35-Minute Boredom Buster Cardio Workout

Woman on elliptical
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This cardio workout is perfect for those days you want a short, effective workout that doesn't just plod along at the same pace. This pyramid workout takes you up and down throughout the workout, using both speed and incline/resistance to increase and decrease the intensity throughout the workout. You can use this Perceived Exertion Chart to track your intensity. This workout can be done on any cardio machine or outside with other activities.


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed

Any cardio machine or activity.

How To

  • Complete each segment of the workout, setting speed, incline, resistance or ramps to match the suggested Perceived Exertion Levels
  • Modify the workout as needed to fit your fitness level, preferences and goals
  • Slow down or stop the workout if you feel any pain, dizziness or shortness of breath 
Time, Intensity, Speed, Incline or ResistancePerceived Exertion
5 min.Warm up at an easy-moderate pace. 4
1 min.Baseline: Increase speed, incline or resistance (or use a combination) to find your baseline.  In this phase, you should be just a little out of your comfort zone and feel that you're working, but able to talk5
2 min.Increase your incline, resistance or ramps until you feel you're working harder than baseline. 6
3 min.Increase your incline, resistance or ramps to work a little harder7
2 min.Decrease your incline, resistance or ramps6
1 min.Back to baseline5
2 min.Increase your speed to work at a higher intensity - you should find it difficult to talk6
3 min.Increase speed to work a little harder7
2 min.Decrease your speed6
1 min.Back to baseline5
5 min.Stay at baseline5
1 min.Work as hard as you can using both speed and incline/resistance8
2 min.Back to baseline5
5 min.Cool down4
Total :35 Minutes 

Interval training workouts are perfect for a variety of reasons.  You burn more calories, because you're working harder during your work intervals, you build endurance more quickly as you tax new and different energy systems and you get a little more afterburn.  That means, you burn more calories after your workout to bring your body back to normal.

Make Your Own Interval Workouts

You can make your own by just choosing an interval, say 30-60 seconds, and working as hard as you can during that interval.  Then, give yourself a recover period where you get back to a comfortable place, around a Level 4 or 5 on this perceived exertion scale.  Alternate that for anywhere from 15-45 minutes and do that 1-2 times a week and you'll start to see results from your cardio workouts.

And remember, you can do this with any type of cardio.  If you're walking, try picking up your speed or walking very briskly up a hill during your work sets.

If you're running, try sprinting as fast as you can for a length of time or even to something in the distance.  Even a few short pickups during your walk or run can make a big difference in how many calories you burn and your workouts will fly by much faster.