When it comes to burning fat, don’t be a one-trick pony. Broaden your cardio horizons with these get-lean approaches.
As we move into the New Year and out of holiday mode, most of us — including myself — are probably in need of a little cardio boost to bring the waist line and fitness levels back into respectable order.Cardio training is a great way to burn plenty of instant calories for a quick weight loss response and, when combined with a resistance training program, it’s a sure fire way to keep your fitness levels up and while keeping your waistline measurement down.Below are five of my favorite and most effective ways to get a great cardio workout that will not only give you amazing results but, perhaps more importantly, plenty of variety to eliminate boredom and keep you motivated to exercise.
DID YOU KNOW? The average male can easily torch 350-450 calories in only a 30-minute training session, especially when using the HIIT (high intensity interval training) protocols. HIIT also keeps metabolism elevated for 24-48 hours, an effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.
1. Indoor Cycle or Spin
You can’t beat the energy and adrenaline rush of a group cycle class, not to mention the fact that this workout is ideal for the coordination-challenged among us. Indoor cycle workouts are great because literally anyone can do them as you regulate your own intensity by the resistance you use on the bike. The other bonus of these classes is that you don’t need to think, as the instructor will design the workout for you. A variation of fast sprint intervals combined with slower strength and endurance training phases will give best results.
Potential Burn: 400-600 calories per hour + EPOC
Rowers, now de rigeur thanks to the CrossFit explosion, are perfect for a full-body cardio blast that uses both upper and lower body to power through the workout, plus you have the added benefit that the rower is a non-impact exercise. The workout options for the rower are endless and variety is essential if you want to keep challenging your body for optimal results. I recommend choosing a different training objective week to week alternating between various timeframe interval training, steady state endurance, and one-mile time trials. The rower also makes an ideal warm-up exercise before any workout.
Potential Burn: 450-600 calories per hour + EPOC
If something requiring a bit more skill is more your style then boxing could just be the thing for you. Boxing is not only an awesome calorie burner but also a great way to get out some extra aggression if the need arises. When done with a sparring partner or coach, boxing is also a great way to increase your coordination. I find that simple combinations working in three-minute rounds and then swapping with your partner work best to pack the biggest punch. Using a heavy bag if you have access to one is also a great way to incorporate some kicks, which are great for the legs and core.
Potential Burn: 750-1000 calories per hour
Plyometrics are not for the faint hearted or the beginning exerciser but definitely worth the effort. When performing plyometric exercises, attention to the landing phase is critical to eliminate excess impact on the knee joints and to ensure the workout is all muscle. Plyometric exercises are best done in short intervals of 15-30 seconds or in a Tabata-type workout. They also make an excellent superset complement in the weight room. A few box jumps after a heavy set of squats is one option for those seeking a next-level training challenge.
Of course, since plyometrics are more explosive in nature, care will need to be taken to ensure that you are properly warmed up ahead of time and that any jumps are done on safe, stable surfaces. It should also be noted that explosive energy stores are finite and cannot be done for extended periods of time. Most plyo-based workouts will be shorter in nature (20 minutes or less) but plyometric moves can be sprinkled in throughout any workout to create an uptick in intensity.
Potential Burn: Varies greatly depending on movements chosen and duration of activity
5. Cardio Circuits
Sometimes, your best option is to use several of your options – at once. I am a huge fan of cardio circuits for a few reasons. Time flies by faster and if you’re anything like me and get bored easily then this is an essential element of any workout. If you are looking for the ultimate cardio blast try this little ripper below. Complete three rounds for 15 minutes of insane cardio conditioning. Try this workout with a training buddy to add a competitive element to your shred session.
|Rower||60 seconds||High – Fast with heavy resistance|
|Boxing (heavy bag)||30 seconds||High – As many punches as possible|
|Indoor Cycle||60 seconds||High – Fast with moderate resistance|
|Repeat circuit five times total.|