For those looking to shred those extra pounds of fat and improve their heart health, cardio exercises have been the go-to choice for decades.
These calorie-blasting training sessions are not only incredibly effective but versatile, making them perfect for everyone from beginners to those deep into their training years.
In this article, we will be exploring top cardio exercises, like running and swimming, how to set up a powerful training cycle, and why you should pick cardio for burning some extra calories.
Table of Contents
- Why Choose Cardio for Calorie Burning?
- High Calorie Expenditure
- Improved Metabolism
- Heart Health
- Top Cardio Exercises for Fat Loss
- Jumping Rope
- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
- Stair Climbing
- Creating Effective Cardio Routines
- Mix It Up
- Set Realistic Goals
- Warm-Up and Cool Down
- Stay Hydrated
- The Rundown
Why Choose Cardio for Calorie Burning?
Cardio exercises help kick up your heart rate and increase how much you breath while you train. This combo breaker is a powerful formula for putting calories and the like on watch.
But WHY should you pick cardio if you are wanting to add in a bit of extra weight loss into your training? Here are a few reasons as to why cardio session can be your hidden quirk for optimized fat loss:
High Calorie Expenditure
Cardio training literally helps TORCH calories, when done right. While you are training intensely, you are going to be burning more calories. Unlike strength training which burns more calories after the session is done, cardio keeps your heart rate elevated through the whole training cycle, making it an efficient way to increase you calorie deficit.
Doing cardio sessions on the regular has also been shown to help boost your metabolism, which will let you burn more calories while you are at rest. Increasing the amount of calories consumed by your body at rest has obvious gains for helping you cut the extra off.
Another often talked about benefit, but still underutilized is that cardio helps strengthen your heart and improves the body's ability to circulate blood. This helps with nutrient distribution throughout the entire system, which can help reduce heart disease, reduce blood pressure and help lower your risk of many health issues that can arise from being inactive.
Top Cardio Exercises for Fat Loss
While almost any cardio exercise can help you with your fat loss or health goal progress, there are some that are more effective than others.
Below, we have hand picked some that we feel best utilize your time and energy, which also will fit well within your fitness routine:
Running and jogging are probably the most classic cardio training sessions that people think of when it comes to burning calories.
Running is free.99 which makes it an easy intro point to health and wellness, while also being a great way to help improve overall cardiovascular health and increase endurance.
We will mention however, that an excess of jogging/running may cause some knee or hip pain if not done correctly. We recommend working with a coach if you have any concerns so you can keep working on outrunning your demons.
If you are looking for low-impact exercises, there may not be anything more popular than a good cycling session.
It doesn't matter if you prefer to cycle in the great outdoors or sit on the stationary bikes in the gym watching movies, you will be burning a staggering amount of calories while you are riding. Pair this training with some great leg pumping bike sprints and you won't know what hit you.
While this is a bit heavier of an investment compared to running, it is one that we think is worth it.
When it comes to portable cardio that can be done virtually anywhere with a small amount of space, jump roping is an absolute BANGER.
Jumping rope is typically another popular low impact cardio session that engages your entire body, from forearms to toe tips. If you have paid attention when watching boxing movies or anime, the hero can be seen hitting the rope, because jump rope is THAT effective. It's no coincidence that when done properly, people have burned upwards of 1,000 calories an HOUR. That's just astounding when you think about it.
The other fact is that if you are someone constantly on the go, jump ropes typically don't take up that much space in your luggage, making it easy to carry around and get your sessions in on the road.
If you have a gym membership or access to a body of water, swimming may be the way to go for blasting those calories off.
Swimming is a full-body workout that helps burn calories quickly, builds lean muscles and has establishes a good breathing baseline. Another bonus for swimming is that since you are suspended in water, your joints do not take a beating on every stroke that you put it through, making it suitable for people of all fitness levels.
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
We have talked MASSIVELY about HIIT training before, because in our opinion, it provides a massive benefit for a more concentrated amount of time.
The general idea behind his that you push yourself for a set, short amount of time (anywhere between 20-60 seconds) then rest and repeat until dead! This works incredibly well when partnered with an exercise bike or sprinting, but our best weapon in this war on lungs is the jump rope!
If you feel like you haven't mastered the HIIT basics, give THIS article a quick read, you won't regret it!
For those wanting to master a different skill, hitting the stairs and skipping the elevator can be the challenge that you are looking for.
A massive advantage to stairs is that they massively engage the muscles within your legs and sets your heart (and lungs) ablaze. A lot of bodybuilders and athletes looking to literally melt away the body fat percentage use equipment like the StairMaster or StairMill for 20-40 minutes a few times a week with incredible results.
If you don't have access to either of these pieces of equipment, scoping out potential locations is a blast and will also help you get some healthy, wealthy fresh air.
Creating Effective Cardio Routines
When creating an effective cardio routine, it is important to keep a few things in mind. Consider these tips when planning your downfall:
Mix It Up
Boredom is Dr. Doom to the cardio that is Reed Richards, IE it's biggest enemy. To prevent that villain from winning it is important to mix in a variety of exercises that let you target different muscle groups and styles to keep you going.
An example of this would be going for a run on a Monday, swim on Thursday, and a gentle bike ride on Saturday. This lets you change your training style up, potentially in different locations as well, and keeps your body burning calories WELL in the long run.
Set Realistic Goals
Establishing S.M.A.R.T. goals is an underrated facet of training. In an article we recently published (look HERE) we dive deeper into this thought process, but here is a quick overview.
If you set achievable fitness and health goals that you are working towards, increasing intensity and the duration of your training sessions will have a point. This will also give you something to work towards, so that way when motivation is low, dedication can be high.
Warm-Up and Cool Down
To put the proper work in when it comes to ANY kind of training, establishing a warm-up routine and a cool-down finisher is paramount.
Creating these routines is important because it helps prevent over-usage injuries, helps build a baseline for how you are feeling through the day, and also they promote proper recovery from any activity.
Make sure that you keep your body properly hydrated during your cardio (and general) training session.
Dehydration has been known to hinder recover, impair performance and slow down your ability to burn calories. Adding a bit of electrolytes into your water and sipping throughout the day is a great way to ensure that you stay happy and healthy with your training sessions.
If you are looking to dominate your health and fitness goals, these different forms of cardio could be your key to taking it all to the next level.
Are you ready to absolutely dominate your goals? What is your favorite kind of fat burning cardio?