye to burning extra calories, and saying hello to poor posture and weak muscles.
1. The Death Grip.
This one is my pet peeve.  Holding onto the treadmill or stair climber is an easy way to burn img_5306fewer calories during your workout session.   I often see people walking at a 15{2b5efc2dfd6f746083e0b4737cc27a283af0896f749c2b426ffd8dffe89bfddb} incline, hands on the railing, and leaning back.  Sure, the treadmill says you are burning a ton of calories, but it’s a machine.  It doesn’t know any better.  If you keep the treadmill going when you go to the loo, it will still say you are burning some major calories.
Holding on to the treadmill is similar to being pulled by a slow moving car when you walk outside- not an effective way to workout.  Although some people may hold on for fear of losing their balance while exercising, many people hold on because of habit, and simply because it is significantly easier. 
If you feel unsteady on the cardio equipment, slow down, lower the incline, and simply rest one hand on the handle.  As you gain confidence, you can drop a finger.  If you find walking, running, or stepping while holding on easier (especially when you walk or run uphill), you are absolutely right- and an easier workout is probably not your goal when working out.  If you need to hold on, your workload is too high.  Slow down, lower the incline, or lower the load on the stepper until you can manage the intensity hands free.
2. Resting on the equipment. 
Leaning on the cardio machine means your legs do less work, which means you don’t get as cardio-training-mistakesgood of a workout.  When on the elliptical machine, stand upright.  When biking, ensure that the majority of your weight is on your seat and legs.  When on the stepper or treadmill, follow the first point of this article and don’t hold on at all.  Yes… even the stepper!
I understand the need for mindless workouts.  The kind when you can just sweat, burn calories without focusing on pushing yourself or proper form while doing burpees.  Do me a favour though, and don’t hold on or rest on the equipment
3. Catching up on your reading. While reading or watching TV prevents exercise boredom, they can also distract you from getting a proper workout. If you really enjoy reading or watching TV during exercise, take short breaks to focus on your exercise. For example, pick up the pace during a commercial break, or do one minute at a higher intensity after you finish a page. To increase enjoyment and effectiveness of your workout, swap the novel for upbeat music. 
4. Doing the same workout day after day. We are creatures of habit, and it is easy to fall into the routine of hopping on the same cardio machine, slugging away at the same pace, for the same length of time. While this works for the first few weeks, the body quickly adapts to the workout. This adaptation results in few calories burned and a plateau in fitness level (possibly weight loss as well). To combat the plateau, change your workout routine frequently! Add intervals where you work harder for a set amount of time, and change the type of cardio equipment that you use. If you are very comfortable doing your current routine- it’s probably time for a new one.   Switch things up with these 4 fast and effective cardio trainig workouts!
5. Doing only cardio or doing too much cardio.  Cardiovascular exercise is important, but so is strength training. Strength training builds bone mass, speeds up your metabolism, and builds muscle strength. If one of your goal is to lose weight or to increase muscle tone, resistance training is key.  Doing too much cardio training can also be counterproductive- especially as you head into your 40s and beyond.  Cardio training is a stress on the body- and while some stress is good, too much will inhibit recovery, muscle growth and fat loss. 
While any exercise is beneficial, avoiding these mistakes will allow you to get the most out of your workout. The result: more calories burned, and more weight lost for your exercise minute!  

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