What is the best cardio for weight loss you can do when you want to burn fat and lose weight as fast as possible?
Is it hours of daily powerwalks, running, or more fast-paced HIIT workouts you can do in less than 25 minutes?
I can imagine you must have a lot of questions regarding the best cardio for weight loss, especially if you are just starting out!
No one wants to waste their time doing something that doesn’t give any results. It is never fun when it comes to doing strenuous cardio routines for then to find out that there are not giving you any results.
With this article, I am going to make it easier for you. You will learn what type of cardio is best for weight loss and exactly why.
Different Types Of Cardio To Help You Lose Weight
Remember, doing a little cardio is better than no cardio at all!
When starting out, it is important you find a way of doing cardio that you like. If you do something you hate doing or somehow hurt your ankles or knees, you will lose motivation and stop doing it.
Take a closer look at our selection below and get inspired.
Powerwalking might not be as effective when it comes to burning calories. But having the social element by walking with others can be a great motivation.
If you keep a pace of 4.5 mph, you should be able to burn around 444 calories in an hour, it still not that bad.
It is recommended to combine your powerwalking with an exercise routine, then walking for weight loss can become quite effective.
Personally, I find cycling in a gym rather boring so I highly recommend you to do it outside in nature.
Cycling can be a great way of burning calories especially if you are going uphill or is biking in a forest or similar.
One big downside of cycling can be the price you will have to pay for getting started.
Fast pace cycling at 20 mph or more can give you a fat burn of up to 700 calories in just 30 minutes.
Keep in mind, a lifting weight routine is highly recommended to train your upper body.
The good thing about ellipticals is that you can push yourself with a hard workout and spare your knees and joints.
You can also use them for interval training, by temporary increasing incline speed.
Compared to running and using the treadmill, stair masters and similar, the elliptical is not as effective. But you can still get a good fat burn off around 400 calories for 30 minutes.
When doing the elliptical, make sure not to hang on the machine or using your arms as support. It will decrease the effectiveness of the machine.
Swimming is a top favorite among many because it doesn’t put any pressure on your joints. On top of that, you are exercising your whole body while swimming.
Crawl swimming in a lap pool can help you burn as much as 488 calories in 30-minutes.
Good old fashioned jump rope can help you burn as much as 500 calories in 30 minutes. For some people, it will take a little learning curve.
If you are dealing with some knee pain or arthritis, jump rope may not be the best choice.
Rowing can be a very great cardio exercise because you are also training your back and upper body. It is an exercise where you can burn up to 800 calories in an hour, even more, if you squeeze in some high-intensity intervals.
Alternatively, you can kayak or row outside, which can be a very nice way of doing cardio.
If you want to improve your balance you can also decide to paddleboard, where you are standing paddling on a surfboard.
Running can be great both outside and on a treadmill. It is also a great way to clear your thoughts at the same time. Or if you are up for some effective morning cardio.
However, one downfall of running is that it doesn’t activate muscles on your upper body. To get the best results you should combine running with a weight lifting routine.
If your weight around 185 lbs, running at a speed of 7.5 mph can make you burn as much as 555 calories in 30 minutes.
If you decide to sprint as your preferred cardio workouts, you are basically doing a HIIT workout. Do a 30 second to a 1-minute sprint followed up by a 15 to 30 second period of rest. You can do it both outside or on a treadmill.
It is recommended to follow a strength training routine at the same time.
Interval training can be performed in many different ways, with our without using any equipment. It can be adapted to your fitness levels, and whether you want to improve lean muscles, cardio or both.
The difference between interval training and a HIIT routine, which we will discuss next, is that with a HIIT workout, you are supposed to do an all-out effort in each of your intervals.
Doing a regular interval workout going all-out isn’t required, you can stick to a moderate level if you want.
HIIT Workouts – The Best Cardio For Weight Loss?
Besides running, HIIT workouts are among the most popular type of cardio workouts you do can.
You can do them everywhere and it doesn’t have to cost you anything except for a pair of shoes and some gym clothes.
On top of that, you can do your HIIT routine in many different ways, just using your body, with or without weights.
You can decide to pay particular attention to parts of your body giving your butt, stomach or legs an extra good workout or just focusing on improving your cardio.
Another great benefit of HIIT is that you will get something out of it no matter how much time you have available for your workout.
HIIT workouts give you the freedom to combine and build the perfect workout that will suit your needs and fitness level.
Your First HIIT Workout
Do you want to get started doing your first HIIT workout?
