Why to Do Cardio and What are the Best Forms of Cardio

DSCN0048While I focus a lot of my blog posts on the benefits of strength training, cardio workouts definitely have their place in any healthy and fit person’s life.

Cardiovascular exercise is not only proven to improve your mood by releasing endorphins, it also reduces your appetite, strengthens your heart, lowers your blood pressure, and promotes weight loss.

So what kind of cardio do I recommend and how much should you do?

Well, how much you should do varies depending on your goal. If you are trying to build muscle mass you should not do hours of cardio on end.

I usually recommend 30-75 minutes of vigorous cardio to an athletic person.

What is vigorous cardio?

Stair-master, running FAST, playing basketball ball intensely, swimming laps, HIIT workouts (see previous post), boxing, or cycle classes.


For moderate cardio you can do around two hours.

What do I consider moderate?

walking, jogging, elliptical, stationary bike, etc.

The important thing is to sweat and move! Always consult a doctor before beginning a new cardio routine.


Leg Day Workout Routine


This is an example of a “leg day” workout routine.

Hip Adductor Machine 15 reps/3 sets

Hamstring Curls 15 reps/3 sets

Leg Extensions 20 reps/4 sets

Hip Abductor Machine 15 reps/3 sets

Leg Press Machine 20 reps/3 sets

Alien Squats 15 reps/3 sets

Step Ups 3 sets/ 20 reps each leg

Walking Lunges (I usually just walk the longest length available in my gym)

Donkey Kicks (3 sets 50 reps each leg)

Air Squats (100 reps)

Glute Machine (3 sets/ 15 reps)

Glute Kickbacks (3 sets/ 15 reps)


The Benefits of HIIT and Weight Training v.s. Long Runs on the Treadmill

The Benefits of HIIT and Weight Training v.s. Long Runs on the Treadmill 

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 8.54.44 PM

        I first discovered my love for fitness through high school cross-country. I loved distance running and would run 9 miles a day. I was eating horribly. My daily diet consisted of fast food, ice cream, and soda. My body was slender from the cardio, but definitely out of shape. I had no curves and was not happy with my stomach.

When I switched to weight training I was able to sculpt the body that I had always wanted. I was not a naturally curvy girl, but through squats and heavy lifting I saw significant improvements. My waist tightened, my butt lifted and rounded, and my legs were shapely. I had created a more feminine figure through lifting.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 8.51.44 PM

There are numerous health benefits to cardio. Cardio increases your metabolism, improves your heart & lung health, releases “feel good” hormones, reduces stress, and even increases your overall energy. The biggest misconception about cardio is that the longer you do it the better. Tiring hour long runs on the treadmill are not necessary! Your body will plateau and you will not be reaping in the benefits of your hard work. Rather than focusing on doing a length cardio workout focus on the intensity of that workout. This is where HIIT comes in.

What is HIIT? HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. It is a form of working out that focuses on short intense anaerobic exercises. I like to do HIIT sessions after my weight training and they usually last 20-30 minutes.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 8.58.08 PM

Here is a sample of my HIIT workouts:

15 Jump Squats

15 Alien Squats

15 Jumping Lunges

15 Weighted Ball Throw Downs & Catches

50 Jump Ropes

10 Sprints Across Room (Jog Backwards Back)

15 Burpees