Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cardio Exercise & Workout Plan


Cardio (or aerobic training), along with good eating habits, play an important role in fat loss and build up muscle endurance. Or another way to look at it – helps in getting you into a smaller dress size or not having “fat pants”. It simply plays a big part in making you look and feel better about yourself.

In order for any aerobic exercise to be effective, you have to get your breathing rate up for a continuous period in order to burn body fat, 20 minutes minimum and more if you want to maximize fat loss. I don’t recommend anymore than 1 hour just for sanity’s sake unless you’re one of those insane people who like to go out and run marathons.

Once you reach your desired weight or dress size, the exercise time can be reduced to 20-30 minutes.

REMEMBER – Start easy and work your way up. The harder and faster you start out, the sooner you’re going to hit a peak, burn out, and quit.

If it’s been years since you’ve done any activity, start out with 10 minutes of cardiovascular work. Add 2 minutes each week for progression without killing yourself. At the end of a cycle, you could have worked up to 20-25 minutes, which is respectable. The next cycle, start at 15-20 minutes and work up to 30-35 minutes. Small steps! You’ll be up there in no time and the dress size or waist line will come down.

Cardio Interval Training

Here’s a fast way to lose weight which will allow you to drop pounds and inches quickly. If you walk, run, or jog… then I’m going to show you something that YOU NEED TO DO to get the most out of it. If you do nothing else, just do this for exercise and you’ll lose lots of weight due to the “AFTERBURN EFFECT”.

Fast Way to Lose Weight – Intervals.

You can do this with just about any cardio exercise, but this works really well with walking/jogging/running.

Here’s why intervals work great for weight loss. They create what is called an “afterburn effect”. This simply means that once you’re done working out, you continue to burn fat and calories at a faster than normal speed for anywhere from 8-20 hours.

Without intervals, you don’t get that. Once you stop exercising, you stop burning fat and calories faster than normal.

Here’s how to get the most out of intervals with walking, jogging, and running.

Alternate between either running fast and walking or running fast and then jogging slowly. This doesn’t work as good with jogging and walking combined. You need the high intensity of running to get the most out of this.

What’s great about this is that you can individualize it to suit yourself. For some people, running hard for 5-10 seconds is the most they can do and then they follow it up with 25-30 seconds of walking or slow jogging. Others can run for 15 seconds and then walk or jog slowly for 20 seconds.

Basically, fit it to your conditioning levels. There’s no right interval answer.

One thing I’ve found that works good is to do sets of 6 minutes when doing intervals. So say I’ll run or do the stairstepper fast for 10 seconds and follow it with 20 seconds of doing it slow. I continue that until 6 minutes are done.

This keeps you relatively fresh. Then take a 2-3 minute water and rest break and get back to it for 2-3 more times. You can get an incredible fat loss workout doing this for less than 25 minutes.

So if you want to drop pounds and inches, doing cardio intervals is a fast way to lose weight in a short amount of time.

My Workout Plan

My preference is to keep an active lifestyle as much as possible since I’m on the road a lot with my job. I like to get in and get out as quickly as possible at the gym (about 30 minutes), so there’s little rest between sets. Then I’ll either do my cardio after the weights or do it on off days from the gym.

Starting May 1st, 2019 I’ll be performing this routine for the next 6 weeks. It’s an upper body/lower body workout done on 3 alternating days per week – in this case Mon, Wed, Fri. On other alternate days (Tue, Thur, Sat) I’ll do my cardio workouts, which consist of high intensity, 20 minute routine –

  • walk for first 2 minutes
  • run for 1 minute at 3/4 speed
  • walk for 1 minute
  • run for 1 minute
  • continue these intervals to minute 19, then walk for about 5 minutes as a cool down.

This is the same workout routine as the Body For Life, by Bill Phillips. It’s been a few years since I’ve done this program and will be a nice change from what I’ve done the past few years. Body For Life covers a 12 week period, but I’ve cut it in half for this cycle. You’re also performing 6 sets per body part at a higher intensity, and I’m ready for higher intensity this round.

