How Much Cardio Should You Do?

How Much Cardio Should You Be Doing graphic
How Much Cardio Should You Be Doing graphic

How many times have you gotten up to go for a run, only to open your door and realize that it's too hot, too cold, too wet, or (insert some other excuse for NOT going out on your run). I've been there, believe me. When I was in the 8th grade, I had the "genius" idea that I would run cross country, and indoor track, AND outdoor track. I HATED running that much, but I LOVED winning, and being one of the best in my sport, so I kept doing it. I threatened to quit the team just about every day. But I had a why. I wanted to use my skills to get into college that I wanted to for free, and I wouldn't burden my parents. Guess what? That happened. I was able parlay all that running into a full track scholarship, out of state, no less! I was so grateful. And guess what got me there? RUNNING....

As an athlete, there's a method to all the madness of running. You're always working towards a goal to be better and better. As an everyday exerciser, you're going to have a method to your madness, too. But does it HAVE TO be through the route of running? Well, in a short quick answer? Yes. Let me explain. 

Oftentimes, we think that cardio is JUST running. When in actuality, cardio comes in many different forms. From dancing to jump rope and high intensity workouts, the options can be what you decide to make them. The forms that I will be talking about will be H.I.I.T. and L.I.S.S. workouts.


High Intensity Interval Training workouts are workouts that are done at an intense speed for short periods of time with very short intervals of rest. HIIT workouts can be a mixture of cardio and strength workouts. What I like about them is after you're done with a HIIT workout, you are continuously burning fat for up to another 24 hours. How awesome is that?! You also get to do these workouts in no time flat, some as quickly as 4 minutes, all while burning a high level of fat and calories. Your aerobic capacity will increase exponentially in a shorter amount of time (try as quickly as two weeks on for size), you can do them literally anywhere, and you don't have to use any equipment. Of course, there are some cons to HIIT workouts, and I wouldn't be me if I didn't keep it real with you. I LOVE these workouts, but everything in moderation, right? Doing too many HIIT workouts can potentially lead to overuse injury. You also may experience longer rest periods in the beginning. You may feel like you're slacking, but if it's the first time you're doing a HIIT workout, trust me, you're going to experience some shortness of breath. Finally, you may be unqualified to do HIIT workouts because of prior chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes. Always consult your doctor if you have any ailments that you may be questioning. All in all, this is a great cardio workout option that you can do if you want to change up your workout regimen and trick your muscles a little. 


LISS workouts is a type of cardio workout that I've been doing for a long time, but never knew it had an actual name until I started following Kayla Itsines. LISS stands for Low Intensity Sustained State workouts. These are things you may do before or after a workout, or on off days from working out when you just need to move. I love these because you don't realize that you're actually treating your body to a good low impact workout. These workouts involve any cardio or aerobic activity that is done at a lower intensity for a longer amount of time, usually 30-60 minutes. This can be anything from walking to swimming to rowing. This is great for metabolizing fat, but not for breaking down stored fat, like HIIT workouts can do. 

So How Much Running Should I Do?

You'll want to incorporate cardio into your workout daily. You can do LISS workouts daily, but HIIT workouts more on the 3 times a week mark. If you're having a hard time with three times a week, you can reduce your HIIT workouts to 1-2 times a week, and then increase as your workouts get easier. Doing too much cardio can cause adverse effects, but balancing the time with strength workouts is the best type of workout. Running may be the pits, but if you look at it with the mindset that you have possibilities to do different forms of cardio, you'll have a much more enjoyable workout. 

Until next time, #befocusedbefitbefly