Cardio Confessions of a Strength Training Coach

I’ll admit it: when Remi and I decided to begin a “Summer Cardio” program, I was flustered. I became even more flummoxed when I realized I was the one who would teach it!

If you’ve ever read my blogs, you know I am a humongous advocate of strength training. I mean HUGE. A former marathon runner, a reformed “chronic” cardio junkie, I was tasked to develop a new and innovative way to teach a CARDIO class.

Some background. Strength training: good for the brain, amazing for longevity, builds muscle, burns fat, brings tons of oxygen to the blood stream, yada yada yada. You’ve heard me. And, let me be clear, I still am a fierce strength training advocate. I’ve seen the greatest change in my own physique from focused strength training for sure…

What I also am, though, is a fit 51 year old who’s tried almost everything. When Charles Staley, a highly regarded coach in Arizona, talked me off the “running cliff” more than a dozen years ago, it blew me away. He told me I would burn more fat with focused strength training. And, the better you get, he said, the more your heart rate will elevate. Yep, he was right.

How could I keep my speed, burn fat, keep building every muscle I could muster and frankly have the arms I so craved back then?

Strength training….but strength training with focus. Strength training where you master movements. Strength training where you push yourself to an uncomfortable place and get your heart rate up for intervals and/or repetitions.

I learned how to do those things: build muscle (more important now at 51), keep my muscle (my new found passion at 51), and rev up my heart rate as a result of perfecting easy-to-complete and more challenging movements. Strength training where you push yourself into discomfort yet at the end know you’ve had an amazing workout. Strength training where I complete the perfect posture I’ve so worked hard to build.

You try a goal of 10 chin ups? Think your heart rate will elevate? Well, mine did in every single training session. It took me six months. Got ’em! Now working on 20!

Back to Summer Cardio at FOR. We’ve had a sell-out crowd. People reaching massive stretch goals like 10 push ups, battling ropes for 25-30 seconds for at least four rounds, and really, simply having fun! What could be better!?

This is what we offer:

  • A weekly theme: Make it look easy, learn how to jump like an athlete, ropes, and other cool ideas we will unveil when you register!
  • Access to our library of Flows and Workouts
  • Cardio movements you’ve likely never heard of, tried, or done the way we teach them
  • Heart rate elevating and maintaining
  • A FOR “Fit for Life” summer tank top
  • An informed education on the latest diet and fitness fads and trends
  • Turning CARDIO and workouts into PLAY!

Where else do you find a fitness class, an education on the latest diets and fitness fads, and learn new ways to approach your exercise, all in five weeks?

Don’t miss out this time around. Our next round starts July 2 and lasts for five weeks. We’re offering 4- or 5-week packages and drop in rates, as well.

Click here to sign up today!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 1,500 clients, 25 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now-more-than-ever passionate about helping others view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty workout weeks to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Now, Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down”, a healthy mix of strength and metabolix work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength. Adrien believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and our health and that change, or improvement, is always within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help Alexandrians learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness and listening to clients’ success stories and bragging about her twin 12 year old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Fitness on the Run is Fitness for Life. Combining a focus on strong bodies and strong minds with a robust wellness education program and unparalleled personalized attention, we provide fitness for health, longevity and functionality.

Fitness on the Run
210 N Lee St.,
Alexandria, VA 22314

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