Want to lose a few pounds and get fit? Tired of skipping meals and counting calories? If so, it’s time to include exercise in your routine!
Weight loss isn’t all about calories in versus calories out. If it was that easy, you’d already be lean. That’s why diet alone doesn’t work.
Let’s say you start a new diet or cut back on calories. You might lose some weight in the first few weeks, but soon you’ll hit a plateau. In the worst case scenario, you’ll gain more weight than you lost.
Extreme or prolonged dieting causes muscle loss, leading to a sluggish metabolism. On top of that, your body adapts to a low-calorie intake and begins to store fat for energy. The stress hormone cortisol levels go up, which further decreases your metabolic rate.
Regular exercise can offset the side effects of dieting and speed up your progress. It lowers cortisol levels, promotes muscle growth, and keeps your body guessing. But not all workouts are created equal.
So, what are the best cardio workouts for weight loss? And how much cardio is too much? Let’s find out!
How to Design the Best Cardio Workout
Less than 20 percent of American adults get the recommended daily amounts of exercise. Only five percent work out for at least 30 minutes a day. Workload, stress, and lack of motivation are often the culprits.
Considering these facts, it’s no wonder why one-third of the U.S. population is obese. A diet rich in sugar and junk food only makes things worse. However, this doesn’t mean that starving yourself and skipping meals is the key to weight loss.
In fact, crash diets increase stress hormone levels, leading to a sluggish metabolism. Furthermore, they affect lean mass and cause your body to enter starvation mode.
Regular exercise can offset these side effects and help you get lean. It also promotes muscle growth and boosts your metabolism, making it easier to stay lean.
For best results, mix cardio workouts with strength training. Do cardio after lifting weights to maximize fat burning.
Keep your workouts short and intense. Too much exercise can be just as harmful as no exercise at all. Metabolic slowdown, fatigue, and muscle loss are just a few of the many side effects of overtraining.
The best cardio workout shouldn’t exceed 40 minutes or so. Ideally, opt for intense activities, such as HIIT and stair climbing. These exercises rev up your metabolism and increase heart rate, so you’ll keep burning calories long after leaving the gym.
What Are the Best Cardio Workouts for Fat Loss?
There is more than one way to do cardio. From jogging and swimming to bodyweight exercises, the possibilities are endless. The key is to be consistent and make lasting lifestyle changes.
Beware that exercise cannot offset the harm caused by bad eating.
If you stay active but keep binging on junk food, don’t expect results. Nutrition and training are equally important.
Ready to give it a try? Let’s take a quick look at the best cardio workouts for weight loss:
Who says jumping rope is just for kids? This fun yet challenging activity will send your heart rate through the roof and torch massive calories.
Due to its intense nature, jumping rope skyrockets your metabolism. On top of that, it builds explosive power and endurance, improves bone density, and boosts reaction time.
The best part is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. All you need is a rope and some free spice. The latest fitness ropes have built-in calorie counters and other smart features that make it easier to track your progress.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has emerged as one of the best cardio workouts – and for good reason. It’s the most effective way to burn fat and give your metabolism a boost.
With HIIT, you’ll get better results in less time. Compared to steady state cardio, it burns calories during and AFTER exercise. Plus, it doesn’t affect lean mass nor increases your cortisol levels.
Push-ups, mountain climbers, high knees, and sprinting all work great for HIIT. You can exercise anytime in the comfort of your home.
Since a typical session lasts only 10 to 15 minutes, it’s easy to squeeze a quick workout into your routine.
If you had to choose just one machine for your home gym, it should be the treadmill. It’s ideal for both steady state and high-intensity cardio, features dozens of pre-set workouts, and can be adjusted to your fitness level.
Whether you enjoy walking, running, or sprinting, treadmills are your best bet. The latest models can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, featuring web-enabled touchscreens. Read more about the latest treadmills here.
This workout method improves your endurance, keeps your heart healthy, and relieves stress. It also offers more convenient than jogging or running outside; bad weather will no longer be an issue. Parents can exercise at home without having to pay for a nanny.
Cardio Bodyweight Exercises
Some of the best cardio workouts require no equipment at all. Jumping jacks, squat jumps, step-ups, and other exercises will ignite your fat burning engine and boost your endurance.
Go online to look for inspiration. Choose three to five cardio bodyweight exercises and include them in your routine. They’re perfect for HIIT, Tabata, full body circuits, and other workouts.
For example, you can do step-ups for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then perform jumping jacks or plyo pushups for another 20 seconds. Continue for four minutes. That’s what Tabata looks like.
Get the Most Out of Your Cardio Workout
Now that you know what it takes to burn fat with cardio, try it yourself. Exercise at least three times a week to fully reap the benefits.
In addition to the best cardio workouts, give your diet a makeover. Cut back on sugar, fill up on protein, and eat healthy fats.
Beware that stress can slow down your progress and lead to weight gain. Get an anti-fatigue mat to fight stress, practice yoga, and relax after a long day. Try to catch more ZZZ’s to keep your metabolism running at its peak.
What’s your favorite cardio workout? Have you tried any of the exercises listed above? Share your experience below!