the mountain cardio workout

Posted: November 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Last night I shared some pregnancy workout modifications that work well for me. Tonight, I want to give an example cardio workout I have been enjoying within those modifications. Just because I can’t run, do HIIT intervals, or go full speed ahead doesn’t mean my workouts aren’t effective.

For tonight’s workout, I increased my incline (for treadmill) or resistance (for elliptical) by 1 level each minute until reaching the level I determined as my “peak”. Then, I did the reverse and decreased 1 level each minute. I followed this pattern for 15 minutes on both the elliptical and treadmill.

To more clearly explain, look at the table below. Clearly, after that description, I’m a visual person when it comes to things like this.

Mins Elliptical (Resistance Level) Treadmill (Incline %)
0-1 5 3.0
1-2 6 4.0
2-3 7 5.0
3-4 8 6.0
4-5 9 7.0
5-6 10 8.0
6-7 11 9.0
7-8 12 10.0
8-9 11 9.0
9-10 10 8.0
10-11 9 7.0
11-12 8 6.0
12-13 7 5.0
13-14 6 4.0
14-15 5 3.0

And lucky for you, you can easily modify the following cardio workout for your current level of fitness – start at a higher incline/resistance, use a quicker speed, go longer, set your “peak” at a higher resistance/incline etc. I finished off with 15 easy minutes of a cool down and stretch. It’s been much harder doing yoga classes with the belly so I just focus on stretching out my body well after each workout. Flexibility is important!

During this workout I realized that I have grown accustomed to working out in the afternoon much easier than I expected. I love having the extra time to get things done during the day and I seem to have more energy in the afternoon. Perhaps because I’m excited to get out for some “me time”. 😉 I have noticed one downfall to going at a later time, however – the crowds. The actual number of people don’t bother me as much as the increase in gym pet peeves. I have no doubt I will still manage my workouts fine, even in a busier environment. Will I handle the annoyances as well, though?

I keep a pretty level head most of the time, despite what Peter may say. The gym, however, can get my blood boiling. Certain things drive me up the wall. Like men who feel the need to grunt loudly. People who stand around and talk instead of using the equipment they are on. When I go to a bench or machine to find it covered in sweat. Lately I have witnessed something that irks me more than all of that. Crazy fitness schemes that could really hurt someone and have no reasoning to using them whatsoever!


A particular chick at our gym does these insane stunts on the treadmill day after day after day. I give this lady props for her conditioning and dedication to fitness. She also seems like a really nice person. Yet, she sets such a terrible example!! She looks so great that I could see people mimicking her moves and ending up greatly wounded…if she doesn’t end up injured herself first. Here are just a few of the crazies I see her doing all on a moving treadmill:

  • crab walks on a high incline completely on the treadmill
  • pop lunges/squats where she jumps onto the side rails and then into a jump/squat on the treadmill
  • mountain climbers – she has her hands on the floor to put her in pushup position and then her legs walking on the treadmill behind her
  • side shuffles with a jump and turn in the middle at a pretty quick speed
  • this little shuffle/skip/grapevine looking thing where she moves her feet in a criss cross pattern from the siderails to the treadmill and back
  • many, many more that I can’t remember or even begin to describe – think stuff like the picture below but more risky looking


What is so wrong about doing crab walks, mountain climbers, pop squats/lunges, etc on solid ground? What can the little dance thing possibly contribute to her fitness? And then she shows other women how to do this! I know ranting is not an attractive quality, but come ON!

Just because something looks insane, crazy, and over the top does NOT mean its a magical workout to give you great results. Yes, it is good to challenge our bodies in new ways, but the basics still apply. The basics WORK! They have worked for years and will continue to work for years to come. I get so frustrated seeing people do things that are absolutely not necessary and could prevent someone from actually learning about quality, safe, effective workout techniques. I will now step off my soap box.

  • What things irk you at the gym or when working out?
  • What is the craziest fitness thing you have ever witnessed someone doing? I think I would rather see someone use the Shake Weight than her stunts. Gah!


