Fat Loss Workouts That Are Better Than Cardio Exercise

March 22, 2011

Despite common belief by fitness enthusiasts, cardio workouts are NOT effective for fat loss or losing weight long term.

by Craig Ballantyne, Men’s Health Fitness Advisor, Expert Fitness Author – Beyond Cardio Workouts .com

One of the most frustrating sights in the world is watching men and women do the same so-called “fat loss cardio workouts” for months and months without results. It happens more often than it should. In fact, there’s rarely anyone in most gyms who is able to lose weight with long, slow cardio.

Even research from the scientific journal, “Obesity” showed that even when men and women do up to 300 hours of cardio exercise per year, they only lose 4-6 pounds of weight. That just isn’t worth it! No one has time to do 50 hours of cardio in order to lose one pound of weight.

That’s why you need fat loss workouts that are better than cardio. Research and experience proves that interval training (and even high intensity weight training) is better for burning belly fat than long, slow cardio. Plus, interval training workouts are fun, fast, and more enjoyable. You’ll save time, lose more weight, and build a fit, functional body with these fat loss workouts.

Cardio exercise machines are NOT optimal, but if you must…

First, if you are stuck exercising inside a commercial gym for your workout, you can use traditional cardio machines for interval training.

An easy to do interval training program is to do a 5-minute warm-up followed by six intervals of 30-60 seconds of hard exercise, alternated with 60 seconds of easy exercise. Then you cool down for 5 minutes and you’re done. That’s less than half the time that most people spend on machines doing long, slow cardio.

After a warm-up, do a one minute “work interval” where you will exercise harder than normal cardio. After one minute, decrease the intensity all the way down to a cool-down level for one minute. Repeat the hard-easy combo up to 6 times and then finish with a cool down. That is the simplest way to do interval training.

If you normally run at 6 miles per hour on the treadmill for 30 minutes, you can do your first interval workout by running at 7 miles per hour for 1 minute and then walking at 3.5 miles per hour for 2 minutes. That’s a conservative place to start with interval training. You’d repeat that “hard-easy” protocol 6 times in an interval training workout (after a warm-up and followed by a cool-down).

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The best cardio machines (if you must use indoor cardio machines) for fast interval training fat loss workouts are the treadmill and stationary cycle. Rowing machines and elliptical (cross-trainers) are ok, but in my experience, the treadmill and bike are best.

Best Alternative Workouts to Traditional Cardio Exercise

Most people enjoy getting out of the gym or doing alternative fat loss interval training workouts (instead of boring cardio workouts inside a stuffy gym). You can use a kettlebell, your bodyweight, a skipping rope, or medicine ball for interval workouts in just a small space in your home or garage. You don’t need to go to a big, fancy, expensive commercial gym to burn fat or get long term weight loss success.

Plus, it’s easier to experiment with different interval training workout programs when you don’t have to deal with intensity settings on cardio machines. After all, it’s next to impossible to do the popular Tabata interval workouts on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical machine.

In the Tabata intervals, you work hard for 20 seconds and then recover for 10 seconds, and you repeat that 8 times. That makes for a fast and effective 4-minute tabata workout, not including warm-up and cool-down. You just can’t do that on a cardio machine, but it works perfectly for kettlebells and medicine ball exercises, as well as bodyweight circuits.

Bodyweight training is the most underappreciated fat loss workout option. Most folks are drawn to fancy equipment, but mostly because the equipment often makes the workout easier. Moving your own bodyweight is tough, and keeps you honest!

In the Turbulence Training bodyweight cardio circuits, you’ll use 6-8 bodyweight exercises, alternating between a lower body exercise and an upper body exercise, before finishing the circuit with a fast total body exercise such as running in place, burpees, or jumps.

In the circuits, you’ll do 6-20 repetitions per exercise depending on your fitness level. Once you complete the circuit, rest for one minute, and then repeat the circuit 1-3 more times. If you are new to bodyweight circuits, just do two total circuits.

The great news is that in most cases, you don’t need a single piece of equipment to do these fat burning bodyweight workouts, so you can do them in a hotel room, your garage, or even in front of the TV.

Now you have lots of fun, fast, effective fat loss workouts that are better than cardio!

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