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Allergic To Cardio? Get Your Sweat On With These 4 Gym Cardio Challenges - Antsy Labs

Allergic To Cardio? Get Your Sweat On With These 4 Gym Cardio Challenges

If you’re looking for some gym cardio challenges to spice up your workout routines, you’re not alone. Plenty of people prefer the rippling glamor (and Instagrammy results) of bicep curls and ab circuits. The idea of hitting the treadmill for anything more than five minutes (and burn away all my gains?!) can seem downright counterproductive.

Yet, you know as well as we do that cardiovascular health is equally crucial for overall well-being. You also know as well as we do that you could probably stand to eat a few more veggies, too, but we’ll save that struggle for another day. 

Still, we’ve all been there: sometimes running on a treadmill or pedaling away on a stationary bike can feel monotonous and uninspiring. 

One of the main reasons we first created our Strength Training IRLA (In Real Life Achievements) challenge medal was to inspire people like you to pursue their gym goals and to push back against those days that felt more like chores than challenges. That’s still important, but now we want to pair IRLA Pack with another themed challenge to kick up your cardio. 

With that, we’re excited to introduce four themed gym cardio challenges that just might make your treadmill a little less tedious, your cycling a bit less of a chore, and your rowing more riveting. Let’s get to it! 


These IRLAs are for those who stick with their dreams. Training programs require commitment, dedication, and sacrifice. Each new coin is a testament to the time you suited up and got after it. From hours at the gym to the prep at home, you set yourself up for success and now it’s yours for the taking.

Now go get those gains.

1. Around the World in 7 Days Treadmill Challenge

Before we get into these four cardio challenges, let’s be clear first that these are just meant to be suggestions for some fun spins on your workout routine. 

We encourage you to check with your doctor first before starting any fitness routine, or if you’re already cleared for workouts, that these are within your level of fitness.

With that out of the way, enjoy our first gym cardio challenge: the Around The World in 7 Days Treadmill Challenge.

  1. Parisian Walk

Begin your global treadmill journey with a leisurely Parisian walk, simulating a stroll through the charming streets of Paris for 30 minutes while enjoying French café music.

To pair your stroll with a popular artist, try an Editih Piaf playlist. Her classic French chansons will transport you to the romantic streets of Paris, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

  1. Egyptian Desert Jog

Today, imagine jogging through Egypt's vast deserts for 30 minutes, accompanied by the rhythms of Middle Eastern music, embracing the ancient mysteries of the pyramids.

Get into the mood by listening to Amir Diab, as his lively blend of Arabic and pop music will energize your jog through the imagined deserts (without the heat).

  1. Caribbean Beach Run

Experience the vibrant Caribbean atmosphere with a 30-minute interval training session on the treadmill, feeling the energetic pulse of reggae music as you envision sunny beaches.

Who better than a bit of Bob Marley? The king of reggae, Marley's music is ideal for a Caribbean-themed run.

  1. Indian Adventure

Embark on a 30-minute brisk walk that takes you through the colorful and bustling streets of India, energized by lively Bollywood music.

To add some pep to your step, look up A.R. Rahman. His dynamic and diverse compositions, often featuring in Bollywood films, will add a vibrant soundtrack to your Indian-themed walk.

  1. Japanese Zen Run

For today's 30-minute jog, immerse yourself in the tranquil and meditative landscapes of Japan, with traditional Japanese music guiding your peaceful run.

For a change of pace, listen to Kitaro. His soothing and meditative music is a great match for a peaceful, zen-inspired jog through imagined Japanese landscapes.

  1. Australian Outback Challenge

Take on the Australian Outback with a challenging 30-minute interval sprint session, motivated by the rugged landscapes and energetic Aussie rock music.

There are a lot of fun Aussie bands, but why not try Midnight Oil? Their energetic rock music, infused with Australian cultural themes, will motivate you through a challenging outback-inspired interval sprint.

  1. Brazilian Carnival Race

Conclude your treadmill journey with a high-spirited 30-minute run, capturing the lively essence of Brazil's Carnival, powered by upbeat Samba rhythms.

Finish your challenge with Sérgio Mendes. His upbeat and lively Brazilian tunes are perfect for a high-spirited run, capturing the essence of a festive carnival atmosphere.

2. The Tour De Gym Stationary Bike Challenge

This cycling challenge takes you on a tour through the heart of France, mirroring the varied and exciting stages of the world's most famous cycling race, the Tour de France. 

Each day, or stage,  offers a unique experience, from gentle rides through picturesque landscapes to challenging climbs in the mountains, culminating in a victorious lap through Paris.

