Are you choosing the right cardio for your goals? Many times I see people who need to lose weight leisurely peddling along on the recumbent bike, thinking they are doing some really great fat-burning cardio. However, unless they are rehabilitating an injury, they could burn up to 200 calories more per hour if they moved to an elliptical or treadmill.
Look at the following list of most common exercises and see how they compare to each other. Each exercise is listed from lowest calories burned to highest calories burned.
Calories burned per HOUR for a 155lb person
232: Walking, 3.0
281: Water Aerobics
281: Yoga (not cardio, but thought it was cool to compare)
352: Walking, 4.0 brisk pace
352: Low Impact Aerobics
422: Dance Aerobics
443: Walking, 4.5 very brisk pace
472: Running 5mph/12-Minute Mile
480: Elliptical (Moderate)
493: High Impact Aerobics
493: Stationary Bike (moderate intensity)
563: Calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups…)
563: Circuit Training (minimal rest)
568: Elliptical (vigorous)
633: Stair Machine
633: Running 5.2mph/11.5-Minute Mile
704: Running 6mph/10-Minute Mile
744: Running 6.5mph/9-Minute Mile
760: Plyometrics (Burpees, Jumping Jacks, Box Jumps)
Time vs Work
Now, let’s also look at the type of cardio compared to the amount of time you are likely to do that activity. I know in my heart I will not run on the treadmill for an hour, but I’d do kickboxing for an hour. So, in reality, when looking at the numbers above, I can’t compare them as apples to apples.
The reality: Walking for 30 minutes (176 calories) vs an hour of low-impact aerobics (352 calories) is 176 calorie difference. Running 3 miles/30-min (352 calories) vs 1 hour of kickboxing (704 calories) is 352 calories! Now THAT’S even a bigger difference.
Workout with Purpose
In a nutshell, if you have a specific goal you want to achieve from fitness, you may need to do what your body needs – not necessarily what you like the most. Sure, it’s great to choose activity you like, and will stick to, but are you going to be OK with the results you get from that activity? Many times people keep doing what they like without ever achieving their goals – and they quit working out eventually because what they liked didn’t give them the results they wanted.
If you are exercising for your health, and not for calorie burn, that’s one thing – but if you are wanting to do cardio for fat-melting results, then maybe it’s time to choose a workout based on the results you want to get. Once you choose your workout, make those workouts priority and the fun workouts extras – until you reach your goal. Once you reach your goal, you can rearrange your training schedule, reduce intensity and increase your fun activities.
Top 5 Calorie Scorchers
If you are like me, you want the most bang for your buck. Here are my personal favorite workouts that burn a serious amount of calories while sculpting muscle too.
2. Circuit Training
4. Kickboxing Class
5. High Impact Aerobics
Top 5 Exercise Tips:
1. Do weights before cardio
2. If you need to lose weight, make calorie burn your top priority
3. Do moderate cardio on a mostly empty stomach, when possible, when doing cardio alone.
4. Plyometrics, circuit training and calisthenics require food to fuel you through your workout.
5. None of your calorie burning workouts will pay off if you are just replacing the calories burned with calories you eat. Limit calories consumed for maximum weight loss results.
NOTE: Cardio was a term originally was used to describe exercising your heart and lungs. Now people refer to cardio when doing fat-burning workouts, from a power-walk to an aerobics class.
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