Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.  Multitasking is awesome! That’s why I’m talking today about adding core and cardio together. You may have heard multitasking is not such a great idea because when you have many things going on at the same time, your brain cannot give each item the attention it deserves. That’s fair, for mentally strenuous tasks.   However, when you are using your core to stabilize for your cardio workout, your heart rate will go up, you will workout your core, and your upper body will get a challenge to face as well  If you have any questions about today’s blog or would like more information about how you can best combine these two options, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

When people hear “cardio” they think they have to run, sweat, jump, sweat, and do high impact.  All except sweating, isn’t true. You don’t have to do cardio that way.  The goal is to get your heart rate up. Moving down and up or movement while stabilizing can cause the heart rate to rise identically to if you were running, jumping, or biking.

As the heart rate increases, your body will change the hormone response and release fat. Remember you don’t want to do cardio for hours on end because your energy systems and you don’t burn fat the same way.  Rather, you want to do is shorter amounts of cardio. At Custom Fitness we encourage interval training or circuit training (tri or quad sets) where we get small bursts of cardio throughout the session. Of course this depends on your goal and your body.

Today I am going to show you a tri-set exercise that incorporates cardio and core for maximum calorie burning. A tri-set is where we will do 3 exercises back to back at 30 seconds each with a minimal to no break in between. This one is really good at not allowing you to take a break, but if you need to try and keep it to less than 10 seconds. At 10 seconds your heart rate will lower and it will change your physiological response to the exercises. Rules to follow when you are doing cardio:

  • Don’t go so long that your body is changing energy systems
  • Limit the impact so that your body doesn’t hurt from it
  • Make it effective and raise your heart rate

Let me show you one of my favorite tools.  These are the “discs”. This has been on of my favorite pieces of equipment since I began my career as a personal trainer in Amarillo. I love it because you don’t have to buy a piece of equipment. You can get creative as long as you are still getting the same idea.  You may notice they are not hard nor disc shape, but rather pieces of fabric.  That’s what we use at the studio, but they were replicated from a top-selling product called a disc. You use these to slide. If you are working out at home, you are probably working out on a hard surface or carpet. If you’re on a hard surface consider using something like washrags or towels. For carpet use smooth cardboard (like the front of a notebook), paper plates, or wax paper.  You can get creative, you just want to find something that will limit the friction and allow you to slide freely.

The point of the discs is to destabilize you. When you do not have adequate balance through your feet, your body is going to tap into your core for help; giving you a better workout. You can modify the following exercises by stepping without a disc or increase the intensity by using the discs. The choice is yours.

I am going to first get into the plank position. My elbows are directly under my shoulders and are on the floor.  I would rather see your hips too high than to drop them down into a sagging position to keep your back safe. Ideally your hips should be in one long line with your shoulders and your ankles. Your stomach must be tightly engaged for you to hold this position.  You can modify this set up by placing your elbows onto an elevated surface such as the bench you see behind me (1.5 – 2 feet off the ground) to give you an easier incline if need be.

First off is a snow angel. Your feet spread open and then close while you are holding your body up in a plank. Continue that for 30 seconds.

Second is a mountain climber. Your hips will elevate here since you are so low to the ground you don’t have enough space under you for your knees to go; that’s ok. Your feet come in one at a time, go back out, and switch. You can try to lower the hips while you do this exercise for 30 seconds to really work your core.

Third is a oblique knee tuck. Put your feet straight out by returning to the plank position. Knees together, tuck the feet, and slide your knees toward one shoulder. Return the legs to plank. Then swing your tucked knees to the opposite shoulder.  Again, go for 30 seconds.

Each exercise is 30 seconds and you are trying to do it all without a break in between.  If you happen to need a break, please remember to keep it to 10 seconds or less. If your goal is cardio you want to go through this tri-set quickly maintaining great form with high quality repetitions. If you were doing these for strength, you would perform them slower really focusing on tensing your muscles for proper form.


  • Downsize starts on August 28th. Enrollment is happening now. We are only accepting 20 participants for this round. If you have 20 pounds or more to lose, consider giving us a try. Every participant who loses 15 inches or more during the 6 week program will get a full (100%) refund.   Downsize will teach you about how to work out, how to achieve the goals you have in mind, and show you that eating healthy food means you can eat real food — not just meals that taste like cardboard.  If you’re curious about this or would like to start working with our team of professionals, give us a call.

As always, if you have any questions about our personal training, nutrition counseling, or group classes and programs, please contact us at: info@customfitness.biz or 806-322-3188. At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day everybody.