Tips to Making Your Cardio Count

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)
281: Bicycle
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
704: Kickboxing
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.
1. Plyometrics
2. Circuit Training
3. Calisthenics
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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Source: NutriStrategy 

 

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on April 12, 2012, in Exercise & Training, PFIT TIPS and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Bonnie. If you are suppose to eat 1400 -2000 calories a day is that the number you should consume taking away the calories you burn ? So if you eat 1400 calories and burn 600 for a net of 800. Is that how you should calculate it ? or should you eat 2000 and burn 600 for a net of 1400 ? Your thoughts ?

    • When you say “supposed to eat” what do you mean exactly? Is that a diet for weight loss or for maintenance? The only reason I’d replace calories burned (factor my workouts in) is if I’m in maintenance and wanting to not lose weight. Otherwise, I’d never add more calories to my diet if I’m trying to lose weight and all activity would just put me in a greater caloric deficit so I lose weight faster. I hope that makes sense 🙂

  2. Good luck ,Great post,y love you!Thanks for the info it had cleared out too many things in my mind. Your recommendations are really good.
    http://www.bittermelonhealthbenefits.com

  3. Reblogged this on InspiredWeightloss!.

  4. Good article. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

  1. Pingback: Tips for Cardio Aerobics | RealInfoHUB.org

  2. Pingback: Does Your Fitness Lack Purpose? | PFITblog

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