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HEALTH & FITNESS – The best types of weight loss cardio workouts


If you’re like most men, you’re using exercise to help you stay slim and show off the muscle gains you get from hitting the weights, defined as “the normal workout routine.”

But when it comes to which type of exercise is better to burn fat, you have to consider which sort of lean body you prefer. “When you practice like a distance runner, you’ll get the physique of a distance runner: a compact mass, really slim with plenty of miles done at relatively slower paces,” says Chris Ryan, C.S.C.S., a physical trainer and Chris Ryan Fitness director. “When you practice like a sprinter — short, high-intensity workouts — you’re going to get the body of a sprinter with muscle growth and fat loss.” That’s something we can all rely on: energy is key. As the pressure decreases, it burns more calories. That’s why exercises with high-intensity bursts are a great choice to shred when retaining (or even gaining) muscle.

Here are the top exercise forms accepted by experts to help you lose weight more easily and show results earlier:

1. Stair Climber

A stair climber provides another common way to burn fat and calories but for a 180-lb only about 500-600 calories. A man at a slow pace. “Climbing stairs require far more muscles than just walking because of the higher leg raise required, reinforcing the legs in a practical fashion,” says Adams. The main drawback: Stair climbers can put a lot of weight and pressure on your joints, so people with bad knees can have a hard time.

The best way to burn fat on a stair climber: “Start with a one-or two-minute’ active recovery,’ like a farmer holding medium-weight kettlebells or dumbbells to combine upper body and core strength, adding 90 percent or more energy on the stair climber for 30 seconds,” says Ryan. “Doing this workout 10-15 rounds will spice up your workout way beyond the normal range of burned calories.” 

2. Kettlebells

While a kettlebell workout is not a cardio-only activity legally, the calorie-burning benefits are too high to keep away from this category. “Working in Kettlebell combines the best of both worlds: strength training and cardio,” Adams says. “However, a recent study on the calorie-burning impact of this form of exercise places it at about 20 calories per minute.” This number not only takes into account the aerobic calorie expenditure but also the anaerobic calories burned. Very few muscle building aerobic exercises — this is one of the examples. In just 30 minutes, you can expect to burn about 400-600 calories, says Adams.

The best way to do it: odds are the kettlebell isn’t strong enough if you can do a similar exercise for 40-50 reps. “Don’t go too low and don’t even go too hard,” he notes. “Some of the best ways to do a kettlebell workout to optimize calorie loss is to do a 30-40 second movement, stop for 20-30 seconds, and replicate the movement or loop through many steps.” Set the timer for 30 minutes and see how many circles you can get.

3. Jumping Rope

There’s a reason why the jumping rope is a key element in the training regime of a boxer: it’s inexpensive, simple to do, improves foot speed, and consumes a lot of calories. Consider your favorite boxers, wrestlers, and fighters — all of them jumping rope. “Jumping rope not only improves your footwork, arm power, and agility but also simulates sprinting, helping you to lose up to 500 calories in just 30 minutes,” says Ben Boudro, C.S.C.S., owner of Xceleration Fitness in Auburn Hills, MI.

The best way to burn fat with a jump rope: While very few people will jump rope straight for 30 minutes, the best way to keep you moving is to do fast and slow hop bursts. Is it not possible to do that very well? Jump for one minute as hard as you can, then sit for 20-30 seconds. Continue until you have done it. If you’re a frequent traveler, for a great workout, throw a jump rope into your suitcase without ever having to leave the hotel room.

4. Moving at a slow, moderate pace is a good way to burn fat and calories, but it is not the most efficient way to build or even sustain muscle.

“A 180-lb by the numbers. Approximately 940 calories can be burned in an hour while running an 8.5-minute-per-mile pace— or 7 mph on the treadmill for an hour. “This would be a nice, long run to do every couple of weeks to maintain your aerobic capacity, but it involves a lot of time and effort.” The disadvantages: running at this pace can also break down your muscles and subject your body to a lot of pounding. “If you’re looking to add trails or softer surfaces than cement and blacktop, in the long run, every once in a while, by all means, do so,” he says.

On a long run, the best way to burn fat: if you’re running on a treadmill, adjust the tilt to 2-3 percent to imitate running outdoors, Adams says. “Running burns more calories and may even be better on the feet.” When running sounds dull to you, try different suburban paths or join a local running club. Running with a friend or party will make it much easier for the miles to go.

