How to Build a No-Diet, Joyful Cardio Routine

Many of us conflate “cardio” with fat loss rhetoric; these body neutral cardio tips will help you build the endurance you need without the diet culture trappings.

If thinking about cardio fills you with dread, this post is for you, mama. You’re not alone! When we talk to our mama community and Member Community, cardio comes top of the list for movement styles we all love to hate.

Maybe it’s the burning legs, the breathlessness or the frenzy of it all. 🥵

Maybe it’s the fact we’ve never been given “permission” to experience cardiovascular exercise as anything but a burning, breathless frenzy.

Cardiovascular training encompasses many modes, styles and levels of intensity — but in our diet-crazed culture, the term “cardio” elicits a very narrow concept of running or jumping to near exhaustion in the pursuit of thinness.

from ourWhen we think “joyful cardio” one of our first references is our dear friend and fellow Mama Reset Trainer, Jo Gale. Jo’s flowing Pilates, yoga and – yes! – cardio classes are beloved by our Mama Reset Member Community.

With a touch of 80s aerobics nostalgia and a body-neutral, encouraging style, Jo makes us almost forget we’re doing cardio altogether. 💦 That is to say, we get all the sweat and exhilaration of cardiovascular training without any of the loaded diet-culture references or shaming.

We chatted with Jo recently about ditching the diet culture beliefs we hold around cardiovascular exercise and her best tips to R E S E T your relationship with cardio.

4 simple takeaways from our chat to inspire you this week in your cardio pursuits:

✨ Include movement you really enjoy, whether low- or high-intensity

✨ Include lower intensity cardio like walking, cycling and swimming which is still effective but usually less intimidating

✨ Acknowledge the movement you already do in your life that gets your heart rate up, like your fave strength workout or playing soccer with your kiddo

✨ Create a short, motivating playlist and set a goal of dancing, walking or running until it’s done 

Check out the video below for the full interview packed with inspiring cardio and body-acceptance gems!

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When Can I Run, Jump & Lift Weights In Postpartum?

When do you “graduate” from postpartum workouts and know you’re ready for heavy lifting, high impact and more intensity? Here’s how to know.

A quick google of the term “postpartum…”

What? don’t pretend you don’t google medical stuff, too!

A quick google of the term “postpartum” will have your head spinning.

Are you postpartum for the 6 weeks before your postpartum checkup?

Are you postpartum for the first 3 months after baby is born, aka the “fourth trimester?”

Are you postpartum for the year of infancy, about 12 months?

Or maybe you’ve encountered the #postpartumisforever trend on social media encouraging women to embrace the changes in their body, however long they may last?


When you move onto high-intensity training depends more on how you feel and less about the exact timeline since your little people were born.

Some mamas might feel ready to lift weights but not jump. Others might love running but feel back pain while attempting to lift heavy.

Understand your body is giving you feedback and use that feedback to adust intensity or exercises according to your needs that day.

Your best best? A qualified coach like our pal Reena Parekh, mama of 2 and co-creator of the Mama Reset Run Well program in our Membership.

Laura sat down for a chat with Reena about moving from mat work to barbells, jumping and running.

Learn the best way to start adding intensity and impact to your workouts, how to know when you’ve pushed too far and what “level” of core training is appropriate for you!

(Hint: when you’re ready to return to running or join that barbell class you’ll still need the core & pelvic floor training, moblility and strength work to support those new routines! Where better to get those supportive workouts than Mama Reset?)

Returning to high-intensity exercise and weightlifting in postpartum with Guest Expert Reena Parekh

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