Cardio Versus No Cardio

Which is Best for You?

With all the different styles of training and coaching available, it’s difficult to decide whether cardio is beneficial or harmful when trying to achieve your goals.

Let me preface by saying that everyone is different. And everyone’s genetics, activity level and metabolism vary. With that being said, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly works the best for you. It’s a game of trail and error. Pay close attention on how your body responds.

However, I’ve noticed patterns with how certain body types respond to various amounts of cardio and the equipment used. For those looking to decrease leg size, I recommend running, fast walking, elliptical or using a low resistance on the bike for a duration of 45-plus minutes. And for those looking to increase leg size and shape, I recommend the StairMaster, the bike using medium to high resistance settings, the Cybex Arc Trainer, plyo box jumps and walking lunges/sprints on the treadmill for a 20- to 40-minute duration.

Cardio Versus No Cardio


As I mentioned before, these are my observations over the years. You know your body better than anyone, so if my suggestion doesn’t work for you, try different modalities, and observe how your body looks, feels, or if there’s any weight fluctuation.

Lastly, provided you’re in good respiratory health, I absolutely recommend high-intensity interval training using cardio equipment, free weights or machines for anyone looking to increase your metabolism and overall heart health! What I love about HIIT is that it challenges your system to the MAX, allowing you to burn more calories in way less time, and increases your VO2 max (the maximum volume of oxygen your body can efficiently utilize during maximal exercise). Also, once you’ve finished your 20- to 40-minute HIIT session, your body continues to utilize oxygen to burn body fat at a much faster rate (also known as EPOC— Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption). Below, I’ve written sample HIIT workouts for you to try!

Cardio Versus No Cardio


Cardio HIIT Circuit

2 minutes low-medium intensity and incline
1-minute incline sprint (treadmill), skipping steps at level 10+ (StairMaster), incline 18, resistance 60+ as fast as possible (Cybex Arc), high resistance standing up off seat (Upright Bike)

Repeat 7-10 rounds for 20-30 minutes

Full-Body HIIT Resistance Training Circuit

1. 15-20 Ball Wall Squats Holding Dumbbells
2. 15-20 Narrow Push-ups
3. 15-20 Lunge Jumps (switching or one leg at a time)— keep stance long so your front knee doesn’t go over the toe!
4. 15-20 Rows at Smith machine, holding dumbbells or using bodyweight on TRX
5. 15-20 Reverse Floor Crunches

Repeat circuit 6 times, and only rest after you finish the round!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at or find me on Facebook and Instagram! Also, be sure to check out my new e-books available NOW on my website Wishing you an amazing and productive week!


Ashley Kaltwasser

Ashley Kaltwasser is the three-time Bikini Olympia Champion and two-time Bikini International Champion. She is a Team Gaspari, Better Bodies and MuscleEgg athlete, sponsored by Liquid Sun Rayz & a former collegiate track athlete. Ashley believes that serious fitness doesn’t have to be boring. In her “Keep it Fresh” column, she share ways to keep your training and nutrition fun and flavorful.

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