Best Cardio Workouts for Burning Fat

While strength training is important to boost your metabolism so you burn more calories at rest, if you want to lose weight you also need cardio.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular way to burn more fat. It’s a training method that has been effective for many people.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training alternates between high-intensity and low-intensity exercise. For example, sprinting for 30-seconds, then walking for 60-seconds is high intensity interval training. HIIT can be used both anaerobically in the gym with weights and aerobically with cardio.

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Why Is HIIT the Best Cardio to Burn Fat?

Exercise physiologists used to believe that “steady state” cardio was superior for fat loss because relatively more fat is used by the body as fuel at lower exercise intensities than at higher intensities. The “Fat Burning Zone” shown on most cardio equipment as only 60%-65% of max heart rate is really a myth and is NOT optimal for burning fat. Yes, you burn more fat relative to glycogen when going for a walk, but what we care about is total fat burn. At higher intensities, you are burning far more fat, even though the fat/glycogen ratio is lower. In addition, interval training allows you to exercise at very high intensities for a much longer period of time than steady state, so you burn more fat.

As an added bonus, there’s also an afterburn effect known as EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption). You increase your metabolism and burn more calories for up to 24 hours after interval training, whereas going for a jog burns almost NO calories after.

Here are 5 great types of cardio to help you lose weight faster and show results sooner:

  1. Running: Whether on the track or the treadmill, sprinting is one of the toughest forms of cardio. Alternate sprinting with jogging or walking.
  2. Jumping: Jumping is an effective way to raise your heart rate, and it doesn’t take much space or gear. Use a jump rope, or jump on and off a box or step.
  3. Swimming: If you tend to get hot working out, swimming is a great alternative. It also works your whole body and is low-impact.
  4. Cycling: You can get a great workout on either a stationary, recumbent, or “real” bicycle. Try hill repeats for your intervals: make the gear harder and stand up out of the saddle (just not on a recumbent).
  5. Elliptical Machine: Like swimming, the elliptical is another great form of low-impact cardio. It’s easy on your joints, but it’s a hard workout.

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