My Workout Journal

Here’s a look inside my workout journal where I track my exercises, reps and everything that I would like to record about my workouts.

It’s a good example of what you can start doing with a simple notepad and pen in the gym.

Upper Body/Lower Body Workout
3 days per week on rotating basis – upper body one day, lower body next workout
Mon, Wed, Fri
Cardio – Tue, Thur, Sat – Run/walk intervals for 20 minutes using 3 levels – slow jog, jog, 3/4 speed
Weight (lbs)
ExerciseRepsWeek1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6
Lower Body9/1/20089/8/20089/15/20089/22/20089/29/200810/6/2008
Reverse Crunches12Flat levelDecline-1Decline-1Decline-1Decline-2Decline-2
HamstringsSeated Leg Curl127580859095100
QuadsLeg Presses123 plates3pl/253pl/253pl3pl/253pl/25
103 pl/254 plates4pl/104pl4pl/254pl/25
64 plates4pl/255pl5pl5pl/256pl
123 pl/354pl/104pl/254pl/255pl5pl/25
Leg Extensions12659095100110120
CalvesStanding Calf Raises121515201517.520
 Seated Calf Raises12253035404550
Upper BodyLat Pulldowns12404550556065
Seated Cable Row12505560657075
ChestBench Press12859095100105110
 Incline Dumbbell Fly12252530303540
ShouldersUpright Row12Bar2 1/25   7 1/210   12 1/2
1057 1/210   12 1/215   17 1/2
81012 1/215   17 1/220   22 1/2
61517 1/220   22 1/225   27 1/2
121012 1/215   17 1/220   22 1/2
Dumbbell Shoulder Press12252530303540
TricepsDip Machine129095100105110115
 Cable Extensions12100105110125130140
BicepsPreacher Curls122022 1/225   25   30   30   
10252530   32 1/235   35   
83032 1/235   40   42 1/245   
6354042 1/245   50   52 1/2
123032 1/235   40   42 1/245   
Cable Curls12404550556065

Home Workout Ideas

Hopefully this can give you some new ideas to perform in your home, office, local park, beach, hiking trail, etc.:


  • Running or Run/Walk intervals
  • Find a steep hill or bleachers and do sprints uphill, walk or jog on the downhill. 
  • Walking
  • Use a slide board
  • Cycling (outside or on stationary bike)
  • Set up some cones in your yard or local field and perform agility drills 
  • Jump rope
  • Plyometrics
  • Any piece of home cardio equipment
  • Workout tapes
  • Shoot hoops while keeping a constant jogging pace
  • Chase your dog around the yard
  • Rollerblading
  • Shadow boxing (can use weighted gloves)
  • Great ideas using a tornado ball, sandbags, even a huge tractor tire!  Sprint up a sand dune! 
  • Do some walking or running while pulling a partner on a bike or rollerblades

Perform Burpee Intervals

Try this burpee interval session at home for a high intensity workout.  Remember – if you’re a beginner, start small with one or two “rounds”, then add one round each week until you can do a minimum of 20 minutes and no more than 30 minutes of this workout.  Great exercise for road warriors to do in the hotel!

Burpee Intervals

There are many ways to do interval training (running is probably the most common), but for this workout we’re going to combine HIIT principles with a full-body strength workout using burpees.  A properly-performed burpee utilizes pretty much every major muscle in your entire body and most of the minor ones as well.  This inspiration for this workout comes from Ross Enamait and is only for those who already possess a minimum standard of physical fitness.  If you haven’t been off the couch in two years, you should start slow and work your way up to this routine over several months.

How To Perform A Burpee

  • Begin in a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you
  • Kick your legs back behind you while simultaneously lowering to the ground with your arms like in a pushup
  • Simultaneously complete the push-up with your arms while returning your legs to the start position
  • Jump upwards from the squat position as high as possible
  • Repeat

 It’s not as complicated as it sounds.  Here’s a video to show you exactly what to do.