47 Comments to “the mountain cardio workout”
  1. Wow those stunts sound super dangerous! You should sneak a video camera in the gym for us to see the craziness in action. Hehe, I kid. I think she should do those kinds of stunts on a private treadmill at home so people don’t get the wrong idea!

    There are a few things the heck out of me at my apartment complex gym: not wiping down the machine. Not turning off the individual television on the cardio machines. And dropping weights to create a clanging noise for all to hear. Ugh.

  2. Great work-out!! I get really bugged at the gym when I see people not wiping their equipment..gross. I also am bugged when I just see people there to flirt and meet the opposite sex. That picture of the guy on the exercise ball is crazy! How do people do that!

  3. emily says:

    wow….that girl is seriously gonna hurt herself if she keeps doing those crazy stunts.

    I really don’t like people that play around on the machines such teenage guys trying to be funny and run as fast as the treadmill will go or girls laughing on the treadmill trying to impress guys. Also, those people that just dont want to be there but are there because they have a class (college gym).

    I believe if you gonna go to a gym to work out….then work out…and get out! Don’t hold up other people that really want to use the machines… know what I mean????!

  4. Wow . . . thats some crazy stuff to be doing on a treadmill. You’re just asking for an accident.

    I dont belong to a gym anymore, mainly because the only one nearby is WAY too expensive, and populated almost entirely by people I went to high school with. I hate having to pretend like we ever liked each other. lol

    • Tina says:

      Oh ick. I wouldn’t want to deal with that either. High school ends after 4 years for a reason. I liked many of the people I went to school with but don’t know if I could stand having to be friendly with ones I wasn’t.

  5. What a great workout!!! I love any workout that can be modified 🙂

  6. That sounds CRAZY! Obviously the girl is comfortable doing this moves herself, but to actually show others how to do it? Yikes.

  7. Those kinds of fitness stunts are crazy! I cannot believe that!! My biggest gym pet peeve is when I see people doing things incorrectly. I wish there were a way to tell them politely the right way to do certain exercises but I just don’t think that would go over so well.

  8. I’m glad it isn’t only my gym. I agree with all of the things you said! I especially dislike the people that spend 15+ minutes just standing around talking in front of the machine I’d really like to use, or the guys we stand in front of the weight rack and grunt out their sets leaving me no way to get to the weight. Fortunately we don’t have a crazy treadmill lady, but we do have a guy I call “pounder” because he slams his feet into the treadmill making an insane amount of noise. Alright I’ll stop my rant, but know you’re not alone. (And get prepared for the New Year’s increase!)

    • Tina says:

      I get to avoid that mostly this year. I’ll be so pregnant that I’ll probably only be walking on the treadmill at that point. Then, when I get back to the gym after delivery the rush should be over. You know by mid-Feb. 😉

  9. Astrid says:

    This is why I don’t go to the gym. My biggest pet peeve is seeing women wearing full jewelry and makeup while working out. Why in the world do you want to be all made up AND sweaty?

  10. chelsey says:

    I would totally be afraid that woman would hurt herself!!!!

    I hate hearing other people’s music. Seriously, if I can hear it – your music is too loud.

  11. Ela says:

    Those stunts sound like some crazy exhibitionism. It’s embarrassing to me to think how exhibitionist we can be when we’re really out of balance (I was watching a clearly anorexic woman in a food court recently, and while I found it very triggering for myself, I also felt very sorry for her and very embarrassed on her behalf – and on my own a few years back – for what an exhibition she was making of herself!)

    I’m glad you’re doing your thing, though. I prefer working out in the pm too.


  12. omg i have so many that i did an entire post on all my peeves

    sorry for the link drop! but honestly, it IRKS me so much when i see such awful things like dripping sweat everywhere and not wiping it down to machine hogging to treating the gym like a dating venue to cell phone talkers who just never get off the phone on the gym floor..girl, i went on and on.


