The essential cardio guide for people who hate running
Is the treadmill not your cup of tea? Don't worry - we've got your back.
This essential cardio guide outlines the best ways of losing weight, so you're not bored at the gym. The more fun and engaging your workout is, the more likely you are to stick to it.
Cardio can keep your heart healthy and also boost weight loss, so it's only wise to stick to the type you enjoy performing.
Free weights for fat loss
Before delving into the different kinds of cardio around, it's worth mentioning just how crucial lifting weights is.
Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the US shows that a standard weight training session of less than an hour still burns upwards of 200 calories. What's more, your metabolism remains high for as much as three days after hitting the gym. If you're regularly training, that's a recipe for weight loss in itself.
If you're really serious about getting ripped, some extra cardio sessions can help. However, some traditional forms such as treadmill running can often seem dull and boring. Thankfully, if you're in the same boat as Homer Simpson, there are plenty of other methods of around.
Essential rules for the cardio guide
There are a few key principles to bear in mind when considering what kind of cardio to do:
You'll want your cardio sessions to be intense enough to boost your fitness levels and fat loss, but scalable so you're not overdoing it and hindering recovery.
In terms of duration, this is largely influenced by the kind of cardio you're doing. The less intense it is, the longer you can go for. The longer you perform cardio for, the more likely you are to tap into muscle for energy - so be mindful of this.
Similarly, a frequency of two or three times a week is fine. Excessive amounts of cardio can negatively impact your results from weight training.
Call on kettlebells
Kettlebells were first used in the Soviet Union to weigh grain, but are now a firm favourite of many. With good reason, too.
They come in a variety of sizes and weights and can be used to hit every muscle group in the body. An example kettlebell circuit could look like:
- Standard Swing: 20 seconds
- Clean & Press: 20 seconds
- Goblet Squat: 20 seconds
- One-Arm Swing: 20 seconds
- Rest for a minute, repeat three to five times
Just 12 minutes of kettlebell cardio is sufficient for improving your heart health and fitness levels.
Super strongman circuits
Thanks to the exploits of lifters such as Eddie Hall and Hafthor 'The Mountain' Bjornsson, strongman training is rightfully seen as a key way of hitting all kinds of PBs.
However, when combined into a circuit, strongman equipment is excellent for metabolic conditioning. Exercises such as the Prowler Push and the Farmer's Walk will help you strip fat while maintaining full-body size and strength.
An example strongman circuit:
- Farmer's Walk: Load the bar with 70% of your bodyweight. Walk for 20 yards, then return
- Tyre Flip: 6-8 reps
- Prowler Push: Push for 20 yards, then return
- Battle Ropes: 20 seconds all out, maximum intensity
Combat sportsmen and women are among the fittest competitors on the planet - and their conditioning workouts are responsible for this.
JOE was recently provided with a boxing workout by personal trainer Harry Jameson, to support the release of Creed II.
Here are two example rounds from this boxing circuit:
- Bag work: Perform a combination of jabs, hooks and uppercuts for a minute. Rest for 30 seconds, repeat once more
- Dynamic core work: pick two from - toe taps, mountain climbers, high plank with shoulder taps and Russian twists
Walking, climbing and hiking
This may come as a surprise, but a simple stroll can strip away unwanted body fat. Walking is an example of a low-intensity aerobic exercise.
For aerobic exercise, your body will burn stored body fat for fuel, whereas cardio with a much greater intensity (such as HIIT) will call on your carbohydrate stores first and foremost.
Walking is also a great example of NEAT: non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This super-sciency-sounding term just refers to the activities you do outside the gym that still burn calories.
If you're living an office lifestyle, ways you can maximise weight loss outside the gym are:
- Walking or cycling to work
- Taking screen breaks every hour
- Going walking at lunch
- Taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator