7 Days of Cardio: Free Workout Guide!

| Fitness
jump rope
(Photo: Shutterstock)

This workout plan covers your first week of cardio, guiding you step-by-step through each move, while simultaneously giving you tips and modifications to make the workout a little more challenging. Ready to start shedding the pounds? Your weight loss journey can start right here, right now.

7 days of cardio

DAY ONE

Are you ready to begin? Throw on your sneakers and take a big gulp of water, because you're about to get pretty sweaty. If you're like us and you love a good challenge, try completing today's set three times.

1. 30 Butt Kicks

  • Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back.
  • Keep this posture and bend at your knee so as to kick your butt. Repeat on the other side. Increase speed for a harder workout.

2. 1 minute jump rope

3. 40 High Knees

  • Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back. Place your hands out at hip height to help gauge your performance. Keep this posture and raise one knee up to the hips or higher, keeping the other leg bent and ready to follow. Quickly alternate knees, leaning back with a strong core to help drive them toward the chest. Repeat for allotted time.

High-Knees

DAY TWO

You made it to day two! Congratulations! It's crucial to keep your momentum going, so try to repeat this set of three exercises for two rounds.

1. 2 Minutes Jump Rope

2. 8 Burpees

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
  • Bend your knees and squat down, placing your hands firmly on the floor.
  • Jump your feet back to come into a high plank with straight arms and legs.
  • Jump both feet forward to your hands.
  • From your crouching position, jump up with hands above your head. That is one rep.

3. 30 Jumping Jacks

  • Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
  • Jump up and raise your arms above your head, while simultaneously kicking your legs out to the sides. You should form an “x.” Without taking a break, quickly reverse the movement and repeat.
  • Want to make this move a little more challenging? Hold small free weights as you perform this move to amp up the burn.

jumping jacks

DAY THREE

You're nearing the middle of the challenge, but now is not the time to slow down! Push yourself hard with these squats, jumping jacks and butt kicks. Complete this set? Do it again!

1. 12 Jump Squats

  • To perform this plyometric exercise, first stand with the feet slightly outside the shoulders (wherever your squat stance is) and drop the hips backward and down. Send the arms straight out in front of you to help the chest stay lifted. Double check your knee position – make sure they’re staying behind your toes.
  • Push through your heels to drive out of the squat. Roll through the foot to lift into your jump, bringing the arms overhead to help propel you upward. Land softly and quietly with bent knees. If you can go right back into your squat, do it! Otherwise, take the soft-knee landing and reset for the next squat.

2. 40 Jumping Jacks

  • Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
  • Jump up and raise your arms above your head, while simultaneously kicking your legs out to the sides. You should form an “x.” Without taking a break, quickly reverse the movement and repeat.
  • Want to make this move a little more challenging? Hold small free weights as you perform this move to amp up the burn.

3. 40 Butt Kicks

  • Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back.
  • Keep this posture and bend at your knee so as to kick your butt. Repeat on the other side. Increase speed for a harder workout.

Butt-Kicks_RESIZED-1

DAY FOUR

You've made it halfway through the challenge! By now you know your limits, and what you're capable of. So what's next? You push yourself harder!

1. 50 High Knees

  • Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back. Place your hands out at hip height to help gauge your performance. Keep this posture and raise one knee up to the hips or higher, keeping the other leg bent and ready to follow. Quickly alternate knees, leaning back with a strong core to help drive them toward the chest. That's one rep.

2. 15 Jump Squats

  • To perform this plyometric exercise, first stand with the feet slightly outside the shoulders (wherever your squat stance is) and drop the hips backward and down. Send the arms straight out in front of you to help the chest stay lifted. Double check your knee position – make sure they’re staying behind your toes.
  • Push through your heels to drive out of the squat. Roll through the foot to lift into your jump, bringing the arms overhead to help propel you upward. Land softly and quietly with bent knees. If you can go right back into your squat, do it! Otherwise, take the soft-knee landing and reset for the next squat.

3. 10 Burpees

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
  • Bend your knees and squat down, placing your hands firmly on the floor.
  • Jump your feet back to come into a high plank with straight arms and legs.
  • Jump both feet forward to your hands.
  • From your crouching position, jump up with hands above your head. That is one rep.

Burpee with Pushup

DAY FIVE

You've started to notice that the workouts are getting harder. It's important to remember that if you never change your exercises, the weights, or difficulty, you'll plateau and cease to see change. Increase the challenge of your workout every time you put on your sneakers.

1. 50 Jumping Jacks

  • Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
  • Jump up and raise your arms above your head, while simultaneously kicking your legs out to the sides. You should form an “x.” Without taking a break, quickly reverse the movement and repeat.
  • Want to make this move a little more challenging? Hold small free weights as you perform this move to amp up the burn.

2. 3 Minutes Jump Rope

3. 50 Butt Kicks

  • Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back.
  • Keep this posture and bend at your knee so as to kick your butt. Repeat on the other side. Increase speed for a harder workout.
  • You're used to this move by now. Why not make it a little more difficult by adding ankle weights?

Butt-Kicks_RESIZED-1

DAY SIX

The end is in sight! You're almost there! Make today your best workout yet by completing this workout set two times.

1. 12 Burpees

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
  • Bend your knees and squat down, placing your hands firmly on the floor.
  • Jump your feet back to come into a high plank with straight arms and legs.
  • Jump both feet forward to your hands.
  • From your crouching position, jump up with hands above your head. That is one rep.

2. 60 Jumping Jacks

  • Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
  • Jump up and raise your arms above your head, while simultaneously kicking your legs out to the sides. You should form an “x.” Without taking a break, quickly reverse the movement and repeat.
  • By now you should definitely add some light free weights to the mix. Hold them in your hands as you perform the move!

3. 18 Jump Squats

  • To perform this plyometric exercise, first stand with the feet slightly outside the shoulders (wherever your squat stance is) and drop the hips backward and down. Send the arms straight out in front of you to help the chest stay lifted. Double check your knee position – make sure they’re staying behind your toes.
  • Push through your heels to drive out of the squat. Roll through the foot to lift into your jump, bringing the arms overhead to help propel you upward. Land softly and quietly with bent knees. If you can go right back into your squat, do it! Otherwise, take the soft-knee landing and reset for the next squat.

Jump Squats

DAY SEVEN

You made it to the final day of the fitness challenge, but will you make it through today's workout? You'll be sweating by the time you finish this workout, but don't be lazy on your last day! If you're not crunched for time, try to complete these workouts for a second round.

1. 60 High Knees

  • Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back. Place your hands out at hip height to help gauge your performance. Keep this posture and raise one knee up to the hips or higher, keeping the other leg bent and ready to follow. Quickly alternate knees, leaning back with a strong core to help drive them toward the chest. Repeat for allotted time.

2. 15 Burpees

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
  • Bend your knees and squat down, placing your hands firmly on the floor.
  • Jump your feet back to come into a high plank with straight arms and legs.
  • Jump both feet forward to your hands.
  • From your crouching position, jump up with hands above your head. That is one rep.

3. 60 Butt Kicks

  • Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back.
  • Keep this posture and bend at your knee so as to kick your butt. Repeat on the other side. Increase speed for a harder workout.
  • You'll want to add ankle weights to this move. It's your last day. What do you have to lose?

Butt-Kicks_RESIZED-1

You made it! How does it feel? If you paired this week's workouts with healthy meals, then you might even find a little extra space in your jeans. After all, incorporating cardio into your everyday schedule will do wonders for your body, no matter your age or size.