Not Crazy About Cardio?

Jan 12, 2021

A common area of angst for many people seeking to begin a fitness regime revolves around cardiovascular exercise.  Training the cardiovascular system is super important. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, helps the body shed excess weight, improves circulation, and can even be a mood lifter. 

Cardiovascular exercise can also help burn extra glucose in the body and decrease resistance to insulin. I’ve had clients who have gone off of diabetes medication simply from adding moderate cardio exercise to their daily regimes! 

To be honest, though, most of my clients loathe the idea of cardio.  Long bouts of time spent on the treadmill or elliptical machine sounds boring and painful!  To that I say, “I couldn’t agree more!”


Steady state cardio (long jogs or treadmill sessions) depletes the body of nutrients and tears down muscle mass, leaving the body in a CATABOLIC state. Catabolic means that the body begins to feed on itself in order to acquire the energy and nutrients that it needs….and the body DOES feed on precious muscle tissue. Excessive cardio can deplete muscle mass while having little effect on fat loss.


The heart can be trained efficiently in a very short amount of time by doing quicker, but more intense exercise sessions.  A HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training) is highly effective, and the rewards are far-reaching. **Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regime.



  • Effectively strengthens the heart by cycling the body through intervals of reaching maximum heart rate, back down to target heart rate (a percentage of your maximum).  Studies suggest this form of cardio to be superior to steady-state cardio in regards to conditioning the heart muscle. 


  • Burns significant calories not only during the session, but long afterwards— due to a little fitness term called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).  Think:  elevated calorie burn/elevated metabolism for hours after a sweat session!


  • Since HIIT session are only about 20-30 minutes, they are easier to commit to….and boredom is rarely a complaint during an intense HIIT session!

  • Produces a growth hormone in the body that builds lean muscle mass and decreases fat mass. 


Try this sample HIIT workout:

(Warm up for 5 minutes with a light walk around the house or up and down the stairs.)

Perform each move for 20 seconds, then rest for 40 seconds.  Repeat entire circuit 2-3 times through. As you get stronger, increase the work period, and decrease the rest period!


  1. Jog in place, or high knees

  2. Push ups on knees or on toes

  3. Prisoner squat jumps

  4. Jumping Jacks

  5. Triceps dips on a chair or stair

  6. Wall sit

  7. Be sure to cool down, and stretch those hard worked muscles!  Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!  


In Good Health,

Lori Z.