The old days of believing that in order to see results in the gym you have to be a slave to the treadmill or recumbent bike are over. Haleluya!
We now know that if one wants to significantly change their body, they need to combine a healthy diet along with a progressive strength training program on a consistent basis to see results. Where does cardio come into play? Well, If fat loss is a priority for you, doing cardio will help you reach your goal faster by burning more calories on a daily basis and exercising one of the most important muscles in our body- the heart!
But if you are someone who absolutely dreads the treadmill or spin bike, cardio can be a real DRAG. There is good news. You CAN increase your endurance and get your cardio session in without stepping foot onto a treadmill. It gets better. These workouts can be done in less than 30 minutes and you’ll burn A LOT more calories than you would have if you ran for 30 minutes straight on the treadmill.
So what are these magical unicorn style workouts?
They are called cardio strength training workouts, and they work wonders if you want to lose body fat but despise all types of cardio. Below I share a couple examples of what a cardio strength training workout may look like.
What you’ll need:
A jump rope
A Medicine ball
After you warm up, perform 30 seconds of a kettle-bell swing. Nothing fancy here. Just a good old fashion swing. Not sure how to do one? Check out this video here for a demonstration.
Without resting, grab the jump rope and jump straight for 60 seconds. Jump as fast as you can!
Next, grab that medicine ball and get ready to slam it vertically down to the ground (as hard as you can) for 1 minute straight.
After you're done with the MB, get onto your hands and feet in a pushup position to do 30 seconds of mountain climbers for 30 seconds straight.
So your split should look like this:
- 30 seconds KB swings
- 60 sec jump rope
- 60 second MB slams
- 30 seconds MTN climbers
Rest 1 minute. Then repeat the circuit by starting with the KB swings. You can set a timer for 20 minutes and go around the circuit as many times as you can with very little to no rest. Keep track every week of how many circuits you complete and each week try to get one more complete round in. This is a great way to get the heart-rate up, (similar to how you would feel doing straight cardio) increase your endurance, and burn a lot of calories by having the weights to work with as well as the aerobic factor.
What you’ll need:
Yup. In this circuit all you're going to need is your own body weight and some open space. Here are the exercises:
Burpees. You hate them. I hate them. I know and I’m sorry.
Side kick through
Split Squat jumps
Side lunge with hop
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds minimally and make sure to alternate between right and left sides. Set a timer for 20 minutes OR repeat the entire circuit for 4-5x. Rest minimally after each complete round.
These cardio strength training workouts are a great alternative to traditional cardio if you are someone who hates the old school methods of cardio’ing.
What’s more effective than doing cardio?
Meal prepping and counting macros! Remember 6-pack abs are made in the kitchen and you can’t out train a bad diet- no matter how much cardio you do. If you are looking to get the best results by doing the least amount of work, alter your eating habits first by focusing on behavior changes that you can make to your everyday routine. Then focus on a progressive weight training program you can stick to.
Cardio is a great form of exercise for the heart and to build endurance, but it certainly is not the end all be all to getting the most out of the time you spend in the gym. If you do decide on implementing cardio into your gym routine, understand that you shouldn't be doing something you hate and if you hate doing cardio, remember you have much more fun (and effective) options.