Generally speaking, three forms of cardiovascular training are prevalent these days among gym-goers: steady-state cardio (continuous activity for a long duration at a relatively low intensity); high-intensity interval-training or HIIT (high intensity bursts alternated with low intensity “active recovery” or full rest); and metabolic conditioning or “metcon” (made popular by CrossFit, high intensity work incorporating all varieties of exercises and rep schemes and often prescribing no formal rest periods).

How’s a fit chick who wants to shed fat and get in shape know which cardio is best for her body type? That’s a passionate debate that rages on daily in gyms across the country, from various trainers, on social media and on message boards. “Truth is, they all work,” says Justin Grinnell, CSCS, owner and head trainer of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. “It depends on your goals at the time as to which way you should sway more. As a beginner, it’s beneficial to do all three so your body feels its different energy systems and you can find what works best for you.”

That said, Grinnell strongly suggests performing the following three cardio/conditioning sessions each week. These can be done on non-lifting days (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday if you lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) or after lifting sessions (for example, Cardio Workout 1 in the same session as the Workout A lifting workout, and so on). 

Note: If you’re performing a cardio workout on an off day, perform the dynamic warm-up before the workout.

Workout 1: Steady State

  • Perform 20-60 minutes of moderate intensity cardio (around 140-180 heartbeats per minute) on a bike, treadmill, elliptical or other machine or activity of your choice. If you’re de-conditioned, start at 20 minutes and add 5-10 minutes to the workout each week. 

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Workout 2: High-Intensity Interval-Training  (HIIT)

  • Using the treadmill, bike or rowing ergometer, go at an easy pace for 2-5 minutes to get a feel for the movement. Then, perform 8 rounds of 30 seconds as fast as possible followed by 30 seconds of rest. If HIIT is new to you, you can increase your rest intervals to 60 seconds and/or reduce the work interval, gradually moving toward the prescribed 30 on/30 off prescription as you improve your conditioning. 

Workout 3: Metabolic Conditioning (“metcon”)

  • Perform as many reps and rounds of the below circuit as possible in 6 minutes. Add one minute every two weeks as you improve your conditioning until you reach 10 minutes.
    • Ball Slams x 10 reps
    • Burpees x 10 reps
    • Bodyweight Squats x 10 reps
    • Push-ups x 10 reps
    • Inverted Rows x 10 reps


Start The Workout>>


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