Cardio Deck of Cards Workout for the Gym

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout (perfect for the gym!)Hello from Logan Airport! I’m here bright and early about to head to San Francisco for a fun blogging trip with Stitch Fix & LUNA Bars. I’ll obviously post ALL about it when I get back, but for now you can follow my trip on Instagram and Twitter. If you read a bunch of health & fitness blogs, you’ll probably recognize a lot of the other bloggers going with me–I was actually a little shocked (but so excited) to see I made the list! If they’re the MLB of fit blogging, I’m still playing tee ball over here haha. Anyway, on to today’s post…

I don’t have a gym membership, but every once in a while I’ll mooch a guest pass to Equinox or Sports Club LA from one of my friends and get in a workout using cardio equipment. This deck of cards workout is perfect for the treadmill, but can also be done using an elliptical, stairmaster, jump rope—or just by running outside. Get creative with the cardio portion!

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Treadmill
  • Two 10-lb dumbbells
  • Deck of Cards (or a deck-of-cards app like RipDeck)

For the deck-of-cards workout structure, you flip over one card at a time. Each suite corresponds to a different exercise, and the number on the card indicates the number of reps you’ll do. For example, a three of diamonds = 3 jack-jump planks in this workout. Go through the entire deck. There are smartphone apps out there (I use RipDeck) you can use so that you don’t have to be that weirdo walking into the gym holding a deck of cards. ;)

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout (perfect for the gym!)

CLUBS = PUSH UPS WITH DUMBBELL ROWS

Holding a dumbbell in each hand in a plank position, do a push up. Row your right hand up, elbow thrusting up, and then do the left. That’s one rep. If it hurts your wrists to hold the weights while in plank, place them besides you and just grab them after you do the push up for the rows.

DIAMONDS = JACK JUMP PLANKS

Start in a plank position. Jump both feet up towards your hands. Jump them back into plank position. Jump feet apart (like a horizontal jumping jack) and then jump them back together into your starting plank position. That’s one rep.

SPADES = V-UP CRUNCHES

To do a V-Up, you start on your back with arms stretched out overhead and legs hovering just slightly above the ground. You’ll then crunch up, bringing your hands towards your toes (keeping legs and arms straight). When done correctly, your body will make a “v” shape as you crunch; this means you’re not just reaching your arms up, your chest needs to move towards your knees. Lower back down to starting position. If possible, your feet should never touch the ground.

HEARTS = TREADMILL FOR 2 MINS

  • Face card or Ace = Sprint (9-12 mph)
  • 6-10 = Run (7-10 mph)
  • 2-5 = Jog (5-7 mph)

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout (perfect for the gym!)

WEARING | tank: Athleta // bra & leggings: c/o Reebok // sneakers: Nike

signature

Like what I’m wearing in today’s post? SHOP A SIMILAR LOOK:

My Least Favorite Part of Long-Distance Running

least-favorite-part-long-distance-runningRemember when I wrote that I was going to run my own half marathon around Boston on a random weekday because I wanted something to train for but didn’t want to give up a weekend to race? I posted my eight-week training plan…eleven weeks ago.

I didn’t give up though! I’m still going to run the damn thing, it’s just going to take a while to get there because I keep taking weeks off. Why? Well, at about week three I was reminded of the one thing I hate about long-distance running: you have to put other types of fitness on hold. Not completely, but you certainly have to make running the priority and dial down the frequency of other workouts.

That just does not work for me. In addition to teaching them, I like to take three classes a week at Btone. I also like to get in a couple HIIT workouts each week at home, using kettlebells, med balls—all that fun stuff. I like to go to spin classes. I like trying out new studios and getting in the occasional yoga session. Try doing all that variety and then running a distance over four miles. It’s brutal—my legs were feeling like lead every time I headed out for a long run, and my pace was glacial.

On weeks I’ve done a lot of other workouts, I’ve just been skipping the long run. When a week comes up that’s been light with the strength training, I’ll get in a long run. I’d say at this pace, I’ll run my half a month from now. Oh well.

