Types of Cardio Workouts + Full Body {Workout}

We’ve all heard of cardio and most of us do it either daily, or multiple times a week. We know there is HIIT also, but what else is there when it comes to cardio? Is there more that might help us out with our workouts?

Types of Cardio Workouts

Continuous or steady state Training: basically this means you have an increase in intensity then remain at a steady state and then decrease. I like to think of this as staying on the same speed after a warm up and then having a cool down.

Interval Training: We all know this one as it is the HIIT model. We perform higher intensity work and follow it with periods of lower-intensity active recovery. There is usually a timed ratio to it, say 1:3, which could be 30 seconds HIIT, then 90 seconds active recovery (rest), but the times can vary based on the workout.

Intermittent Training: This form of training is more spontaneous. You follow your workout, but then throw in some higher intensity work at random times. It does not follow a timed pattern, and can be different intensities throughout. For example, you may be running and after 5 minutes, you include 30 seconds of sprints. Then you run 3 minutes at a steady state, and follow that with 45 seconds of sprints. It’s all mixed up, but keeps your body guessing.

Circuit Training: These ones are my favorite. They include different exercises in different groups. You complete each set a set number of times before moving on to the next “station” or circuit. There is usually an aspect of cardio within this training, but not always. For more cardiorespiratory benefits, you will want your circuits to be mostly cardio focused.

By keeping out body guessing, it makes it more fun, and keeps us from getting bored. I am a fan of throwing in random higher intensity options, especially on the treadmill. I have often also finished a few strength training exercises and then thrown in some jump roping. It isn’t “in the workout” but it helps me feel like I’m really pushing myself Winking smile These all provide huge benefits, and should be rotated through so your body isn’t used to the same things. I like to do all of these in a week and change my workouts either every week, or every other week.

And now for another weekly…


I did this workout on Sunday and loved it so I knew I must share. I was going to do a workout focusing on upper body and then throw some squats and lunges onto the end, but then decided to incorporate it all. It took roughly 45 minutes but I was also watching the Olympics Winking smile

Harder than it looks workout

This workout will exhaust both legs completely. The first circuit will use the left leg more with the lunges and fire hydrants. Once you complete that three times, you will move on to the right leg, with mostly the same circuit. Some things are different. I am not a fan of workouts that say “15 Lunges with hammer curls” because does that mean 15 lunges total or 15 hammer curls? Am I doing 30 hammer curls? This way, both legs are worked, but with different upper body movements. I woke up sore from it yesterday! I hope you enjoy!


What’s your favorite cardio method?

How often do you do full body movements instead of isolating muscle groups?

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  1. Looks like a great workout! Can’t wait to give it a try…possibly after work today! And I love reading about the different types of cardio. Like you, circuit is my favorite, but I like to throw in small cardio bursts too!
    Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely recently posted…Finding My Fitness StyleMy Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      Let me know if you do! I loved that it worked it all and made me feel great. Cardio bursts are fantastic to add in! Just love getting a sweat on 😉

  2. That looks like it will leave my legs burning! I’m a big fan of circuit workouts. It’s somehow easier for me mentally to know I only have to do an exercise for a short period, and then I can move on to something else.
    Stacie @ Simply Southern Stacie recently posted…Welcome Back to the 21st Century!My Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      Legs burning in a great way! haha I totally agree that knowing an exercise is a short time is better than thinking like minutes long! Makes me get to it and over it fast 🙂

  3. woof, nothing like a good leg workout! I have to say body pump and running kill them equally enough but I will keep this in my back pocket for some strength training
    Alex @ therunwithin recently posted…Trade em Up Tuesday: Coffee Me.My Profile

  4. Out of all of them, I’d have to say that steady-state is the one I like the least — talk about serious danger of falling asleep! I like HIIT for being quick and effective (even if it makes me feel like I want to die sometimes), and circuits are wonderful for keeping things interesting. Also, that workout makes me sore just looking at it 😛
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. link love 2/16 .My Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      I feel like steady state is definitely everyons least favorite, haha. But, I can only do it when I’m watching a movie or reading on the ipad while running. But only because I can’t keep track of the time. Sometimes I set a timer to remind me to switch it up, lol.

  5. This looks great girl! Can’t wait to try it out 🙂 My favorite cardio is running, which I used to keep at a steady pace, but recently I’ve been throwing sprints in to at least one of my runs each week, and I really like it. Keeps me from getting bored, and I hope it’ll make me faster in the end 😉
    Caitlin recently posted…Lesson LearnedMy Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      Let me know when you do 🙂 It equally kills all parts haha I’m with you with running, though. My favorite runs are steady states but when I did some pick ups the other day, time flew!

