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Cardio Leg Workouts at Home. How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise.

To get in shape before cycling season starts I do endurance training on my elliptical trainer until I can run 14 miles at a fast pace.

Exercise bike

Exercise bike

Why I Did Not Do Cardio Workouts At Home

I ran for hours and did not go anywhere. Exercising at home can make you feel like you're on a hamster wheel. There are no memories or pictures of far away places. When I stop it is almost like it never happened. After a few minutes everything is the same. So why not just watch TV.

Indoor workouts can also be very boring. You are doing the same movements over and over again. So it is very repetitive and feels like work. Wanting to lose weight or using willpower was not enough. I did not do cardio workouts at home because I was not motiving myself.

Treadmills, Elliptical Trainers and Exercise Bikes

Do you hang wet towels on your elliptical trainer, treadmill or exercise bike. People often lack the motivation they need to use their exercise machines. They do not go anywhere, they still look the same, they do not become stronger and they don't get a lot of positive comments. While working out at home you don't feel like you're accomplishing anything so you quit.

The main problem with treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes is that people get into the habit of doing the same workout over and over again. When you do the same workout 7 times it may start to feel like nothing is happening because you are not losing fat or gaining muscle. You could run on a treadmill 5 days a week for 3 months and have nothing to show for it.

Using an exercise machine is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get in shape if you can get yourself to use it properly. Based on my experience it is the easiest way to workout indoors.

Warning: Don't buy an exercise machine to lose weight. People that want to lose weight buy exercise machines but they don't use them. They think buying the equipment will motivate them to exercise. It does not work. Most of the people that use them on a regular basis are exercising to get in shape.

I was not using my elliptical when I wanted to lose weight.

I was not using my elliptical when I wanted to lose weight.

Walking and Running in Place

When you can't go outside you can walk in place or walk around your house. You can also run on the spot or do jumping jacks. Sometimes I walk in place while I am watching TV but it is easier to for me to use an exercise machine or play video games on the Wii. Playing motion controlled games can burn more calories than walking in place.

Walking on the same spot is one of the easiest and hardest exercises to do. Physically it is easy. Mentally I have trouble getting myself to walk in place because it is too easy. It is not as rewarding as playing a video game or walking outside.

How I Motivate Myself To Exercise At Home

Exercising once is not enough to bulk up or slim down. I was able to build a lot of muscle and flatten my belly doing a workout 12 times. One way to get yourself to exercise every week is to think about the future. If I do the workout 12 times then I am going to gain inches of muscle and lose inches of fat. Look at other people's results and remember what worked for you in the past.

Legs are for moving and lifting. Getting myself to bike to a beach is easy. Using my muscles to actually travel from one place to another is very rewarding. I enjoy the scenery and stopping to rest when I am 14 miles away from my house makes me feel powerful. When I am stuck inside I make plans, use my imagination and take pictures.

Train like you are getting ready to do something amazing. While you are exercising inside imagine that you are somewhere else. Take some before pictures and plan on taking the after pictures in 4 weeks. My go-to is Sandbanks Provincial Park. It is 38 miles away and has 3 large beaches that are some of the best in Canada. When I am biking, running or using my elliptical I think about biking to Sandbanks Beach.

I may only go to Sandbanks once or twice a year but it is the reason I can get myself to use my elliptical trainer for 3 hours.

Walk, run or bike outside when you can.

Walk, run or bike outside when you can.

How Do I Add Variety to My at Home Workouts?

There is no where to go so there are not many options but it is still possible to change a workout every time when exercising indoors. Increase the duration, speed or resistance. Try to do better than last time. Alternate between steady pace cardio for endurance and interval training for strength.

Limit the number of times you workout every week. I got better results doing a weekly cardio workout 12 times than I did doing a daily cardio workout 60 times. See if exercising one or two days a week is enough. Only increase the frequency of the exercises if it gives you better results.

Act like you do not want your body to adapt to your routine and try to get the results you want in 22 workouts or less. Then change to a different activity. After using my elliptical trainer 12 times and going for 12 bike rides I was able to bike 38 miles and I lost the belly fat.

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It is easy to add variety when doing the same exercise if you focus on improving and limit the number of workouts each week.

The elliptical display makes it easy to increase the distance, speed and number of calories I burn during a workout. My problem is that the calorie counter only has 3 digits.

The elliptical display makes it easy to increase the distance, speed and number of calories I burn during a workout. My problem is that the calorie counter only has 3 digits.

Goals and Instant Feedback

It is important to have goals and instant feedback. Pick a distance, the number of steps, or the number of calories to burn before starting your workout. Use the display on an exercise machine or fitness watch to track the progress. If you don't have anything better then use a timer. Displays give people the feedback they need to keep moving. That is why fitness watches are popular.

