Test Your Cardio IQ

In General by Adam Friedman

When doing personal training in Santa Monica, I see many people doing tons of cardio without really understanding the function and potential of cardiovascular exercise. I often hear, “I do cardio so I can eat whatever I want,” or “My daily run on the beach helps to keep me sane.” But most of the people who say these things are at a fitness plateau, devoting lots of time to a cardio routine that yields little results.

The cardiovascular system, like our muscular system, grows stronger when trained intensely with variation. A low-intensity cardio routine without variation will lead you to plateau.

Outdoor cardio like running challenges your system and helps you avoid plateaus

There are many reasons to avoid the dreaded plateau and increase your cardiovascular health. With a stronger cardiovascular system, your body will utilize oxygen and remove metabolic waste more efficiently, and you’ll have more energy throughout the day. That extra energy helps to combat sugar cravings, make you more productive and mentally focused at work, and increases feelings of personal well-being, which benefits your relationships with family and friends.

Yes, proper cardio training can do all that. So don’t you want to be sure that you’re doing it right? Take this quick quiz to find out what your cardio IQ is, and if you need to change up your workout to see better results.

What’s Your Cardio IQ?

1. Do you do the same cardio routine every time you work out? Give yourself 2 points if you said “No”, and 0 points if you said “Yes”.

2. Is at least half of your cardio time spent outdoors, doing an activity like running, biking, hiking, etc? Give yourself 0 points if you said “No”, and 2 points if you said “Yes”. If all of your cardio is done outdoors, give yourself 1 additional point.

3. Do you incorporate interval training into your cardio sessions? Give yourself 0 points if you said “No”, and 2 points if you said “Yes”. If you regularly increase the intensity of your interval training, give yourself an additional 2 points.

4. Do you read magazines or hold the handrails on cardio machines at the gym? Give yourself 1 point if you said “No”, and 0 points if you said “Yes”.


  • 10 points:  Cardio Genius — You push yourself to achieve ultimate cardiovascular health. Great job!
  • 7-9 points: Excellent EffortYour cardio training is going well, but you could push yourself even more. Try keeping a journal of your cardio training stats so you can regularly increase the intensity of your workouts and see even better results.
  • 4-6 points: Questionable Conditioning Your cardio routine needs a boost! Try something new for your next workout, and make sure to always vary your cardio training and increase the intensity with each workout.
  • 0-3 points: Cardio Crisis It’s time to rescue your routine. Re-read this article and start incorporating some of our tips. And if you need support, remember that the Advanced Athletics team is here to help! Contact us for one-on-one support and training.