Back when I was in college, I used to be a strict cardio bunny who never touched weights or barbells. My workout routine consisted of some light treadmill or elliptical work coupled with hiking and outdoor activities and plenty of weekend walking from frat party to frat party. I never followed any kind of strict schedule and was more of an occasional exerciser who hand little idea of how to exercise to achieve the body compositional changes I was seeking. Growing up I had been active through dance and sports but once I entered adult life, I realized it was going to take a lot more than just occasional elliptical training to see changes in my body and to build a long-term exercise routine. Cardio was my go-to exercise crutch for most of my late teens/ college years that was minimal effort and made me think that I was “healthy” enough that I did not have to do more…WRONG! Little did I know at the time that cardio alone would not help me in achieving my long-term body transformation goals.
When I first started my weight loss journey HIIT training was my new BFF. I did hours of cardio and body weight circuits in hopes of the fat melting off me like all the magazines raved. Much to my surprise, doing Fitness Blender cardio workouts in my dorm room worked! Once I started doing consistent cardio exercises 4-6 days a week the pounds started flying off me, yet my body did not look “fit” like I was hoping. Slowly I stepped away from the cardio and started doing more mixed training with some light weights, eventually finding my way into build building type training. Instantly I became obsessed with the way weightlifting made me feel and was even more hooked on the way it shaped and toned my cardio bunny body. Even with the resistance and weight training I was doing the fear of weight gain was real for me, so I kept doing at least 3 steady state cardio sessions per week. Sometimes I was lifting for an hour and doing elliptical training for a second hour to ensure I never got too “beefy” or “bulky” from the weightlifting alone, which I would later learn is a totally made up concept.
After losing 30lbs I basically abandoned all cardio training. I got bored of walking on the treadmill and doing long elliptical sessions and pretty much swore off steady state cardio. It wasn’t until I started training for a triathlon that cardio started to be interesting again, but even then, the idea of doing cardio on top of my strength training plan was a bore. I was desperately longing for a workout style or plan that would allow me to strength train all parts of my body while also getting that cardio training in all at once so I could get in and get out of the gym fast and have more time for my friends and social life.
WOD style workouts quickly caught my attention and interested when I joined Train Denver in 2018. What I love about short interval style workouts is the variety and opportunity to do both strength and cardio in one session. WOD’s combine the endurance and high rates of cardio with the power of strength training to provide me a mentally and physically challenging full body workout. Since joining Train Denver, I have learned how to create short cardio WOD’s for myself at home and have found that there are so many fun ways to get my cardio in! Tabata cardio is one of my favorite ways to get my heart rate up without getting bored. My go to cardio is a circuit is a mix of burpees, jumping jacks and skate jumps/lateral jumps. I have also found that even doing a short 1 mile run outside can be a great way for me to move mindfully, enjoy the summer weather and get my cardio in.
Cardio training is super important for heart health as well as improving WOD endurance. Since adding in some extra cardio, I have been able to greatly improve my ability to push through when the WOD is long and my strength feels low and have found my athletic performance increasing across the board. Below are a few of my go-to sample WOD’s for when I want to get a quick home sweat in or just am in the mood for some fun cardio. These workouts are so easy to modify and personalize as well. Not feeling burpees, just sub another plyometric movement and you have yourself a full-on home WOD!
AMRAP 15 or 12
(As many reps as possible in a given time frame)
- 10 Burpees
- 10 Sit-ups
- 10 Push-u[s
(Every minute on the minute complete the given work, alternating movements)
- 5 Burpees
- 10 Box Jumps
- 15 Jumping Jacks
3 Rounds For Time
- 15 Jumping Lunges
- 20 Burpees
- 30 Sit Ups
(21 reps of each movement, 15 reps each movement, 9 reps each movement)
- Skater Jumps
- Kettlebell Swings