Cardio Queen: I’ve been doing cardio for months and I’m still flabby 🙁

Me: Then why are you still doing cardio?

Cardio Queen: Because that’s what EliteDaily/BuzzFeed/Cosmo told me

Me: Great resources on fitness….not. Has it worked?

Cardio Queen: I lost a few pounds at first but I’m still not toned and my belly is still flabby. What am I doing wrong?!

Me: Maybe it’s because you’re doing cardio and not conditioning.

Cardio queen: What’s the difference?

Me: (places soap box on floor, stands on soap box, take deep breath) Let me explain….


  • Conditioning burns fat. Cardio burns calories.
  • Conditioning builds muscle. Cardio eats muscle.
  • Conditioning makes you strong. Cardio makes you weak.
  • Conditioning is fire. Cardio is the fire extinguisher.
  • Conditioning relieves stress for the rest of the day. Cardio relieves stress only when you’re doing it.
  • Conditioning makes your booty round and strong. Cardio makes it flat and weak.
  • Conditioning gives you legs like beach volleyball player. Cardio will give you legs like an anorexic runway model…..on crack….after an overdose…and dead…2 weeks later.
  • Conditioning makes you look good in Lululemon® yoga pants. Cardio makes you look good in…well….nothing.
  • Conditioning is “Give it to me”. Cardio is “Is this over yet?”


I could spout off all the scientific, peer reviewed research articles and studies that prove HIIT (aka conditioning) style workouts make you look better when compared to long, slow, steady running/biking (aka cardio). Unfortunately, it wasn’t in Cosmo so I’ll save my breath. Just take a leap of faith and trust me on this one. The issue is most people don’t know how to do a conditioning workout effectively. Follow these 3 simple rules for a good conditioning workout and see the results come:


  1. 1:2 ratio of Work* to Rest (ex. 10 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest)…can be higher (ex. 1:3 or 1:4) depending on how hard you are working
  2. Perform at the END of your lifting workout for 5-10 min. 2-3x week
  3. Do NOT do a ‘work’ set for longer than 30 sec…..anything longer is counterproductive

*When I say “work” I mean you are going as hard and as fast as humanly possible. If you can keep going after 30 seconds then you didn’t go hard enough.


There are multiple exercises you can use for a conditioning workout to build a lean, fit body. Do what feels good and is enjoyable. Here are a few of my favorite conditioning exercises:


  • SPRINTS: Arguably one of the BEST exercises for conditioning, core strength, and leg power



  • BATTLE ROPES: Versatile, multi-directional, stress relieving tool that will burn your arms and lungs at the same time. Great substitute if you can’t run or jump



  • DOUBLE UNDERS: A great way to kick up your jump rope routine that will make your VO2 Max skyrocket and develop your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.



  • KETTLEBELL SWINGS: What? You thought I’d leave this one out? Use a heavy kettlebell to get the best bang for your buck on this exercise



Get creative. You can mix and match the exercises or just do 1 for your conditioning workout. Change it up and have fun.