  6. Oooh my legs are screaming already! I am pinning this one for sure 🙂 Fire hydrants are tough but I love them!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted…Girl Scout Cookies Make Me SmileMy Profile

  7. I try to make every strength move a full body move! It makes no sense to isolate muscle groups unless you really care about making that single muscle LOOK bigger, and don’t care about functional strength. I like a mix of interval and steady state cardio (:
    Hayley@healthyregardshayley recently posted…So You Want 6-Pack Abs?My Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      I’m trying to get better about it. I typically have a full body day, upper body, and lower body. However, I really liked knocking them all out at once ha

  8. My favorite cardio training is a mixture of three different kinds. I love love love running – nothing can substitute for that 🙂 I also have been involved in my cycling classes 3 times a week at the gym I go to! Love that sweat! And finally, I started swimming in our gym’s lap pool again. SOOO relaxing and definitely an all-body workout, so different from other forms of cardio!

    I try and lift weights 3 times a week too – upper one day, lower another, and full body the third day. Not enough hours in the day, huh? 🙂

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      I definitely agree that a mix is the best. You don’t want your body to get used to one thing. You have so many things going on! Ha I love all the different cardio! I actually have the same lifting schedule. I try to do upper body monday, lower body wednesday, and full body friday!

  9. Great workout! I’m a huge fan of cardio and I like to switch it up a lot. If I don’t have a plan I find myself throwing in random sprints and hills while running to keep from getting bored.
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted…Simple Southwestern Chicken SaladMy Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      Yes! I love switching things up when I don’t have a plan. And that way I kind of can switch things that I want since I’m not following a specific workout!

  10. I can’t wait to give this workout a try! I love how you work on different muscles at the same time!
    Becky@TheSavedRunner recently posted…Fitness Week of 2/10-2/16My Profile

  11. I love HIIT runs and always do my weight lifting sessions in circuit training. Mainly because I don’t have a lot of time, and because I hate waiting in between sets, I swear I have no patience sometimes haha
    Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne recently posted…Skinny Or Fit?My Profile

  12. I’m such a cardio junkie! I’ve tried pretty much all of those cardio options and honestly, I kind of like all of them. I like doing different things, so I don’t get bored and my body doesn’t get used to doing the same things everyday.
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted…{Guest Post} Food and Drink Trends of 2014My Profile

  13. I think I am more on the lines of intermittent training. I have been running a lot on the treadmill due to the weather and I have been getting so bored! This type of training really breaks up the run. I typically do a full body workout once a week, I really like your workout!
    Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} recently posted…Italian Style Turkey Meatballs {GF & DF}My Profile

  14. I love Trainer Tuesday! You know I love to mix things up and have a nice mix of all of this in my workout regimen. This looks like a really great workout- and so unique; I love breaking it up by legs!
    Heather Murphy recently posted…I am woman, hear me roar.My Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      Aw I’m so glad to hear you say that 🙂 Makes me happy! I definitely know you relate to all the different ways to work out and getting out of boredom! ha

  15. I really enjoy doing CrossFit type workouts and mixing them with running. In the past I would burn out or get bored and stop exercising for a while. But with this combination it’s easy to keep it up =) There’s always a new mix to try.
    Rhiannon recently posted…Adding Some IntensityMy Profile

  16. Interval or circuit is my favorite form. Its effective and doesn’t leave me staring at the clock. That’s what I tend to do during steady state… I STARE…at the timer, at people walking by, out the window! Hahahaha

    Intervals keep me moving and entertained! 🙂

  17. Hi there! New blog reader and I love this post! I recently do more heavy lifting routines but add in some HIIT cardio a couple times a week- sometimes just the elliptical but I also like full body movements. My favorite recently is barbell complexes. So much harder than they look!
    Krista @ Tiny n Fit recently posted…Snow Ice CreamMy Profile

    • Fit N Cookies says:

      Yay! Welcome to my blog! So glad you relate to this post. Hope to see you around more 🙂

  18. I’m always looking for new leg workouts, and this one looks awesome!! Have you decided if becoming a PT is the path for you? or still trying to find your passion?
    Jessie recently posted…[Healthy] Chocolate Nutella SmoothieMy Profile


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