Emily Skye

My 5 minute cardio workout blast

Emily Skye

Exercise is great for health, fat burn and building a strong, sculpted body. I always swear by incorporating a variety of strength training into a fitness plan, as it gets you to your fitness goals faster. Although I personally prefer this type of training, cardio is equally just as important in attaining a healthy body, inside and out.

Is cardio actually good for fat loss?
Cardio is any type of repetitive movement that contracts your large muscle groups, making your heart pump faster to get the much-needed energy through your bloodstream and into your muscles.

Cardio is seen as the traditional fat loss exercise: you might have heard of things like ‘fasted cardio’ as an exercise hack or a perfect 'fat burning heart rate' when people talk about cardio workouts.

But will cardio burn fat? It can if you’re also training with a calorie deficit. That’s why my Strength & Tone and Weight Loss meal plans on FIT are different, even though both goal settings come with the same workout structure.

Apart from stronger muscles and fat-burning benefits, the other benefits of cardio include:

  • A stronger heart and cardiovascular system

  • Better flow of oxygen through the body

  • Can lower blood pressure

  • Can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is great when you don’t have time for long, steady-state cardio. By working at higher intensities for short periods, followed by a rest, you can get your body into its optimum fat burning zone. Even though you sweat it out for a shorter time, you can still lose fat (and gain muscle, if you’ve also got resistance exercises in there).

Go go cardio!
Don’t have time to slog away on cardio machines at the gym, or set out on a jog when you’re exhausted after work? You need something quick that gets you to that target heart rate, and you’re wondering, “What cardio can I do at home?”

Well, grab your weight plates, Swiss ball and plyo box (or a similar stable, raised platform) and set aside 5 minutes, because I have the HIIT solution for you.

Who doesn’t have 5 minutes to spare each day? Especially when you can use that time to reap so many benefits from an awesome workout session like this!

This workout focuses on whole-body movements that target your main muscle groups and get your heart rate up. These moves are all from my FIT program, which you can access on my app!

Do each of these exercises for 50 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds:

  • Box jumps

  • Sprinter skip left

  • Swiss ball knee tucks

  • Sprinter skip right

  • Sliding plate burpee

If you’ve got more than five minutes, do a few rounds! Don’t forget to warm up before you start and stretch afterward.

Box jumps
HOW: Standing in front of the box with feet hip-width apart, bend at the knees to spring off both feet together up onto the box. Land on the box with soft knees in a squat position, stand up tall and then step down to your starting position.

WHY: This high impact bad boy is guaranteed to raise your heart rate through the roof and switch on big, calorie-burning muscle groups of the lower body. But it’s not just a cardio weight loss exercise: it’s also great for building glutes. Yep, glute exercises go beyond squats and lunges!

Sprinter skip left
HOW: From a standing position, step your left leg backward, bending your knee towards the ground and at the same time reach the ground with your left hand.

Briefly touch the ground and as soon as you make contact, drive your left knee and your whole body upwards until your body is upright and your left knee comes towards your chest.

Spring up off the floor with your right foot and continue straight into the next rep of the same movement, dropping your left knee back and down and your left hand to the ground.

WHY: These are great calf exercises that also work your glute muscles. Sprinter skips are one of the best cardio exercises because it’s also a plyometric move. Plyometric exercises are great in HIIT training because by adding an explosive ‘burst’, you get more bang for your buck.

Swiss ball knee tucks
HOW: Start with your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders and your shins up on the Swiss ball to form a plank position. From there, squeeze your knees in towards your chest to roll the ball forward and push them back out again to a plank. Keep repeating, tucking your knees as close to the chest as you can each time.

WHY: This core exercise is a double whammy – it will have your heart rate up there as you switch on a bunch of stabilizing muscle groups along the way too (including your shoulders, chest, back and hips).

Sprinter skip right
HOW: From a standing position, step your right leg backward, bending your knee towards the ground and at the same time reach the ground with your right hand.

Briefly touch the ground and as soon as you make contact, drive your right knee and your whole body upwards until your body is upright and your right knee comes towards your chest.

Spring up off the floor with your left foot and continue straight into the next rep of the same movement, dropping your right knee back and down and your right hand to the ground.

WHY: You thought we were done with bodyweight exercises? You have to do the other side. Get ready to feel the burn again in your butt muscles, calf muscles and thighs! Plyometric training isn’t easy, but it gets you real results.

Sliding plate burpee
HOW: With your sliding plates under both feet and shoulder-width apart, squat down to place your hands on the ground in front of you and slide your feet back (at the same time as each other) until your body is in a plank position.

Bend your knees and slide your feet back towards your hands, release your hands from the ground and squat back up to standing, putting the weight on your heels rather than the balls of your feet. Keep repeating the move.

WHY: When you power through the full range of motion, the burpee is a big muscle mover and a massive calorie burner. The more reps you can fit into the 50 seconds, the higher the calorie expenditure.

Emily Skye
Personal trainer • Founder

Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.

Emily Skye
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