For all but the most hardcore runners among us, chances are you have a hard time getting fired up about your two-mile jog every once in awhile. Though we love a good go-to routine as much as anyone, there are some mornings when the thought of lacing up our running shoes just isn’t as exciting as it used to be. For those days, we like to mix it up with a comparable cardio kick that keeps us on track (and engaged!) as we burn calories.
If you haven’t jumped on the rowing train (or would that be “boat”?) yet, you’re in for a treat. Not only does a half hour of rowing burn over 300 calories according to Harvard Medical School, but it works out your whole body and, yes, can deliver killer arms. If you’re baffled by the popularity of this exercise, worry not — most gyms now have rowing machines and even may offer group-rowing classes, so you don’t need to head to your nearest body of water to get a great workout.
Descending interval training
A form of interval training, descending interval training adapts some of the tenets of Tabata and other regimens but extends the period of intensity for better results. “It's more challenging than Tabata training and lets you sculpt the entire body while melting away fat. Your metabolism will stay elevated for hours after you finish your workout,” explains Daphnie Yang, an IISA Certified Personal Trainer and creator of HIIT IT!. Not only is this more adaptable on a day-to-day basis, but it burns more calories than your tried-and-true run.
Still can’t be convinced to give up running? Try adapting it instead. Deep water running offers all the benefits of traditional running but with less impact on joints — a win-win. You can also increase the difficulty created by water’s natural resistance by adding water shoes and water weights. Investigate whether your local gym or community center offers water-running classes or introductions.
That’s right — ropes aren’t just for jumping anymore. If you’ve spied these hefty looking ropes at the gym, chances are they’re being used for this intense, low-strain workout that works your core and arms. Use these in conjunction with HIIT-style increments for the best results, going full-out for 30 seconds and then resting for 30.