One of the biggest changes I've made since "New Year's"—more like late January—is going to the gym three times a week to workout for 45 minutes or more. I enjoy pushing my body to improve, especially when I lift weights. But there is one particular component that makes me dread my workouts—cardio.

I'm aware of all the benefits of cardiovascular activities: the increased energy throughout the day, improved mood, and the extra calorie burn to maintain weight. But frankly, I'm not a fan of transforming into a sweaty, breathless heirloom tomato every time I get on a treadmill. Here are some of the tips and tricks I use to make cardio a bearable and occasionally more enjoyable experience.

1. Don't Look at Clocks/Timers

Holly Park

Nothing makes time pass slower than watching red analog numbers slowly tick down as sweat builds at the temples of your head. Watching the clock makes me anxious to end the seemingly endless workout. However, I've found that covering any sign of passing time helps; Fifteen minutes passes a lot faster if you aren't staring at a timer. Use your sweat towel or phone to cover the dreaded clock and use your phone's timer instead.

2. Use Your Phone

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Denise Uy

If you prefer to workout alone, using your phone during cardio can be the difference between groaning at the sight of an elliptical and enjoying it. We already use our phones as a means of passing time so why not utilize them to our advantage at the gym? Listen to that podcast episode you forgot about last week, check out that long YouTube video you couldn't justify watching during midterm season, or read your favorite e-book—just remember to be courteous to others and use headphones. 

This is the perfect opportunity to distract yourself and start associating positive self-care with cardio workouts. However, don't spend your time texting or talking on the phone in the gym: you'll be too distracted to give your 100% during your workout. 

3. Change Up Your Boring Cardio Routine

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Shelby Cohron

There is a certain point when ellipticals and treadmills just don't cut it. If you happen to be someone who gets bored with the same old routine quickly, trying out different kinds of cardio workouts can be tremendously helpful. There are plenty of new, exciting ways to incorporate cardio into your workout such as indoor rowing machines, swimming, or hiking. Combating a boring routine is just a matter of finding cardio activities that get you excited to get your blood pumping. 

4. Find a Workout Buddy

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Julia Gilman

If you are more of a social person, grab a friend and hit the gym or find a class with a positive group environment. There is nothing quite like someone sweating alongside you, pushing you to get to the finish line. If you feel more comfortable working out with someone you know, this is a great opportunity to play catch up over cardio gains, as opposed to cocktails. If you are looking to meet new people, community support is a great motivating factor to continue cardio activities. If anything, misery loves sweaty company.

5. Arrange Where Cardio Belongs in Your Routine

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Manxi Qin

Depending on your fitness goals, the placement of cardio in a workout can vary. Weightlifting communities share a consensus about cardio being at the end of a workout, stating that cardio at the beginning of a workout will waste needed energy to lift heavier weights. Those in the weight-loss community advise that cardio workouts belong at the beginning of the workout to accelerate your heart rate and metabolism, while prolonging calorie burn throughout the day. If you are in-between these two goals, CrossFit or circuit training is a great way of switching between weightlifting and cardio for maximum results. 

Cardio is just as much of a mental struggle as it is a physical one; the thing about cardio is all in how you perceive it. Changing your routine to fit your personality, finding new ways to stay excited, or adding new fitness apps to your phone to make your workout efficient can all help, but bear this mind: A positive attitude about yourself, despite all the struggles you'll face in the gym, will make all the difference in your wellness journey.