3 Best Cardio

Exercises are classified into two categories : aerobic or anaerobic.

When it comes to working out, cardio refers to exercises that raise your heartbeat pushing your heart to deliver more oxygen to the required muscles. Exercises that require the constant delivery of oxygen is known as aerobics. The words cardio and aerobics can be interchanged. You may have heard the term anaerobic which literally means “without oxygen”. Exercises can be categorised aerobic exercises when it is performed without the need of oxygen being delivered to the muscle during the movements, for example weight lifting.
Aerobic exercise (cardio) benefits the body by making the heart and lungs stronger, and burning glycogen and fat for fuel (ratio of glycogen and fat differs, as explained in an upcoming article). Intensity of the workouts determine how many calories you are burning – off course higher intensity equals to more calories being burned. If you are including cardio in your workout routine to burn fat then make sure not to slow down. Keep your heart rate pumping to maximise calorie burn.
So when it comes to burning fat, and staying lean here are my favourites:

1. Cross trainer

precor-efx-835-1024x905Don’t ignore this super machine in the corner of your gym. Cross trainers (elliptical machines) are best for burning calories without putting stress on your joints and leading to injury. Cross trainers are best at keeping your posture correct and includes working out your arms as well. Doubling as a full body workout, make sure to kick up the speed and hold it there. Don’t forget to invest in a good pair of sneakers which prevent feet injuries (quite common) and help keep your posture perfect. For scorching cals, working up a sweat, burning off those donuts and generalised increase in leg strength, I prefer the cross trainer over the treadmill any day!

My Preferred  Routine
I include 15 minutes of cross training into my daily workout as a warm up before I stretch. Warming up the body is crucial to each and every workout that follows as it increases blood flow, prepares the body for intense movements, and readies your heart to work harder. I cross train before I stretch to warm up my muscles and joints. This ensures i stretch better and achieve full flexibility from my body. A bonus benefit is a 15 min round of intense cross training and I’ve burn a good amount of calories, before my weight lifting session.
If you are not weight lifting (yet), then increase your cross training up to 45 mins of moderate intensity to burn calories. Remember to keep hydrated.

2. Rowing machine

Proteus-Par5500-Rowing-Machine.jpgI love full body workouts which is why I am obsessed with rowing! Thinking about toning your back, arms, shoulder, legs and burning fat at the same time? Well yes you can by rowing. As usual with all exercise,  posture / form is very important and prevents injury. Rowing is no different. During rowing, keep your back straight and abs (stomach) tucked in tight to prevent extra strain on your back. Breath through your nose and expand your chest. These movements may need a few days of getting used to but soon becomes second nature. Rowing utilises your back muscles thus increasing blood flow to those muscles which may be dormant due sedentary lifestyles. Not just back, it’s great for legs too. If you feel your thighs burn after a rowing session then you have engaged your quads. For quick toning your whole body, better include rowing in your new routine!
My Preferred  Routine
I keep rowing to my back days – days I work on strength training my back. The extra rowing movements means my back muscles are working extra hard. I am all about toning! If you are not strength training (yet) then include rowing more days in the week. As usual, I warm up with rowing on back days. I double up my calorie burn by adding a quick rowing bit to the end of my lifting. At the end, I superset with rowing weights then running back to the rowing machine to row for 1 min straight. I alternate this for 4 times, ultimately leading to a HIIT routine (as explained below).

 3. HIIT

img_2122Even though it’s listed last, HIIT is my all time favourite when it comes to keeping my heart rate high and scorching the most calories.

HIIT is not a specific exercise but is a format of excercise that pushes the body into fat burn mode. You can tailor it to include the moves you enjoy the most. The format is such:

1 min intense movement
30 sec rest/ recovery
1 min intense movement
Continue for 15 to 20 mins max

Surprisingly, HIIT is NOT an aerobic (remember from above?). Rather, these bursts of movements need to be so quick that your body doesn’t have enough time to deliver oxygen to the required muscles – making HIIT a form of anaerobic exercise. This is why HIIT is limited to 1 min rounds followed by 30 second rest periods, and limited to only 20 minutes max. And this is also why HIIT burns body fat the quickest. Pro bikini competitors and body builders have used this technique for over 20 years to maximise fat burn. The biggest pro of HIIT is that you can do it with virtually any move. Jumping jacks, squats, burpees or some other killer move – there is no limitation to the various routines you can make for yourself. Here is an example of a easy HIIT routine

  • jumping jacks – 45 seconds
  • 15 second rest
  • jumping jacks – 45 seconds
  • 15 second rest

This is to be repeated for 15 mins.

My Preferred  Routine

I like to add a HIIT quickie at the end of my lifting routines. Max 15 minutes and done.My favourite moves include jump squats,box jumps,  battle ropes and kettle ball swings. But don’t just take my word for it. Like said above, you can tailor an HIIT routine to include your favourite moves. If you are strength training, you can make your lifting sessions into HIIT routines but lifting a moderate weight which you can lift for 45 seconds to 1 min followed by a short 30 sec period of rest.
Try this easy HIIT routine or this challenging HIIT routine that will show results and get you hooked ! Remember as with everything, keep patience and don’t skip your routine !
Do you have a favourite cardio that we need to try? Then share with us in the comments below for a chance to be featured in our next article! We will try your cardio routine and write about it. Have a question? Then email us and we will reply.
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