So, question for my serious runners out there—is there any way to keep up the frequency of my other workouts while still feeling fresh-legged for long runs? Or do I just need to suck it up for training and focus on running?

signature

My Stretching Routine for Long Runs (Warm-Up & Cool-Down)

running-warm-up-cool-down-stretching-10Stretching is, oddly enough, a pretty controversial topic in the fitness community. What stretches are safe, when you should do them, if you should stretch at all—I’ve heard and read countless different opinions on what’s best, so I want to emphasize that this is my stretching routine for long-distance runs. I’m not saying it’s best or necessarily right for you. Here are some facts about stretching (that I believe to be true) that explain why:

  • Stretching after your workout is more important than stretching before your workout. This is, to a certain extent, going to depend on the type of workout you’re doing. This also applies more to traditional, static stretching (holding a stretch for 30+ seconds) than to dynamic stretching. I think a warm-up is important before long runs, but I actually don’t think you should do static stretching at all until after. This isn’t just based on my personal experience either; there are studies showing that muscles can’t reach peak performance levels during a workout if they’ve been stretched beforehand.
  • Only stretch tight muscles. This applies to static stretching and self-myofascial release (foam rolling). I like to dynamically stretch/warm-up all the muscles that are going to be used in my workout, but when it comes to really getting deep into post-run stretching and foam rolling, I just focus on the tight muscles. I could launch into a whole essay on muscle imbalances to explain more of the logic behind this, but I think that might actually deserve its own blog post. My calves are always exceptionally tight after long runs, so I focus a lot on them. And I only do the quad stretch pictured below if they’re tight from the previous day’s workout—otherwise I just focus on my hamstrings (always a little tight!).

So keeping all that in mind, here’s what I do before and after a long run (for me, a non-marathoner, I consider a long run to be anything over 5 miles):

warm-up-cool-down-routine-running

PRE-RUN: DYNAMIC STRETCHING

I think of dynamic stretching as getting the blood flowing and warming up the muscles that are about to be worked. It’s continuous motion around a joint, as opposed to holding a stretch/position, and I typically do 10-20 reps of each movement (20 for the toe touches, calf pedaling, high knees, butt kickers; 10 for the hip circles, 5 in each direction). 

POST-RUN: STATIC STRETCHING

This is “stretching” as people typically think of it. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds in order for it to be effective. 

POST-RUN: FOAM ROLLING

My calves are always tight so I make sure to foam roll ‘em out. With the roller under my calf, I cross the foot on top of it, brace my bodyweight on my hands, and slowly roll up and down my calf. When I hit a tight spot (you know when you do)—I hold it there for at least 30 seconds, then continue to roll until I’ve hit all the little knots.

running-warm-up-cool-down-stretching-20

Three quick notes about my stretching routine that someone would probably call me out on if I weren’t to address them now…

1. I’m not warming up or stretching my upper body. I know—in an ideal world, I probably would. But I wanted to share what I actually do, and on most days, I don’t feel like stretching at all so just focus on the primary muscles used (running = lower body).

2. I’m statically stretching before foam rolling. I know that NASM and lots of fitness professionals advice foam rolling first in order to make the static stretching more effective (basically break up the knots first so that you can get deeper into the static stretch). I actually do see the benefit of that, but when it comes to my calves, I feel like my static stretching is limited more by the range of my ankle bones than my muscles, so I save the foam rolling for last (more convenient).

3. I should stretch/foam roll my IT/TFL bands—a typically tight area for runners. I know. But I’d be a big fat liar if I included it in this post because I never do. That’s what my weekly yoga class is for…right? ;)

If you’re wondering how this differs from my stretching routine for my short runs, it’s simple: I don’t stretch if I’m just heading out for a quick 3 or 4 miles. I KNOW. I should. But there are only 24 hours in a day…and I am lazy.

running-warm-up-cool-down-stretching-21

WEARING | jacket: c/o Lands’ End / shorts: c/o Cory Vines / sneakers: c/o Puma

I got the chance to team up with the awesome people over at Lands’ End and wear their Performance Sport Jacket in this post. I also have it in pink and blue color-block, and love both! I think the attached hood with a high-neck collar is a cool look, and you can never go wrong with thumbholes—am I right or amiright.

The looser fit was great for adding layers this winter, and I’ve now been wearing it with just a tank and shorts for cooler morning runs this spring. Lands’ End now has a whole activewear line, so be sure to check out these jackets as well as all their other gear!

Tell me about your post/pre-run stretching routine! How does it compare to mine? I know there are lots of different opinions on stretching, and even if you think my routine is stupid and misinformed, I want to hear about it—drop some knowledge in the comments section! :)

And I can’t not leave you with this (because honestly isn’t this how we all feel??)…

ain't nobody got time

Amen, gurlfriend.

signature