Tag Archives: Health

Cardio Burst – Four Workouts to Try

Are you looking for some quick bursts of cardio to add to your daily routine? Well look no further, I have created four cardio routines for myself that I’m sharing below. Read on!

If you read my post about creating an exercisers creed (you can read it here) then you already know I’m not that into cardio. I guess when I say cardio I mean running. I do get into a running plan on occasion but it takes me so long to get comfortable at it (read: stop complaining about how hard it is) I’m rarely motivated enough to start.

Since I take such long breaks, each time I start I’m back to square one and need to work up my endurance and physical ability again (get my feet, legs and hips used to pounding the pavement). I may be more likely to stick to running if I had a treadmill since the changing weather creates great excuses for why I don’t want to run outside. I can be the queen of excuses at times.

Since I’m not currently doing any formal cardio and I know that as part of a well-rounded health plan I really should be including some sort of cardiovascular type activity (over and above chasing a toddler around) I’ve created several short HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) type routines to do first thing in the morning.

I’m planning them for the morning since that’s really the only “free” time I have left in the day and I know I’m more likely to come up with excuses why I can’t get to it later in the day.

The four routines I’ve come up with use three different methods to complete a Hiit type workout. The first method is timed, the second is done by counting and the third, for which I came up with two routines, is a ladder style.

So without further delay here are the routines I will be trying out. At the end you will find links to samples of each exercise.

Note: if an exercise works each side of your body separately, like lunge jumps or high knees, complete both sides as a single count.

MN Cardio Burst - Timed

– MN Cardio Burst – Timed –

For this routine you will do work for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and repeat this for 8 rounds for each pair of exercises. The workout should take you 15 minutes.

So more specifically…

Your first round will consist of 20 seconds of Jumping Jacks, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of Butt Kickers, 10 seconds of rest. You will do this for 8 rounds then rest for one minute. You then move onto the next pair of exercise and do those for 8 rounds. Then again rest 1 minute. And finally move onto the last pair of exercises.

I use my gymboss timer and set it for two intervals – the first for 20 seconds, the second for 10 seconds and set it to repeat 8 times.

Cardio Burst - Count

– MN Cardio Burst – Count –

This routine is done by counting repetitions. You will complete a specific number of repetitions for each exercise. Once you complete one set of the listed exercises rest for 30 to 45 seconds. You will repeat this 10 to 12 times. Depending on your rest time and how many times you repeat the set this workout should take you 15 to 20 minutes.

So more specifically…

You will do 10 jumping jacks, 15 high knees, 15 butt kickers, 10 mountain climbers and 5 burpees, rest for 30 seconds (or 45 seconds) then repeat 10 times (or 12 times).

MN Ladder Workout #1

– MN Ladder Workout #1 –

My ladder style workouts are done by working your way from 1 repetition of each exercise up to 10 repetitions then back down to 1. This workout should take you about 20 minutes.

So more specifically…

You will do 1 flutter squat, 1 high knees, 1 burpee, 1 jumping jack, then 2 flutter squats, 2 high knees, 2 burpees, 2 jumping jacks and so on until you get to 10 flutter squats, 10 high knees, 10 burpees, 10 jumping jacks. Then rest 1 minute. This time you will start with 10 flutter squats, 10 high knees, 10 burpees, 10 jumping jacks and work your way back down to 1 flutter squat, 1 high knees, 1 burpee, 1 jumping jack.

I find my memory works better if I say the thing I’m trying to remember out loud so I’m going to suggest counting out loud to prevent yourself from losing your place in case you need to pause (I paused a number of times).

MN Ladder Workout #2

– MN Ladder Workout #2 –

Done in the same manner as the previous workout but will different exercises. Again this workout should take you about 20 minutes.

You will do 1 lunge jump, 1 push-up, 1 butt kickers, 1 jump squat, then 2 lunge jumps, 2 push-ups, 2 butt kickers, 2 jump squats and so on until you get to 10 lunge jumps, 10 push-ups, 10 butt kickers, 10 jump squats. Then rest 1 minute. Now you will start with 10 lunge jumps, 10 push-ups, 10 butt kickers, 10 jump squats and work your way back down to 1 lunge jump, 1 push-up, 1 butt kickers, 1 jump squat.

