Can You Read During Your Cardio?

As a personal trainer I’m in the gym almost every day. I see the same people trying to lose weight. They get on a cardio machine (a treadmill, bicycle, or elliptical) and start to read a good novel or the latest Hollywood gossip in a magazine.

 Do you know what happens to those people? In 6 months – or even a year – they will weigh the same, and they’ll be wondering why.  They’ll say ‘I go to the gym all the time, why am I not losing weight?’ I’ll tell you why. 

 Believe me, if you can read a novel or a magazine during your cardio session, you not pushing yourself hard enough! When you do your cardio, reading a magazine should be the last thing on your mind. You should be focused on your breathing and trying to catch your breath!

 People who get the best results are the ones who push themselves outside of their comfort zone. I accept that long slow cardio can be good for form and when you need a change once in a while. But if you really want good results – and as fast as possible – go with the interval training and push hard!

 How you do interval training? I prefer to use the treadmill but you can use the elliptical (especially for people with knee or lower back problems) or the bicycle. Start by doing a good warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes, and increase your speed (or resistance) slowly. After your warm-up, really up the pace (or the resistance) and sprint for 1 minute. Then, slow your speed and jog or spin gently for 1 minute. Repeat the pattern 10 times. Let me know if you can read a novel with this workout! If you still can read, you’re not sprinting fast enough!

 This is the best way to make your cardio work to the maximum, increase your heart capacity to transport oxygen to your muscles, and get the best results.  Best of all, you don’t need to stay on the cardio machine for 60 minutes. That means more time for you and your family or for doing other activities!

 This is the same technique I used for the lean body challenge last year, and I became the grand champion! Next time you hit the cardio machine, forget your book, bring a towel and your water, and enjoy the ride.



Keep Lifting, Stay Fit !!!


Winner of New Year Lean Body Challenge 2008

Martin Bolduc