The Workout

The workout is simple:

Alternate 30 seconds of burpees with 30 seconds of shadow-boxing, skipping rope, jogging, or other form of active recovery (note the keyword active…you can’t just rest) for a total of three minutes (or three rounds of each activity) with no rest between activities.  After your three minute set, rest for one full minute and repeat as many sets as you can with one minute rest between sets.  That’s it.  It’s a lot harder than it sounds and beginners will be lucky to be able to finish even one complete set at first.  But keep at it three or four times per week and you will see dramatic results within just a few months.  By then you should be able to do five or six sets per day and will notice a significant change in your body and level of physical fitness.  Of course, you will see even better results if you combine burpee intervals with other forms of strength and cardiovascular workouts.

  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • 30 minutes of active recovery (jogging, skipping rope, shadow-boxing, etc)
  • Continue alternating these two activities for three minutes without any rest inbetween
  • Do as many three-minute sets as you can, resting one minute between sets

Burpee Variations

OK, so you want some more Burpee pain… No problem. There are several variations that will crank up the intensity. Some of the more effective variations include:

  • Dumbbell Burpees – Hold a pair of dumbbells in hand while performing Burpees. All of the movements are the same, except your arms remain by your sides, with the dumbbells in hand.
  • Weighted Vest Burpees – A good weighted vest is more convenient than a pair of dumbbells. You can perform traditional Burpees, while wearing the vest. I highly recommend the weighted vest if you really want a challenge.
  • Medicine Ball Burpees – You can perform a traditional Burpee, while holding a medicine ball. Grasp the medicine ball during the jump portion of the Burpee. Extend your arms overhead, with the medicine ball in hand.

With or without weighted resistance (dumbbells, vest, med ball, etc.), I guarantee that a regular dose of Burpee conditioning will provide immediate, and drastic improvements in your physical fitness. Burpee Intervals are one of the best conditioning drills for athletes.

These routines will improve your work threshold and anaerobic endurance. You can perform these drills 3-5 days per week, depending on your current fitness level. Burpee Intervals are an excellent warm-up and conditioning drill to perform prior to your strength training and/or sport-specific gym session.

Resistance Training

  • Home gyms
  • TRX Suspension Trainer exercises
  • Resistance bands and/or dumbbells with selectable weights (along with exercise ball, aerobic step, or adjustable bench)
  • Pushups
  • Crunches/Reverse crunches
  • Lunges/walking lunges
  • Calf raises on board or stairs
  • Pullups using a door bar found in stores
  • Pushing your car – push a certain distance facing forward (chest to car).  Then turn around placing your back to the car and push the other direction.  Very unorthodox, but killer workout for your legs, calves, and butt!  Also, use your head and be sure you’re on level ground.
  • Boot camp class (can be considered cardio as well)

High Intense Workout

The Navy SEAL workout is a different type of workout that can be performed at home or in the hotel rooms if you’re a road warrior.  I did this for a few weeks while unemployed and didn’t have a gym membership to keep up my physical fitness.  I don’t enjoy swimming and didn’t have access to a pool anyway, so the exercises performed were running and pushups, pullups, situps.  Also added in some walking lunges and calf raises on the stairs to add some leg work.  

Navy SEALs, in order to pass their Physical FitnessTests, have to:

  1. Swim 500 yards in 12:30 (though 8:00-9:00 is better) *Rest 10 mins
  2. Max Push-Ups in 2 mins (42 is minimum, 90+ is better) *Rest 2 mins
  3. Max Situps in 2 mins (52 is minimum, 90+ is better) *Rest 2 mins
  4. Max Pullups – no time limit (8 is minimum, 15+ is better) *Rest 10 mins
  5. 1.5 mile run (11:30 is maximum, 9 mins or less is better)

Below is a nine week step by step buildup program for youto try. Do so at your own risk.