Here’s a list of the exercises with links to how they are performed:

– Jumping Jacks

– Butt Kickers

– Burpees

– Speed Skaters

– Plank

– Russian Twists

– High Knees

– Mountain Climbers

– Flutter Squats

– Push ups

– Jump Squats


Let me know what you think once you’ve tried any of these. Do you have a similar workout routine you love? I’d like to hear about it. And of course if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

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My Exercisers Creed

Before I get to my exercisers creed let me start with my exercise background.

I’ve been working out on and off since January 2003 when I got a gym membership. To create my workouts, I started by using Arnolds Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding because that’s what was available to me as well as the suggested circuit at my gym. I was quite a newbie but you’ve got to start somewhere.

From there I progressed to magazines and the internet for examples of workouts. Bodybuilding.com as well as Oxygen magazine (the previous version) were my go to sources for ideas and information.

Exercisers Creed - Dumbbells

In 2010 my husband and I decided to buy some equipment for home and ditch the gym memberships. It really helped me cut down on time needed in the morning and helped get my lazy butt out of bed since my gym is now just a flight of stairs away. One of the most common excuses I used for skipping the gym was being too tired and not wanting to get out of bed.

Exercisers Creed - Gym

I prefer to work out in the morning because I have found that I am much more likely to have excuses why I can’t work out if I attempt to schedule it for the afternoon/evening (I really need to quit it with the excuses). When I was working I planned my workouts for first thing in the morning (after a snack) and they will go back to that time of day in a few months when I return to work. I’m currently still working out in the morning but the timing changes depending on the baby’s nap schedule. Most recently I’ve been able to workout with Little M awake but I have still kept it to the morning time.

My preference is to follow a planned workout schedule rather than just winging it. I like to create checklists and sheets on which I can track my sets and weight lifted. I’ve had success following Jamie Easons LiveFit trainer (found at Bodybuilding.com) which I have gone through (mostly) several times and have used it to create my own plans when limitations didn’t allow me to follow it to a T.

Currently I’m following Busy But Healthy Transform to Fit plan and am loving it! I really like the way the sets are split up. I think the three groups of three exercises trick my brain into thinking its less work than it is. But boy I still feel it the next day so I know it is real work.

You may have noticed I have not said anything about cardio. I know I should be doing more (there are bursts of cardio style exercises as part of the plan I’m following) but I really don’t care for it and haven’t been able to convince myself to get my lazy butt outside to run (I have done the running thing in the past but never stick to it through the really hot or cold seasons). Now that its getting colder here I know the likelihood of it happening is pretty much zero. I’ll probably try again in the spring. For now, I plan on creating a few cardio burst workouts to be done first thing in the morning. More on that in a future post.

Now since that’s out of the way onto the real point of this post. Recently I read on Body for Wife, James Fells’ exercisers creed and thought I should write one of those for myself. I always seem to focus on trying to lose fat when I know I really should be focusing on trying to get stronger (not that I don’t have fat to lose I just think strength would be a healthier approach to exercise). I’m nearing forty and know that having a healthy strong body (rather than just being skinny) will be more important as I age.

Exercisers Creed - bike

So here goes, My Exercisers Creed:

I will stop making excuses. I have a saying up in my gym to remind me – you can have results or excuses not both.

I will not be a wimp. I am stronger than I think and I will show myself respect by not doubting my abilities. I will listen to my body but be honest with myself. When it wants to go hard I will let it but if next time it needs me to ease off I will, no judgement.

I will fuel my body appropriately but I will also not put myself down if I give in. I will understand that the occasional indulgence is necessary and will let myself enjoy food. I will keep in mind that exercise is not an excuse to be a glutton. I will work on balance in this area. Knowing I have a really hard time saying no when I really know better and that the food I eat can greatly affect how I feel (and how much I can push myself during my workouts), I will work on making better choices more often.

I will not view exercise as punishment. I don’t currently see it this way but want to include this point in case I ever change my mind. Exercise can be fun and I believe being fit makes all aspects of life so much more enjoyable (and easier to participate in).

I will not focus on vanity. I want my motivation to come from strength and what my body can do not just what it looks like. I need to be a good role model for my daughter.

This is the only body I will ever have so I need to make sure it keeps moving efficiently. I am making a life long commitment to keeping it healthy and that will always include exercise.

If injury or illness requires that I take time off, I will return to exercise as soon as possible and be honest with myself about my limitations and abilities. The longer I stay away from exercise the longer it takes to get back to my usual self.

I was going to end this with wish me luck but I think that it sounds too negative, like I might not succeed. I prefer to end it in the same way James did.

I will not quit!

Have you written (or kept in your mind) an exercisers creed, something to keep you motivated to not quit?


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