This week during the #BOTSQUAD Fitness Challenge, we asked our recruits to find a new way to get their blood pumping. Cardio is important for any fitness routing. Here are Stephanie Counts’ observations.

Speed. I like speed. I’ve been told on many occasions that I work out like my clothes are on fire. AMRAPs (As Many Reps As Possible) are my very favorite workouts because I can go 900mph and keep tabs on how many reps I have on my fellow gym rats. Nothing pleases me more than getting in more reps than anyone else, or finishing a timed workout before everyone else. Ridiculous, I know.

Getting back to my exercise routine after a long pregnancy break has slowed me down considerably. It can be pretty frustrating for me because my lungs have been giving out on me before my muscles do.

My first ride post-partum was about three weeks after the baby was born. I felt great during the ride and I trotted and cantered around in full dressage-work mode for about 25 minutes before I took a walk break. I was quite pleased with myself and my super-human ability to bounce back from my break until about five walk strides into my walk break when the high-pitch ringing started in my ears, I started seeing black spots, and the ground started spinning. Apparently I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was and ended up sitting on the ground for at least 15 minutes just praying that I wouldn’t pass out. I’ve been more careful since then and I’ve gotten a lot stronger but I’ve made it my mission to get my lungs and cardio fitness back up to speed ASAP.

This morning, I did my first cardio workout at Crossfit and it really felt great! We did a lot of core work first and then did a 20 minute AMRAP of 400 meter run followed by 50 double unders (jump rope) and 25 kettle bell swings. I ended up 4 KB swings away from finishing my fourth round which means that I ran a mile with nary a walk break and did a heck of a lot of jumping rope which, if you weren’t sure, is real cardio itself!

As exhausting as the morning was, I left feeling empowered and excited. It feels so good to push yourself and know that you’re getting faster and stronger! I’ll be running or doing the elliptical on my non-Crossfit days and will continue to go to one cardio Crossfit per week to compliment the strength days the other two days.

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