Timing yourself does not provide enough feedback. So track your distance, steps or number of calories burned if you can. When I use an exercise machine with a display or a fitness watch I can workout for a long time. When I try to walk or run in place without the feedback I get from a display I can only last a few minutes.

One of the reasons it is easier to do cardio outside is because you can set a clear goal and it is easy to track your progress. I pick the starting line and the finish line. When I am going from one place to another I see how far I went. Mentally it is easier to keep going when you know how far you have gone.

Fitness goals work better than weight loss goals.


When starting a new routine it is common for people to overdo it. After working out hard their body hurts for days or weeks. Take it easy the first 2 or 3 times. Then try to workout hard without being stiff or sore the next day. If you try to do too much too soon then you will end up sabotaging yourself.

Overtraining occurs when the muscles don't have a chance to heal between workouts. Exercising too frequently slows down your progress and it hurts. Don't ignore pain and weakness. Let your muscles become bigger and stronger by resting. Do cardio workouts 1 to 5 days a week. One day a week can be enough.

When trying to build muscle or burn calories don't be too hard on your body.

When I want to quickly lose belly fat I focus on improving my strength and endurance.

When I want to quickly lose belly fat I focus on improving my strength and endurance.

Working Up a Sweat

It is easy to work up a sweat after a few minutes of doing cardio indoors. There is no wind and you are stuck in place. So the air does not take the heat away. Drink lots of water and find ways to stay cool so your body does not overheat. Exercising in the morning and at night helps.

When it is time to quit don't stop right away. Slow down then stop. Stopping like a car slamming on the brakes is hard on your body and it can make you feel bad. Slowly reduce the speed and intensity. If you are hot and your heart is racing then coming to a complete stop is one of the worst things you can do.

I associate indoor workouts with being extremely hot. Your body can gradually adapt to the heat. That is the main advantage of exercising indoors. I adapted to the heat when it was freezing outside. Last summer when I was biking to the beach every weekend there were heat warnings most of the time. It was the hottest summer on record.

Indoor Cardio Exercise Ideas

elliptical trainer


cardio boxing

exercise bike

running in place

kick boxing


jumping rope

step ups

rowing machine

jumping jacks


ski machine

box jumps

exercise band rows

Exercise band rows.

Exercise band rows.

How to Do Cardio at Home.

People often have trouble doing cardio at home. The hardest part is getting yourself to exercise. Getting the results you want is the second hardest part. Choose the activity based on the desired results and find a way to track the progress. Then choose a measurable goal. For example running 6 miles at a fast pace on an elliptical trainer at the highest resistance level.

If it feels like work then you are going to give up eventually. Make it fun and rewarding like a video game. Turn into into a hobby. Don't focus on losing weight. Focus on improving and having fun. Do cardio at home as a form of entertainment. I like to do weekly cardio workouts at home and outside.

Exercising to lose weight was extremely difficult. Exercising to get in shape is easy.

The only problem I had while quickly getting in shape doing cardio indoors was that there was not enough resistance. Running, hiking or biking up hills is a great way to build muscle. Inside you may need to use the stairs or lift weights to build more leg muscle.

Include some strength training and use the stairs.

Include some strength training and use the stairs.

  • How To Turn Fat Into Muscle
    Reducing your body weight is one way to lose fat. Another is to increase your muscle weight. People that are trying to lose weight usually end up burning fewer calories. Gaining muscle allows you to burn more calories. When I want to flatten my belly
  • Off the Bike Strength Training for Cyclists. At Home Leg Exercises for Cycling.
    Strong muscular legs make it easier to bike up hills and go at a fast pace. Doing strength training in the off season can prevent you from losing the muscle you gained while biking. Strengthening your legs while you are off the bike during cycling se

Top 7 Indoor Exercise Tips

  1. Set clear measurable goals for each workout.
  2. Track your progress while you are exercising.
  3. Keep changing the workouts.
  4. Compete against yourself. Focus on improving.
  5. Limit the number of times you exercise each week.
  6. Have fun. Do it as a form of entertainment.
  7. Drink lots of water and cool down.

Doing cardio exercises inside your house can be as easy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Michael H


DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on December 18, 2020:

I find it very hard to exercise at home. I used to have a running machine but it was too heavy to carry upstairs and my husband didn't like it downstairs! It got put in the garage and I was happy to go out there to run but then people started putting boxes on top of it and having to clear it each time to run was very offputting. So it's not only having a machine you like, it's also having a place where it can be used exactly when you want to exercise. Good ideas on changing the exercises. I must try some.

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