5. Elliptical

These devices were initially designed to minimize knee and hip effects but still make for a perfect workout. “The calorie-burning benefit is not as powerful as other exercise devices, such as treadmills and stairmasters, because the influence is quite small,” says Roger Adams, Ph.D., a fitness and weight loss specialist. “The elliptical bike, though, can be a perfect way to burn calories without damaging the knees,” while the scale is 180-lb. Man can only burn approximately 500-600 calories per hour if he moves at a pace above normal, you can get even more out of it by swapping power, rpm, and resistance.

On an elliptical, the best way to burn fat: add a strong incline to stimulate more muscles in the legs, particularly your glutes. “Without the impact, this motion can simulate stair-climbing,” says Adams. “Lower the slope and raise the tension and you have a sensation like cross-country skiing in your exercise that really stimulates the quads.” Do not grab on to the handles or rails too closely as this can decrease the strength and contribute to discomfort in the shoulder or wrist.

6. Swimming

Swimming is a total-body workout that begins the second time you start to tread water. “You’re fighting gravity basically, and your muscles are working very hard to keep you afloat without fracturing until you’re out of the sea,” says Boudro. “In addition, you’re going to lose 14 calories with just one minute of quick swimming.” Note the stroke style makes a difference, Adams says. “A move in the breast consumes fewer calories than the butterfly, so be sure to add different strokes into your routine.” The easiest way to burn fat when swimming is by actually treading water. You can do a couple of loops, then have a period of water-tracking, then repeat. “If you can swim at a high level, then run for as long as possible as quickly as you can,” says Adams. “If you’re not such a strong swimmer, then swim bursts: swim as fast as you can down the length of the pool and back, then sprint more gradually over the same span.” Repeat such cycles for the remainder of your exercise.

7. Sprinting

Sprints outdoors, on a treadmill, or even upstairs or bleachers are great in the least amount of time to burn the most calories. Any gear is really required and just about anywhere you can do these workouts. “Sprinting is simple and it burns huge amounts of calories— it tops the list when looking to shed weight,” Adams says. “While steady-state running or jogging consumes a lot of calories, it’s going to really pay off to improve the speed and intensity.” No muscle leaves sprinting unscathed, says Fitzpatrick. “If your target is Six Pack Park, go on with your sprints at full steam.” The best way to burn fat is sprinting: if you’re on a circuit outdoors, consider sprinting a loop and then jogging a mile. 

Continue to repeat this as much as you can. Do an all-out run for 20-30 seconds if you’re on a treadmill, then slow down the belt and stroll for a minute or two before you return. At a venue or stairway flight? Run as fast as you can up to the top, then sprint or go down. “Using stairs or bleachers is never a good idea, so use the downward part for your productive rest periods,” Adams says. “Please raise those knees high to get some great action from your glutes and quickly build sprinter strength.”

8. Cycling

 Stationary bikes are a major feature of most gyms, but most people don’t wait in line to use them: “You have to be willing to go at an intense rate,” says Adams — so no pedaling while scrolling through your smartphone. “The maximum of 180-lb in rigorous indoor cycling or spin class. One will consume about 1,150 calories per hour, while a more modest run can burn just half the volume at about 675 calories per hour. “How to lose fat with cycling: performing cycles on a stationary bike is a perfect way to maximize the calorie loss in a minimum of time. “Keep the intensity really high at the intervals for a few minutes, then slow down for a minute or so, repeating these intervals continuously for as long as you can,” suggests Adams.

9. High-intensity training interval HIIT offers you a full workout when consuming a lot of fat and calories. “HIIT workouts for a 180-lb man can vary considerably, from 500 calories per hour to 1500-plus calories per hour,” says Ryan. “HIIT workouts are fantastic because of the strength of each activity as well as the variety in movements and reps.” Mix every bodyweight movement with a weighted movement and a typical fitness dimension and you have the perfect recipe for an incredible fat burner.

The best way to do it: use weights at the local gym and search into Tabata, HIIT, high-impact exercise, and intensive interval training. Any fitness center or class? To get shaved, try out these 10 HIIT exercises. To really optimize your energies, make sure to keep the rest periods to a minimum.

10. Rowing

Look at the body of any college rower and you will definitely admire their muscular, v-cut head. “Rowing makes the list because it’s a great way to relatively low tension on your joints and ligaments and combine the upper and lower body,” Ryan says. “It’s also a perfect way to work the rear cord.” At a moderate pace on the rowing machine, a 180-lb man will burn more than 800 calories per hour, but raising the strength with short sprints would easily get that figure up above 1,000 calories per hour.

On a rower, the best way to burn calories is to “keep your chest up and use your whole body when rowing,” says Boudro. “But don’t let your arms do all the work — try to use your legs to get the movement going.” His go-to rowing workout: set a clock for 20 minutes, row 250 meters as quickly as possible, rest for one minute, then repeat for 20 minutes.


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