Check out this 25-minute workout video and see how a HIIT workout can be performed. You are welcome to join if you want.
Credits: Fitness Blender
Which One Is The Best Cardio For Weight Loss?
There is no doubt that HIIT workouts are among the best type of cardio workouts you can do for several reasons.
First, you can make them the way you want. They are not so monotone to perform, and finally, you can get some very good results pretty fast.
Running may make you burn more calories hourly, but you are not using your upper body a lot, as you do doing a HIIT workout.
But this is not all, there are a couple more benefits and consideration doing HIIT workouts as your preferred cardio routine. One very important one to discuss is your so-called EPOC.
What Is EPOC And Is It Important When It Comes To Best Cardio For Weight Loss?
EPOC stands for Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, but it is way easier just to call it for your afterburn.
It is a measurement of the increased rate of oxygen you are spending after a workout session. It is “oxygen debt”, the amount of oxygen you owe to your body so it can recoup itself.
- Muscle recovery and growth
- Getting rid of lactic acid
- Restore your levels of anaerobic energy within your muscles
- Replenishment of oxygen, creatine levels, and ATP
The good thing about this afterburn is that it requires energy from your part to pay your oxygen debt to your body.
It means besides the calories you have been burning doing your cardio, you can expect extra calories to be burned. The afterburn can last for a period of up to 72 hours after you finished your activity.
What You Should Know About Your Afterburn (EPOC)
Workouts with the maximum afterburn have been highly marketed by fitness gurus, and trainers the recent years. It may also be some of the reasons why HIIT workouts and interval training are among the most popular ways of doing cardio. The users simply believe that they will burn more calories after their workouts from their afterburn.
But the truth about the afterburn is that it will only give an extra calorie burn of between 6% and 15% depending on the cardio workout. Most of these extra calories are being burned within 24-hours and not 72.
As a general rule, the more strenuous your cardio workout has been, the higher the afterburn percentage you will have. Because HIIT workouts are harder than for example powerwalking, your afterburn percentage will be closer to 15%.
So if you been burning 300 calories on a 20 minute HIIT routine the extra calories you will be burning will around 45. It is a total of 345 calories.
As a comparison, a one-hour powerwalk with a speed of 4.5 mph will burn around 444 lbs. It is if you weigh around 185 lbs.
In this case, your afterburn will be closer to 6% and around 26 calories extra with a total of 470 calories.
The Other Benefits Of Your HIIT Workouts
Instead of being too focused on your afterburn and the extra calories you may burn during your rest periods, I highly encourage you to take a closer look at some of the other benefits. Many of these can lead to an additional fat burn indirectly that will be greater than doing a low-intensity powerwalk.
Increased HGH Production
In one study published by the Journal of Sports Sciences, a 30-second sprint on a stationary bike resulted in a 450% increase of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) production.
An increased HGH production can lead to a significant fat burn and maintain lean muscle mass.
Make Your Heart Stronger
By keep pushing your anaerobic, aerobic levels, and the pump of your heart, you will keep making it stronger and lengthen your endurance levels.
Easier To Preserve Lean Muscles
Muscle loss can be difficult to avoid when you are on a diet. And the truth is that you want to preserve as much muscle as possible because they help you burn fat.
Doing HIIT routines makes it easier to maintain lean muscles compared to doing a powerwalk or maintaining a steady pace on a treadmill.
If you are up for it, you can actually use your HIIT routine to help you build lean muscles as well. Do some circuit training, cross fitness or similar to do cardio and lift weights at the same time.
Increase Your Metabolism
You will improve your metabolism as a result of increased HGH production, a stronger heart and having more lean muscles.
Keep in mind, a higher metabolism means a greater calorie burn. It means you have to worry less about what you are eating daily.
Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity
Improve your insulin sensitivity means avoid insulin resistance that can lead to high blood sugar levels that can cause Diabetes type 2.
According to this study, HIIT workouts will improve your insulin sensitivity. 
Conclusion On Best Cardio For Weight Loss
Personally, I believe the HIIT is among the very best cardio you can do for weight loss.
It is flexible, adaptable, give you fast results, and can be a lot of fun to do.
But this is not about what I like or believe can burn the most calories. It is about you and what you will like to do when it comes to fat burn and cardio.
It is fine if you can see yourself doing a HIIT workout where you get your heart rate up for 25 minutes.
Also, it is totally fine if you prefer a power walk for an hour or so. Quality time you can spend on clearing your mind or having a conversation with a friend.
The best cardio for weight loss is the one that you like to do the most.
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