  13. Kirsten says:

    That sounds like pure madness. I can understand why the guy in the photo would want to do a squat on a ball though. I would love to be able to do that just for the challenge but wouldn’t do it around others who might be influenced by it.

    I hate the guys who hold their breath when lifting weights – especially the overweight, out of shape guys who look like heart attack poster children. Also dislike the guys who arch their back really high during bench press. I live in Japan and there are a lot of gym irks here. At the last gym the staff almost never corrected bad form, wouldn’t spot my husband doing bench press at a weight that was slightly to heavy for me to do it but they could have easily done it and the female staff didn’t look like they exercised (the Japanese beauty ideal excludes muscle tone). I could go on all day…

  14. Allison @ Livingoneday says:

    Ughhh I feel your frustration!!!! That is terrible! There is a woman at my gym who uses one of the mats in the stretching area to show off how she can twist herself into a legit pretzel. We know it’s all for show and can def be done in her bedroom. It drives me frigging crazy!!!

  15. Wow! That lady is just plain weird! For me, personally, a dreadmill is for running on… Tho I can’t remember the last time I stepped into a gym – I have free weights & tons of DVDs at home, and I LOVE running outdoors.

  16. Maura says:

    Irks me at the gym: watching a trainer and their client, while the trainer munches on food, or looks around absent mindedly, not paying attention. It drives me crazy and makes me feel sorry for their client that they’re not getting the attention they deserve. My trainer was the best and I guess I was spoiled, but I feel like that’s what you’re paying them for – to be right there with you and engaged!

  17. haha omg you are SO right!! i see some CRAZY things in the gym and I did see a guy doing squats on a stability ball (standing on it) the other day!! some stuff I get for balance or whatever, but some stuff is just dangerous! as a trainer, I would never make someone do mountain climbers with their feet on the t-mill! they can get the same effectivemess by doing them on th ground! if not more because they have less to pay attention to around them!

    the basics DO WORK…squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench press etc…thats how we worked out in the 1900’s and people could get ripped!! I love the compound exercise and find them absolutely the most effective!

  18. Haha, Shake Weight.

    I belong to a very small gym, so nothing really out of the ordinary or annoying happens.

    I am impressed that Treadmill Lady has that much coordination. I can barely run on the machine!

  19. oh gosh I LOVE seeing people do awkward moves at the gym, but that’s not good to be possible setting yourself and others up for injury. Otherwise it’s funny 🙂
    I hate when guys grunt or talk about how much their lifting, or don’t wipe down the machines!!

  20. lindsay says:

    wow, thats so impressive. You amaze me with your strength! It must be the hormones, hehe!

  21. Natalie says:

    My biggest gym pet peeve is when people talk or text while on the weight machines! It drives me absolutely batty!

    I used to manage a gym and this guy used to try some crazy stunts with our equipment (like walking on his hands on the treadmill and doing jump squats on a ball). Nearly every day I had to tell him to stop!

  22. Camille says:

    That treadmill picture is crazy! That seems all sorts of unsafe!

  23. Lee says:

    There is some guy at my gym that always jumps off the treadmill, with it running, takes his shoes off and does push-ups by the back of the treadmill. It drives me crazy. Why does he take his shoes off??

    • Tina says:

      But for the extra calorie burn don’t you know? Taking off and putting back on your shoes adds an extra 5.2 calories burned to the workout. 😉

  24. I saw a guy at the gym today doing something weird.
    He would hop on the treadmill and sprint for a minute, then literally JUMP off (the belt would still be moving) and then go lift weights for 2 minutes. He repeated this about 10 times.

    He was exhausted by number 3 though. I really didn’t understand why he was doing it.

    • Tina says:

      I HAVE done intervals where I jump off the belt onto the rails after a minute of sprints, but I stay on the treadmill and complete all sets of the sprints. I always hold the rails and get my balance before getting on/off though. The lady I saw doesn’t even hold on. Eep!