Stage 1: Parisian Flatlands

Start your challenge with a gentle 30-minute ride, reminiscent of the flat stages often seen in the Parisian outskirts, capturing the essence of Paris.

Stage 2: Breton Hills

Increase resistance for a 30-minute hill climb, simulating the rolling hills of Brittany, with Rennes providing a blend of flat terrains and gentle hills.

Stage 3: Alsatian Vineyard Sprints

Engage in 30 minutes of interval training, inspired by the sprint stages through the picturesque vineyards of Alsace, taking you through the scenic routes of Strasbourg.

Stage 4: Riviera Coastal Ride

Enjoy a relaxed 30-minute pace, envisioning a ride along the stunning French Riviera, starting from the beautiful coastal roads of Nice.

Stage 5: Pyrenean Peaks

Prepare for a 30-minute uphill battle, mimicking the challenging ascents of the Pyrenees, with Pau as your gateway to these mountainous stages.

Stage 6: Time Trial in Bordeaux

Focus on a 30-minute session emphasizing speed, mirroring the time trial stages often held in and around Bordeaux, known for its flat and straight roads.

Stage 7: Champs-Élysées Victory Lap

Conclude with a celebratory 30-minute light ride, symbolizing the final victorious stage on the famous Champs-Élysées, finishing in the heart of Paris.

3. The Seven Towers Stair Climb Challenge

Each day you’ll virtually climb a different famous tower or structure. We'll estimate the number of steps and time it might take, making it attainable and fun. The goal is to match the number of steps or the equivalent duration it would take to climb these towers. 

Keep in mind that there are some that are more doable (Leaning Tower of Pisa) and some that might be a real stretch goal (Burj Khalifa). Take your time, and if you need to break one day into two or three, that’s okay.

  1. Eiffel Tower, Paris

Steps: Approximately 1,665 steps to the top.

Challenge: Climb for about 30 minutes, simulating the experience of ascending this iconic structure.

  1. Empire State Building, New York

Steps: Around 1,576 steps to the 86th-floor observation deck.

Challenge: Aim for a 25-30 minute climb, matching the effort it would take to reach this famous deck.

  1. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Steps: 294 steps to the top.

Challenge: This is a shorter climb, so aim for about 10-15 minutes, focusing on maintaining a steady pace.

  1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai (to the 163rd floor)

Steps: Approximately 2,909 steps.

Challenge: This is a marathon climb representing the tallest building in the world, so let’s aim for about 60 minutes of stair climbing.

  1. CN Tower, Toronto (to the main deck)

Steps: Around 1,776 steps.

Challenge: Target a 35-40 minute climb, experiencing the height of this Canadian landmark.

  1. St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Steps: 528 steps to the Golden Gallery.

Challenge: Go for a 20-minute climb, enjoying the feel of ascending this historical structure.

  1. Taipei 101, Taiwan

Steps: Approximately 2,046 steps to the 91st floor.

Challenge: This should be around a 45-50 minute climb, simulating the experience of ascending this modern skyscraper.

4. The Seven Seas Rowing Challenge

Each day, pretend to row in a different famous body of water, with varying intensities and stroke rates.

  1. Amazon Journey

Begin your rowing adventure with a 20-minute steady row, imagining a journey down the lush and mysterious Amazon River, focusing on technique and the beauty of nature.

  1. Mediterranean Cruise

For today's 20-minute session, picture a relaxed Mediterranean voyage, rowing with a moderate pace as you take in the scenic beauty of the coastal landscapes.

  1. Arctic Challenge

Challenge yourself with a 20-minute high-intensity interval rowing session, visualizing navigating through icy Arctic waters, building strength and endurance.

  1. Nile Discovery

Embark on a 20-minute long, endurance-focused row, traveling down the historic Nile River, surrounded by ancient wonders and the rich history of Egypt.

  1. Pacific Sprint

Engage in a fast-paced, 20-minute rowing session, simulating a sprint across the vast Pacific Ocean, pushing your speed and agility to the limits.

  1. Caribbean Calm

Enjoy a 20-minute relaxed rowing session, immersing yourself in the calm and soothing waters of the Caribbean, focusing on recovery and the rhythm of your strokes.

  1. Atlantic Crossing

Conclude your rowing challenge with a diverse 20-minute session, mixing different techniques to simulate a long and adventurous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, celebrating your week of achievements.


These IRLAs are for those who stick with their dreams. Training programs require commitment, dedication, and sacrifice. Each new coin is a testament to the time you suited up and got after it. From hours at the gym to the prep at home, you set yourself up for success and now it’s yours for the taking.

Now go get those gains.

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