The idea of getting sweaty, tired, and out of breath while not immediately losing three pounds is very offensive, especially when we’re making an effort to do the whole gym thing. Don’t put us down for cardio. However, you don’t need to sweat it out amongst grunting jocks in the gym to hit your cardio goals. You don’t even need to start waking up at 4am like the other psychopaths jogging around your neighborhood. Incorporating more cardio into your day can build muscle, burn fat, and lead you to a more toned and #blessed life, so walking, dancing, and even vacuuming are all great ways to seek the path of the Insta model. Here are some easy ways to incorporate cardio into your day.
This is probs the easiest one to do for those of us working in soulless corporate buildings with multiple floors. According to scientists, you’ll also burn more calories if you take one step at a time, so tell your boss it wasn’t the Starbucks that made you late, it was your dedication to health and fitness.
2. Gossip While Walking Around The Block
Walking is good, but walking while your mouth is running is even better. If you’re trying to get up and move around, walking for 15 minutes can burn about 66 calories, but walking while talking burns more since you’re taking more breath to multitask and rip apart Janet’s horrendous outfit. Sh*t, you could even become a real boss b*tch and host walking meetings to see who the most athletic person in your department is.
3. Hit The Clerb
Gross, but it’s a great workout. If you aren’t slamming 1,000 calorie piña coladas for four hours and are, instead, sticking to vodka sodas or just, like, water (EW), going to the club and dancing is a great way to do cardio without actually thinking about the fact that you’re doing cardio. Dancing for 30 minutes can burn as much as 150 calories. So, it may be worth it to deal with douchebags and frat bros trying to hit on you in a dark, loud room instead of a brightly lit, upsettingly quiet, and sweaty room.
4. Jump Rope
Hearken back to the olden times in PE class when jumping rope was for cool kids and your lame ass couldn’t keep up. Regain your school-age confidence and buy a jump rope for incredibly easy cardio you can do in your office or in front of the TV at home. Jumping rope works your legs, improves overall conditioning, and is obvi a great way to incorporate cardio into your life without having to step foot in a gym.
5. Go Shopping
Sounds cray, is true. Carrying a lightly loaded basket of clothes or groceries for only five minutes will burn 44 calories, according to Greatist. That sounds like a great excuse to hit up Target on my lunch break, buy a dress, AND get some food shopping done. This must be what adulthood feels like.
If you’re a slob and need to clean your house or apartment, you can kill two pounds birds with one stone. About 30 minutes of housework—i.e. dusting, vacuuming, and wiping down surfaces—can add up to about 98 calories. That’s like, one vodka soda or two Oreos. Obviously, you need to be going pretty hard on the vacuuming or dusting for it to be cardio levels, but just blast some Cardi B and rage clean until you feel yourself working up a sweat.
7. Park In The Back
Next time you’re heading anywhere (work, school, Target, the clerb), park as far off as you can (within reason and without putting yourself in some kind of danger). You’ll get a little extra distance in your day and may even work yourself up to cardio if you’re dealing with hills. If you’re really in the mood to up the ante, ride your bike to your destination or walk the whole way if you’re doing that city living thing.
Images: Lindsay Henwood / Unspash; Giphy (3)
There are a million online workouts that will drive you batshit crazy looking for every machine, kettlebell, booty band, and yoga mat out there. Like, we’re not always standing in some fully stocked gym with two hours to spare and no one else around. We’ve found that sometimes, for whatever reason, we only have one or two weights, and it would be helpful to get a good workout with minimal equipment. That’s why we created this bomb full body workout that only requires ONE dumbbell, no matter the weight. Perform the reps listed for each of these moves, and then repeat the circuit 2 more times for a quick and efficient workout. Let’s get started:
1. Weighted Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a pretty basic cardio move to get your heart rate up, but adding a weight to it is no joke. People think that in order to warm up, they need to do intense cardio sprints or jump rope for 10 minutes straight, but if you add a weight to a basic movement, you’re getting a better workout in less time. Not only do jumping jacks warm up your shoulders and legs, but by adding a weight, you’re working on your core, too. Try holding the weight with both hands above your head and do 30 jumping jacks total. If that’s too hard, bring the weight to chest height, but do 40.
2. Single Leg Deadlift
People neglect single leg exercises because they think they could just be saving time by doing a move on both legs at the same time. What they don’t realize is that by isolating one leg at a time, you’re actually working on your balance and stability while toning the muscle. That’s why single leg deadlifts are the shit. Stand on one leg and hold your weight in the same hand. Keeping that knee slightly bent, bend at the hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance. Continue lowering the weight until you’re parallel to the ground, and then return to your standing position. Do 10 reps per leg, and remember to move slowly and squeeze your hamstrings with every rep.
3. Low To High Wood Chop
For those of you who don’t know, your obliques are the muscles on the sides of your abs that will completely shape your core if you do enough wood chops. We love this move because it works your obliques and the entire upper ab region, and it doesn’t involve you lying on the floor doing 500 bicycle crunches while holding your breath. For your wood chops, hold the dumbbell in both hands and twist left, so that it’s starting on the outside of your left leg. Then, lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the dumbbell above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed, and do 12 reps on each side.