 9 Week Workout Plan


  •    Weeks 1-2: 2 miles/day, 8:30 pace, M/W/F(6 miles/ week)
  •    Week 3: No running. High risk of stress fractures
  •    Week 4: 3 miles/day, M/W/F (9 miles/wk)
  •    Weeks 5-6: 2/3/4/2 miles, M/Tu/Th/F (11 miles/wk)
  •   7-8: 4/4/5/3 miles, M/Tu/Th/F (16 miles/ wk)
  •    Week 9: same as week 7&8 (16 miles/ wk)

Push Ups, Pull Ups and Sit Ups (Mon/Wed/Fri)

*Begin pushups on your feet, then complete rest of sets from your knees if needed*

Week 1:

  •    4X15 Push Ups
  •    4X20 Sit Ups
  •    3X3 Pull Ups

Week 2:

  •    5X20 Push Ups
  •    5X20 Sit Ups
  •    3X3 Pull Ups

Week 3-4:

  •    5X25 Push Ups
  •    5X25 Sit Ups
  •    3X4 Pull Ups

Week 5-6:

  •    6X25 Push Ups
  •    6X25 Sit Ups
  •    2X8 Pull Ups

Week 7-8:

  •    6X30 Push Ups
  •    6X30 Sit Ups
  •    2X10 Pull Ups

Week 9:

  •    6X30 Push Ups
  •    6X30 Sit Ups
  •    3X10 Pull Ups

Swimming 4-5 days a week

  • Weeks 1-2: Swim continuously for 15 min.
  • Weeks 3-4: Swim continuously for 20 min.
  • Weeks 5-6: Swim continuously for 25 min.
  • Weeks 7-8: Swim continuously for 30 min.
  • Week 9: Swim continuously for 35 min.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic Fitness is any movement using large muscle groups that can be consistently maintained, and are naturally rhythmic.

What can 30 minutes a day do for you?

With this form of exercise, any movement such as walking or swimming gets your heart beating and increases your oxygen intake.

The idea is to move and keep moving! There are more activities than ever to choose from.

As you start working out, you will notice that you can do more physical activity without shortness of breath or your heartbeat pounding.

You will be able to do more activities such as housework, yard work, or bicycling with less exhaustion.

Working out regularly will also help prevent some diseases and help manage others.

Health Benefits of Aerobic Fitness

  • Strengthens and tones muscles
  • Strengthens the heart muscle
  • Manages your weight
  • Increases the total number of red blood cells
  • Builds bone density
  • Increases stamina and reduces stress
  • Reduces Heart Disease
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers bad Cholesterol
  • Lowers plasma triglyceride levels
  • Reduces body fat
  • Relieves chronic pain

Regardless of your age, gender, weight, or mobility, there is some form of this exercise that you can do.

Popular Types of Aerobic Fitness

Some of the most popular aerobic exercises are walking, aerobic dance, bicycling, cross country skiing, in-line skating, jumping rope, running, stair climbing, swimming, aquatic exercise, elliptical training, and rowing.

Choose exercises that you like to do, mix and match them to keep your workouts interesting and different.

Now you know the health benefits. You know there are many choices that are easy to do and inexpensive to do.

All you need to do now is choose one and start moving!

Keep Consistent with your Cardio Workout Plans

The only way to ensure you get and stay in shape is to stick your exercise routines with consistency. If you fall off and out of your workout plans then the weight will begin to pile on again and it will be harder to motivate yourself to continue.

So simply commit to having a few hours a week blocked off in advance each week so you can consistently continue your healthy lifestyle — which includes working out!

My name is Bella and I am a weight loss retreat leader who runs retreats around the world. Often working alongside well-known retreat leader Sophie Jones. I lost 30 pounds and have kept it off by adopting a whole food, plant-based diet. My blog posts are about how I did it. Please note I am not a medical doctor and my advice is what has worked for me and my retreat clients, try it out, maybe it will work for you too! Contact me on: bella@cleanseplan.com

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