  25. What? Are you saying the shake weight doesn’t work? 😛

    My physical therapist wanted me to walk on the treadmill backwards (really slowly), but I was always afraid I’d fall.

  26. i definitely hate it when people set bad examples at the gym…you have to realize that people will follow suite and it’s really not necessary to do stuff that’s ridiculous!

  27. Shannon says:

    Wow that lady sounds like she’s asking for trouble. I guess all you can do is hope that she doesn’t hurt herself or anyone else with her crazy shenanigans.

    I’m a chronic ranter and love the opportunity to do do so. I go to my school gym and hate seeing people stroll in dressed as if they are going for a sunday drive and not breaking a sweat while they’re ‘working out’. There isn’t a tonne of equipment, so why take over a treadmill and spend the entire time chatting on your cell phone instead of focusing on your workout and than prevent people who really want to work out from doing so.

  28. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Reale, Tina Reale. Tina Reale said: the mountain cardio workout: Last night I shared some pregnancy workout modifications that work well for me. Ton… […]

  29. Wow! You’d think someone who works for the gym would put a stop to it. I once was on the treadmill where the guy next to me kept turning and runnign sideways. It looked dangerous, plus it was really awkward when he’d turn towards me and it felt like he was staring at me.

    • Tina says:

      Good point. That would feel awkward. Not to mention she has REALLY long hair and it seriously looks like her ponytail is going to whip someone in the face as she does her little twist jump mid side shuffle thing.

  30. That’s a crazy pic of the guy on the ball squating!

    I like your mountain workout, thanks for sharing 🙂

  31. It scares me to even run on a treadmill (I’m not very graceful)! I trip on solid flat ground, I’d break my neck! People can be so crazy sometimes. I don’t get it?

  32. I just tweeted yesterday about a lady texting while in Zumba!!!

    That really irks me… god knows I love my Iphone but for the hour that I am the gym, I am 100% dedicated and focused so that I can get the most out of workout!

  33. Jess says:

    OMG that is INSANE!! I’d want to walk right up to her to tell her just how ridiculously unsafe she is being!! Geeeez!! I seriously hate seeing people using bad form, or worse – lifting weights that are FAR too heavy for them and practically breaking their back in the process. There is just no need to show off that way, especially at the risk of serious injury. Typical meat-head style, ya know??

  34. My gym is super busy in the afternoon too – I do not like waiting around for equipment, but thats what I have to do sometimes.

    That lady sounds nuts. I would maybe do some of those things at home on a treadmill, but at the gym someone could get hurt (which brings me to my #1 pet peeve): bringing your kids to the gym. If there is a daycare, great, but if not, the kids could seriously get hurt. My current gym requires that the kids are in their daycare, but my old gym was more lenient and didn’t have that requirement. If you are working out, how can you properly watch your child to make sure he/she doesn’t pick up a dumbbell and drop it on his/her foot? Or your foot for that matter!!

  35. I’m jealous that your gym has live entertainment 😉 Besides some “workout magic tricks” that don’t really work any better than anything else, my pet peeve is when people don’t wipe down the equipment after they use it. Germs galore! That’s why I always wipe it down before and after.

    Wait, the shake weight doesn’t work?
    …Joke. 🙂

  36. Courtney F says:

    Gym peeve….When you have your headphones in and someone tries to carry on a conversation with you.

  37. Ariana says:

    I recommend The Pregnancy Fit Kit to all my clients! It’s a great way to improve the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby as well as have an easier, safer and quicker labor, delivery and recovery. Check it out at

  38. Sarah says:

    That lady sounds nutzo! It’s good that she’s working out but do a little research before creating your own workout or else you will injure yourself. I dislike super complicated moves that involve standing on a bosu ball with a band around your ankle while lifting free weights (aka lots of moves in shape or self magazine). I think the basics work well! I also hate people talking on their phone on the treadmill or elliptical. And I really dislike when there are a billion identical cardio machines open and someone gets on the one right next to me! Give me some space please!!

  39. So glad I do all my workouts at home! lol Crazy!

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