To do or Not To Do...Cardio

Cardio: More or Less?

If you have time to do loads of cardio it can be very beneficial to the cardiovascular system. But, like most moms, you are probably looking for the quickest, highest calorie burning workout! I see so many moms signing up for half marathons, killing themselves with an hour on the elliptical or walking with the stroller. And I read your messages about cardio vs. toning. So let’s clear up a few things!

Again, if you have the time, do some extra cardio. But the most important component of your exercise routine is TONING. And the best way to get in your toning while increasing the cardiovascular system (so you don’t always huff n’ puff up the stairs) is through interval training. So if you do the MIF workouts on days 1,3 and 5 you are well on your way. Add in some cardio on day 2 or 4 and you are golden!

Training for a half marathon can give you some immediate weight loss results. But after the 3rd or 4th week you probably won’t see a huge difference in your weight, only your cardiovascular endurance. So for immediate results cardio can be beneficial, but if you want immediate and long term results, only toning can do that.

The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) came out with a study proving short intense bouts of exercise are more beneficial than long duration exercise. But a lot of society is stuck in the 90’s believing that more and more cardio is the only key to weight loss.

In Download #3 of the Workout Download Series I introduce a 10 exercise - 10 minute intense workout much like my Boot Camp DVDs. But you have the option of adding in short core and cardio exercises between each 1 minute exercise. I know the Holiday Season is busy especially for you moms! So use a workout that fits your schedule. With Download #3 you can add in an inverted V for your core and some hi knees for your cardio in between all the toning exercises. The idea is to make the workout fit your schedule!

Through these next 2 months I want you to dedicate yourself to an interval workout on Days 1, 3 and 5. And heck, if you have some time to spare add in that extra cardio on day 2 or 4 to get rid of the 2nd piece of pie you ate on Thanksgiving. But like I said, it’s toning and intervals that are going to make the difference in your body so please prioritize toning!

Check out the MIF Holiday Health tips for weight loss and weight maintenance!

The moral of the toning 3x a week through the Holiday season so you are not battling the bulge come January!



  1. I loved your post today. I've been trying to get a friend of mine out of the 90's mindset for years! She's a bone to begin with, but when she's on a "diet" her ONLY prescription is walking for an hour a day and watching her "fat grams" (meaning total fat, no consideration for calories or fat ratios or any other nutrients).

  2. Hmmm... I Dunno. I finally increased my toning/cardio workouts on M, W and F up to 45-50 minutes and it's helping. I thought for a long time that 1/2 an hour would be plenty... but more does seem to be merrier. :D

  3. Thank you thank you thank you for this post! I needed to hear this. I have been so bad at working out lately b/c I've been trying to do it 5x a week but have been burning my candle at both ends. I will try this and the weeks I'm feeling really good, I will do the other.

    Thanks so much!

  4. Hi Lindsay! I'm happy you posted, I miss your regular posts on getting your body back! I am 6 months post-delivery and was back to my pre-prego weight within 4 weeks post-delivery and back to my correct measurements within this past month.

    I train for 1/2 marathons, but I follow a very specific plan of intervals (mon), tempos (thurs ) and a long run. 1-2 of the other days I run easy, and I take off 2 days from running, and include 2 days of toning each week. My regimen requires me to wake up at 4:30 am in order to get my workouts in before everyone wakes up, but its worth it in how I feel.

    I found that I need a break from any "hard" workouts (interval or toning or long runs) every 4-5 weeks. So I take a recovery week. Do you do this also with toning? I didn't know if its just something I'm used to from running.

    Keep up the posts - I like hearing about how things are going :)


  5. Hi Lindsay - I have diastasis recti and recently (mid-October) had surgery to repair an umbilical hernia. I'm ready to start working to get back to my pre-pregnancy shape (my oldest is 4.5 yo and my youngest is 20 months). I have the Core Firing Sequence DVD and the BootCamp DVD. I walk 3x/week and would like to eventually lose 30 lbs. How should I incorporate your DVDs to start working on this?

  6. I have 2 friends that do the same thing...walk for an hour. Walking is great, but to increase your fitness level you have to push the limits!

    That said - more cardio never hurt anybody. And I am glad to hear you are seeing a difference by bumping up your workouts Hilary!!!

    First Time Mom - the most important thing is not to burn the candle at both ends. Stick to 3x a week, toning and interval training comes first. Then if you have an extra day throw in some fun cardio with the family. If not, no worries, you can still get fit as long as you watch your nutrition alongside. I have seen hundreds of moms (most of them used to be my clients) lose weight and tone with 3x/week toning intervals.

  7. Jackie S...I am so writing a post about taking a break! Yes, it is so important to give your body a "breather" every now and again. I usually take it easy every 4-5 weeks too when I am in maintenance mode.

  8. Becky, poor thing! I have one of those darn umbilical hernias, only mine was not near needing surgery! Hopefully all went smoothly.

    The most important thing for you is to ease into exercise and STOP the second you feel any pain.

    With the CFS DVD you should stay with workout 1 until you have mastered it. And start with it once your doctor gives you permission to exercise. Gradually add in some intervals from Boot Camp 2, maybe weeks 2 and 3. Again, at your own pace.

    Try Core workout #1 from Boot Camp around week 4 with 2-3 cardio/toning intervals. Master Core workout #1. Then you can mix and match how you like. Try this after week 4 if you are comfortable, getting stronger and the diastasis recti is gone:

    Week 5-7: CFS Phase 2, BC warmup, 2-3 intervals, BC Core workout #2, BC cool-down
    Week 8-10: CFS Phase 3, BC warmup, 2-3 intervals, BC core workout #3, BC cool-down

    As I say in week 4, I only want you to progress with tougher core workouts if your diastais recti is can test yourself here

    And keep me posted on yoru progress!