Since most gyms provide a variety of exercise equipment for a cardio workout, you can switch things up and do different exercises each day of the week to avoid getting bored. Changing up your routine regularly will keep your whole body tight and toned. Adding resistance exercises to your cardio routine will maximize muscle definition and further decrease body fat.
The duration and intensity of your workouts determine the results you’ll get at the gym. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends men and women complete at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise each week to gain health benefits. Aim to complete at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests adding resistance training to your workout routine at least two to three days per week, and completing two to four sets of eight to 20 repetitions for each exercise you perform.
Run or jog on a treadmill on day one of your five-day workout — while watching your favorite television show — to increase your cardiovascular endurance and burn calories. According to Harvard Medical School, a 125-pound woman can burn 240 calories in 30 minutes jogging at a pace of 5 miles per hour, while a 155-pound woman jogging at the same pace and duration will burn about 298 calories; bumping up your running speed to 6.7 mph will burn 330 calories if you weigh 125 pounds and 409 calories if you weigh 155 pounds. To increase the muscle definition in your legs, after your run do some lunges, wide-stance squats, narrow-stance squats and calf raises using dumbbell weight or just your own body weight.
To change things up a bit, use a stationary bike at the gym for at least 30 minutes on day two of your five-day routine. To help pass the time during your workout, watch television, listen to music or read while you’re on the bike. Harvard Medical School reports that a 125-pound woman can burn 210 to 315 calories using a stationary bike for 30 minutes, depending on her intensity level, and a 155-pound person burns about 260 to 391 calories in 30 minutes. After you’re done biking, complete some resistance exercises that work your back muscles, such as lateral pull-downs, bent-over rows, back extensions or bent-over flyes.
On day three of your five-day cardio workout plan, hit the treadmill once again but this time walk at a quick pace uphill for at least 30 minutes. You can do this by increasing the incline on your treadmill. Walking uphill will help strengthen and tone your hamstrings and butt. When you’re done walking, complete some resistance-training exercises that work your chest muscles; examples include pushups, bench presses and chest flyes.
Switch up your cardiovascular workout once again on day four by hopping on an elliptical cross-training machine at your gym. Harvard Medical School reports that a 125-pound woman burns about 270 calories, and a 155-pound woman burns about 335 calories in 30 minutes using an elliptical training machine. When you’re done with your cardiovascular workout, take some dumbbell weights and work your biceps and triceps muscles by doing front biceps curls, lateral biceps curls, triceps extensions and triceps kickbacks.
Make day five of your cardio workout routine one you look forward to each week. Choose an aerobics class, including water aerobics, at your gym that’s fun but makes you work hard. If you weigh 125 pounds you can burn 165 to 210 calories, and if you weigh 155 pound you’ll burn 205 to 260 calories in 30 minutes, depending on the intensity level of your aerobics class, according to Harvard Medical School. Double that calorie expenditure if your class is 60 minutes long. After your class, do some quick abdominal exercises to tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles; examples include sit ups, straight-arm crunches, front leg raises lying down, oblique crunches, the bicycle and holding a plank position for at least two minutes.