4. Weighted Squat Jumps
This is another move that will get your heart rate up, and of course it’s a squat, so you’ll feel the burn in your butt. Squat jumps work your glute muscles, which are some of the biggest muscles in your body, so you’ll be burning almost twice as many calories than by running or boxing. It’s low-key amazing. Holding your dumbbell at your chest, squat down and jump up, straightening out your legs in the air and landing in a squat again. Do 15 reps, and if you need to drop the weight, do it. Just try not to rest in between in each jump. Oh, and don’t blame us if you can’t sit down tomorrow morning.
5. Lunge To Curl
The dumbbell lunge with a bicep curl is a combo move, so you’re engaging your leg muscles and arm muscles in one move. Think of it like waiting for your laundry while doing your taxes. Both sound terrible, but you’re getting both done in the same hour and you feel good about it. Anyway, hold the dumbbell at your right side as you step your left foot forward into a high lunge, making sure your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Once you’re in your lunge, curl the weight to your chest, keeping your elbow close to your rib cage. Reverse to return to start, and do 12 reps on each side.
6. Weighted Crunch To Jump
This last move is pretty tough, but we decided to end the workout with a killer ab move, because people have literally been dying for abs since J.Lo circa 2003. The weighted crunch to jump is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s too late to bail now. Lying on the floor with your dumbbell at your chest, do 5 crunches or sit-ups, bringing the weight over your knees each time. Then, roll up to your feet and jump up, still holding the weight. Perform this combo 5 times total. You’re toning your abs while burning calories, so it’s basically the grand finale. Then you can pass out on the couch for the rest of the night! Or drink an entire bottle of wine. Or both.
Since we’re being honest—cardio kind of really sucks but being skinny doesn’t. Like, why would I want to spend a half an hour dripping sweat onto a treadmill when I can … literally do anything else? Well, stop going to your sorority sisters for fitness advice because running and the elliptical aren’t the only options when it comes to cardio. Betches know that adding some body weight exercises to your routine will make you look way more toned, which is like, obviously great for your summer bikini body. If you hate running just as much as we do, pick 3 or 4 of these exercises and do them for 30-60 seconds a few times through. Your body will thank you for not torturing it on the treadmill but still getting in shape.
1. Weighted Step-Ups
This isn’t as awful as it sounds. Okay, maybe it is, but at least we’re not making you carry a ton of weight. Grab some 5 or 10 pounds dumbbells and a (sturdy) box to step on (you will start to feel this burn fast). Place your right foot on the box then push yourself up using only your right foot so it’s straight and your left foot is off the ground. Then, pull your left knee up in the air for a high knee before lowering to the ground with your left foot first, followed by your right foot. Alternate sides. Bonus: this is also great for your ass, as long as you engage your glutes.
2. Mountain Climbers
Don’t worry—we’re not actually making you climb a mountain but like, that would be great cardio, too. Mountain climbers are on every fucking list we make and it’s because they are hella effective and only require 30-second intervals of work. Start in a push-up position with your body in a straight line, then lift your right knee and pull it into your abs (don’t worry—your abs are there and this exercise is working them), then put your leg back down in the starting position. Then, lift your left knee into your abs. Repeat this motion as fast as you can for 30 seconds then take a well deserved break before you go again. And yes, you have to do this again for it to work.
3. Lateral Skater Jumps
We know, we know—being on skates only sounds appealing if you’re on a date with a hot guy, but trust us, this exercise is great cardio. Start standing in a squat position then hop your whole body to the left, landing ONLY on the ball of your left foot. Swing your right leg behind you and your left arm down in front of your left foot. Then, jump as far as you can to the right landing on just the ball of your right foot with your left leg swinging behind. Go side to side for about 45 seconds and if it isn’t burning, go lower.
4. Tuck Jumps
Exercises that involve jumping are so effective, honestly, that’s why we do them. Start with your knees slightly bent and jump up, bringing your knees to your chest. Engage your arms by extending them in front of your chest or wrap them in around your legs if possible. Lower your arms as you land back on the floor and immediately jump again.
5. Lunge Jumps
Okay, betches, this is just what it sounds like and it will get your heart racing in no time. Start with your feet together, then jump into a lunge with one foot in front of you and the other behind you. Make sure that your knee doesn’t go over the front of your toes. Then jump, switching your legs in the air and landing back in a lunge position. It’s a simple exercise but it does the damn trick as long as you’re not cheating by not getting low enough.
6. Jumping Jacks
We see you rolling your eyes over this one. Don’t. There’s a reason this exercise is so popular, and yes, it’s because it works. We can’t even believe we’re about to explain this to you because if you don’t know how to properly do a jumping jack you need to crawl out of the cave you’ve been under and join the real world. Anyway, start with your feet together and your arms by your side, then jump both of your feet out while you simultaneously raise your arms together over your head. Now, jump your feet back in together and lower your arms down. Repeat this for a minute as fast as you can.
You were hoping we’d forget this one but we didn’t. Sorry not sorry, betch. We all know it takes hard work to look this good, so don’t cheat yourself—there’s already enough fuckboys who are trying to do that. Start with your feet hip distance apart, then jump down into a high plank/push-up position and lower down into a push-up. Jump your feet back towards your hand and in one swift motion jump all the way back to your starting position. Great, that’s one. Now do more.