12-Minute Cardio Workout

By: Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Quick and simple workouts that can be done anywhere are a favorite of mine. This workout will surely get you sweating and increase your heart rate. You can adjust this workout for your fitness level by either adding the extra jump or slowing the pace. Remember that it’s better to adjust the workout to your needs than to skip it.

It’s always good practice to stretch before and after the workout — a foam roller makes stretching easy. Be sure to hydrate before, during and after the workout and let’s get going!

How to Do This Workout

This workout will be done in an interval-style, with each of the five moves lasting for 30 seconds. Once the three minutes is up, rest for 30 second and then repeat the circuit. Do the complete circuit four times. To up the intensity, find yourself a set of stairs after the fourth circuit and run or walk for five or more minutes. Be sure to stretch at the end!

What You’ll Need

  • Sneakers
  • Water
  • Stop Watch (you can use your phone!)

The Workout

Warmup: 2 minutes

March or jog in place for 30 seconds, followed by jumping jacks for 30 seconds. Repeat.

Let’s get started!

Move 1: Mountain Climbers

mountain climber
Start in standing position and alternate bringing one knee into your chest and then the next. You can make this a gentle walk or you can run your legs for a higher pace stride. The quicker you run your legs the higher your heart rate will go.

Move 2: Jump Squats

Start in a squat position then either stand, squeezing glutes before returning to squat position, or jump for a higher intensity move. Make sure to land gently. Be sure to squeeze glutes when both standing and jumping.

Move 3: Spiderman Pushups
mountain climbers
This move is one of my favorites. You will start in a plank position and drive the right knee into meet your elbow while completing the pushup. Then alternate sides (see picture above). You can do this move on your knees or simply do a regular pushup if it suits you better!

Move 4: High Knees/Running in Place

high knees
A simple yet effective move. Running or marching in place can help to get your heart rate up and can be done anywhere. The faster you march or jog the higher your heart rate will go- so try to push it as much as you can!

Move 5: Star Jumps

star jumps

Star jumps are a jumping jack with a jump at the end of them, as pictured. Remember that if it suits you to stick with the regular jumping jack you can absolutely do so, but give the star jack a try —they’re fun and challenging. Remember to land gently on your feet and repeat for 30 seconds.

Bonus: Stair Climbs

jump squat

If you have a set of stairs — indoor or outdoor — or find yourself with access to a track with bleachers or similar finish this workout with five minutes (or more!) of stair climbing. You can walk it or run it —  whatever is most convenient for you! Stairs are my absolute favorite move in any exercise routine.

Here’s How to Cool Down After Your Workout

March in place, then stretch — quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders —  and make sure to hydrate well!

Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Isabel is a Registered Dietitian, wellness expert and fitness coach. Isabel has her own nutrition and wellness practice based in New York City, Isabel Smith Nutrition, but she works with clients and corporations both nationwide and worldwide in a variety of areas including skin health, weight loss, gastrointestinal issues and allergies, sports nutrition, general wellness and more. As a Guided Reboot coach, Isabel has helped hundreds juice their way to better health. When she isn’t helping clients achieve optimal nutrition and wellness, she can be found trying and creating new juices and making other healthy recipes, running, cooking, spinning, practicing yoga, and enjoying time with her two Yorkshire terriers. Isabel is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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