I’m big on more work in less time. I mean, I used to run about 8-10 km 5-7 days a week. I did it because I loved to run, it was therapeutic and it was the only way I knew how to stay in shape. Or so I thought. When it comes to cardio, I choose to work for shorter periods of time at higher intensity because that has helped me see amazing results and it’s fun! I have no desire to get on the treadmill or any other “traditional” piece of equipment for that matter, for more than 20 minutes…I’m good thanks.
But, I get it, when people hear the word “cardio” they immediately assume the only way to achieve a solid workout is to go longer and longer, which can be a total bore and ineffective. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that dreaded or mundane of a task. Working at high intensity for short periods of time will burn more calories, shed more fat and turn you into a lean mean fighting machine. Below are my top 4 favourite cardio workouts. These workouts can be performed in 20 minutes or less and require no fancy equipment. All you need is some grit and intensity and a desire to get a little sweaty, ok, maybe a lot sweaty!
- BURPEES: I can hear you all groaning…and I know, I mean who could love a burpee? Seriously? But let me tell you, this exercise in particular provides a whole load of benefits, not only cardiovascular, but muscular as well; the core, chest, shoulders, triceps, glutes, quads and hamstrings are being recruited – thereby making it a full body exercise in one simple movement. Spend 8 minutes doing 30 secs of burpees followed by 30 secs of rest and your whole body will be buzzing – heart rate spiked, lungs cooked and overall good and sweaty! You can’t go wrong with this one!
- STAIRS: Stairs are a great form of cardio and bonus factor: your buns and legs will be thanking you later in that little black dress or great pair of skinnies. Stairs are so versatile, therefore you can get as creative as you want with your intervals. Set a timer for 8 minutes and go 3 flights of stairs every minute on the minute until the time is up. Or, set a timer for 20 minutes and see how many stairs you can complete within that time, resting when needed. As long as you bring the intensity, you will reap the benefits!
- TREADMILL INTERVALS: Here is a great piece of equipment, and again, so versatile. I love a good treadmill session and one that doesn’t involve spending 30 to 60 minutes completing. I like variety and I like to get creative. Give me 15% incline of 30 secs on followed by 30 secs of complete rest for 10 minutes and I’m cooked! The blood is pumping, lungs are sizzling and the heart is pounding. Pure and sweet satisfaction. If you don’t have access to a treadmill, you can take this outdoors and do hill sprints: sprint to the top of a hill, walk down to recover, (rest an extra 30-60 secs at the bottom if needed) repeat 10 times. No hills around? No problem. Stay flat: sprint 20 secs, walk 10 secs, and repeat for 8 minutes. It’s all about getting creative and having FUN with your workouts.
- SKIPPING: Cue the Rocky theme song now! Skipping is a great cardiovascular workout, however it does involve a bit of coordination. Grab a rope, get set, and GO! You can start by keeping it simple with single skips, 1 minute of work followed by 1 minute of rest for 10 minutes. By making the working intervals longer and resting intervals shorter, it will take the workout from a beginner to a more intermediate level. There are lots of variations of skipping that you can do: singles, double-unders, high knees etc., all of which can help to keep the workouts from getting stale and up the intensity. Again, it comes down to getting creative and finding ways to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
That’s it, my TOP 4 FAVOURITE ways to get sweaty and lean in little to no time. Detouring from your regular routine and upping the intensity factor can make all the difference in you finally seeing some results and enjoying your workouts again.
What are your favourite ways to get sweaty? Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.