A 30-Minute Cardio Routine for Running, Walking, or Cycling


The workout below is for Day 6 of the Good Vibes Workout, a four-week workout plan. It’s pretty great on its own, but you can also check out the full program right here or browse the calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails of these workouts, you can do that here.

Welcome to your first cardio workout as part of the Good Vibes Workout! This is also your last workout of Week 1; you’ve got a sweet, well-deserved rest day coming up tomorrow.

Because there are so many great types of cardio out there, we’ve created guidelines for this program, but you get to pick the modality. In other words, you can run, walk, cycle, use the elliptical, row, or do some combination of all of the above for each cardio routine. The point in all of these routines is simply to get moving and elevate your heart rate. Throughout today’s workout, you’ll be alternating between periods of harder work and lower-intensity recovery periods, so you’ll definitely have time to take a breather too.

To make this feel even more tailored, we’re grading these workouts based on ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), which is an excellent way for you to easily gauge how hard you’re working. RPE assigns a number from 0 to 10 based on the level of effort. One is very light effort—think: walking at a leisurely pace. And 10 is the absolute hardest you can push yourself—an all-out sprint. For today, you won’t go above an RPE 7.

The scale below is based on one from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and we’ll include it with each cardio workout for your reference:

  • RPE 0: At rest.
  • RPE 1: Very light effort. You can easily hold a conversation.
  • RPE 2–3: Your warm-ups, cooldowns, and recovery intervals. You can speak comfortably in full sentences.
  • RPE 4–5: Moderate effort. Talking in more than a sentence or two at a time is difficult.
  • RPE 6–7: High, vigorous effort. You can only speak a few words or phrases at a time—not full sentences.
  • RPE 8–9: Very hard effort. Talking is almost impossible. Maybe you can muster a breathless “yes” or “no.”
  • RPE 10: All-out, maximum effort. Talking is out of the question.

Cardio: Intro to Efforts

  • 5-minute warm-up (RPE 2–3)

Circuit 1

  • 15-second moderate intensity (RPE 4–5)
  • 45-second recovery (RPE 2-3)
  • Repeat the above 5 times total

Circuit 2

  • 30-second moderate intensity (RPE 5–6)
  • 30-second recovery (RPE 2–3)
  • Repeat the above 5 times total

Circuit 3

  • 15-second hard intensity (RPE 6–7)
  • 45-second recovery (RPE 2–3)
  • Repeat 5 times total

10-minute easy cooldown (RPE 2–3)

Total time: 30 minutes

Photographer: Katie Thompson. Hair: Jerome Cultrera for L’Atelier. Makeup: Steven Canavan for L’Atelier. Styling: Rika Watanabe. Creative Direction: Amber Venerable.

Athlete Maggi Gao wears: Top: Adidas by Stella McCartney TruePace High Support Sports Bra, $84. Bottoms: Outdoor Voices, similar styles. Shoes: Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2, $250.

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