These Are The Best Fat-Burning Cardio Workouts For Men
Here’s what I can tell you about cardio. First, people hate it. Like, strong feelings of loathing. Just sit in a group and say the word cardio and wait for a collective groan.
I even tested this theory. Before I started writing this I asked a friend what the first thought was that came to his mind when he heard the word cardio. He said, “Death.” I asked a few others and was met with variety of obscenities and other thoughts that ranged from “heart” to “heart attack.”
Why do people hate cardio so much? The answer is because it hurts. And most of the time it’s boring. When people think of cardio then imagine mind-numbing stints on the treadmill, logging miles that go absolutely nowhere. Or they remember being starved for oxygen – lunges burning, chest burning, runner’s cough-enducing, hands-on-knees, when-will-this-be-over, agony.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. OK, some of it does. Cardio usually hurts. No lying there. But it doesn’t have to be boring. And cardio isn’t really evil.
First let’s define cardio because, in fact, cardio, is really anything that gets your heart rate up. Despite how it feels we know that cardio is good for us. Curse the treadmill all you like, besides the inherent heart health benefits, cardio exercise also helps weight loss, reduces risk of heart disease, improves bone density and decreases stress.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days per week. Aerobic activity generally refers to exercises that stimulate and strengthen your body’s use of oxygen like jogging, swimming, biking or rowing. High intensity, muscle-building movements like you would encounter in a circuit training routine are anaerobic activities.
Before we dive into how we can make cardio suck (slightly) less, let’s address a few misconceptions.
Myth #1: Cardio is the best way to burn fat
Well that depends on what type of cardio we’re talking about. And generally when we think cardio we’re talking about steady-state cardio: jogging, walking, swimming. So while running on the treadmill (aerobic exercise) may burn more calories during the activity than an intense lifting or circuit training workout (anaerobic) in the same amount of time, the more intense session induces greater excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which essentially means that you’ll continue burning calories well after the workout is over. Ultimately, you’ll burn more fat overall with shorter, more intense bouts of exercise.
Myth #2: Focusing On Cardio Means You Can Eat What You Want
OK, I might be the first person to tell you that working out means that you can eat as you please. But this, my friends, is fake news. As the cliché goes, you simply cannot outrun or out-train a bad diet. Consider this: If you run for 30 minutes, you can burn approximately 338 calories if you’re running 8 minutes per mile. One hamburger equals about 354 calories (that’s no fries and no drink). So one trip to any fast food joint means you better than a 10-miler on deck tomorrow.
The Best Cardio Exercises
Here’s the best thing about HIIT training: it’s not running. But besides that HIIT is the workout style that’s going to give you the most bang for your buck or your time. Whatever is more important to you. HIIT work is ideal for burning fat and building muscle with short bursts of super-intense activity that keeps you burning energy well after you’ve stopped sweating and left the gym. Not only are you burning more calories but you’re also boosting your metabolism and increasing muscle endurance by constantly varying movements.
HIIT workouts are generally performed at 80 percent effort or more. And if you’re unsure of what that means, if you can speak clearly while exercising, you need to up the intensity.
Compound Barbell Movements
Exercisers are much more inclined to pick up the weights than they are to lace up their running sneakers. A couple of the reasons why is because you can measure your efforts and rest periods come more frequently. But try stringing together a couple barbell or dumbbell movements back-to-back without putting down the bar and watch your heart rate start to skyrocket. In fact, try CrossFit’s Open workout 17.5, a couplet of thrusters, which is essentially a front squat followed by an overhead press and double-unders (that’s two rotations of the rope for every single jump). If your jump rope skills aren’t advanced enough for double-unders simply double the number of attempts.
CrossFit Open Workout 17.5
10 Rounds for time (40-minute cap)
10 thrusters (95 pounds for men/65 pounds for women)
35 double-unders (70 singles)
You don’t need equipment to build muscle, or to build a fat-torching cardio workout. You simply need to recruit more muscles, similar to the way you would with big compound lifting movements. Burpees, squat jumps, split jumps and mountain climbers are all examples to bodyweight moves that will get your blood flowing. If you’re short or space and time, Death by Burpees is a perfect on-to-go session. And it feels as good as it sounds. The only rules here is that your chest must hit the floor and you must return to standing on both feet. Jump at the top and clap your hands above your head to celebrate.
Death by Burpees
Minute 1: Complete 1 burpee
Minute 2: Complete 2 burpees
Minute 3: Complete 3 burpees
Minute 4: Compete 4 burpees
Minute 5: Compete 5 burpees
When you fail to complete the prescribed number of burpees in a given minute (ex: if you reach Minute 20 and only complete 17 burpees in 60 seconds) your workout is over.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been fascinated by the way that boxers jump rope. But outside of the showmanship of it all, jumping rope is also a pretty good workout, burning 10 calories per minute. According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, 10 minutes of jumping rope can burn as many calories as running at an 8-minute mile pace. You can simply get after it and jump rope for 10 minutes straight or try it intervals, 1 minute on, 1 minute off for 10 minutes.
The idea of a five-mile run might sound like a death march. But if your goal is to burn fat, trudging through a long run isn’t the fastest route anyway. Sprinting doesn’t just burn fat faster, it also helps build muscle. Studies have also shown that sprint training is more effective had building endurance and work capacity. If it’s too cold out you could take your sprints to the stairs if in your office (if your boss or co-workers don’t frown upon such behavior) or your apartment building. Here’s a workout for both scenarios.
Start at the top of the staircase.
First set: Go down one flight of stairs and sprint back up to the top.
Second set: Go down two flights of stairs and sprint back up to the top.
Third set: Go down three flights of stairs and sprint back to the top.
Do this for at least five sets. Each time you attempt this workout add one more flight of stairs.
10×100 meter sprints.
Rest: Walk or jog slowly back to the start line.
OK fine. Running
Reluctantly, I’ll make a confession here. I actually do not hate running. Reserve your judgement.
It’s actually pretty freeing once my knees, feet and hips stop screaming. Then I can focus on my breathing, the scenery around me and (hopefully) the feeling of being in full control of my own body. But I do understand that most people consider running cruel and unusual torture and without the perfect playlist blasting through their headphones, they may literally curl up and die.
Running can be long and boring. You probably won’t get a boost of adrenaline and if you do you’ll probably end up running too fast and the run will hurt even more. But, running at a steady, moderate intensity can benefit you in a lot of ways. Improved muscle endurance can help you in your lifting sessions. It’s also a great recovery workout after you’ve beat yourself up in the gym.
There’s also something about finishing a run that’s so much better than starting one. Try it. Tell me if I’m wrong.
This article was originally published on: https://au.askmen.com