When we think of workouts, what do you think of first? Some people envision a lot of heavy weightlifting. These days, plyometrics and Calisthenics workouts are super popular. There are many types of workouts that focus on strength training for toning and other goals. But the one consistent workout that keeps our hearts healthy, tests our endurance and improves our stamina is consistent cardio. Some hate it, some love it.
Cardio focuses on exercises performed at a target heart rate. The heart rate depends on your age and weight. The more you exercise at the target heart rate, the more fat you’ll end up burning. Cardio helps burn calories, helps speed up our metabolism and improves our body mass index (BMI). Doing cardiovascular workouts helps us maintain a healthy weight, controls blood pressure and strengthens the immune system. For many people, cardio is also a great way to shed extra fat and burn excess carbs. Here are 5 super effective cardio workouts that help burn the fat and will have you melting it right off. Grab your favorite pair of leggings and printed sports bra so you’re super comfortable, and get moving!
It seemed so easy when we were kids, didn’t it? Nowadays, try jumping rope for just 30 seconds and you’ll see just how challenging this kind of workout really is. Believe it or not, jumping rope actually burns about 1,300 calories an hour! It elevates your heart rate and improves your cognitive and coordination function. Do 3-4 sets of 1-2 minutes each with 30 second rest intervals in between for a solid workout. You’ll be surprised at how much sweat you’ll work up just with this workout alone. Music always helps! There’s a reason some elite athletes, like boxers, use this specific workout in their routines. It’s intense and it works!
These are killer! This workout combines not one, not two, but three different movements into one. Burpees are a squat, a jump, and when you come down, you get into a plank position and do a pushup. From the pushup, you get back into a squat, do another jump and come back down and repeat. This is an intense overall body workout that targets your core, your legs, glutes, chest and arms. A great goal is to do 10 repetitions over the course of 30 seconds, then take 30 seconds to rest. Do this for 3-5 minutes.
Boxing is no joke. It is a serious calorie burner that is highly efficient at burning fat. The high-intensity nature of a boxing workout burns fat, specifically around the waist, very quickly. You’ll also feel the effects of it on your legs and arms, thanks to the proper boxing stance and the punches you throw. Many cardio boxing classes and regimens also include weights in your hand which will help burn fat in the arms and back as well as strengthen the muscles and give you an overall more toned look.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This focuses on bursts of high intensity movements followed by brief rest periods in between. During the bursts of exercise, the target is to push as hard as you can so as to get your heart rate up to a maximum level. Even if the workout is a 7-10 minute workout, you should be out of breath by the end of it, so that means each movement should be performed at a maximum level. Some examples of HIIT workouts include jumping jacks, box jumps, burpees, squat jumps, sprints, high knees, rock climbers, kettlebell swings and many more.
There’s a reason everyone in the Tour de France looks so fit. Cycling is a notoriously intense exercise that leaves you drenched in sweat. It’s a quick way to get your heart rate up and allows you to include resistance that also pushes your muscles to get stronger and burn fat. It’s effects are most directly felt in your thigh and glute muscles, but the amount of cardio involved helps you lose weight all over your body. A steady, moderate pace allows you to burn about 300 calories in 60 minutes, but you can burn more if you increase the intensity. According to the Harvard Health Letter, a 155-pound person can burn up to 298 calories in just 30 minutes if they pedal at a 12-to-13.9 mile-per-hour pace. Including HIIT helps add more intensity. This will add short bursts of intense exercise, alternating with intervals of low-intensity exercise. Here’s one way of adding HIIT to a cycling workout:
1. Cycle as fast as you can with high resistance for 30 to 60 seconds.
2. Then, do 2 to 3 minutes of easy cycling with low resistance.
3. Repeat for the next 20 to 30 minutes.