Cardio Workouts and Exercises To Burn Fat and Lose Weight

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HIT, HIIT and Interval
HIT stands for high intensity training. Typically this kind of workout will have you begin at a low intensity level and then increase it by a notch every minute or increasing by half to a full mph for running, for every minute during the workout. For beginners, this type of workout will start with only 5 minutes per session and ramp up to about 20 minutes per session for advanced athletes. For those people who feel that doing hours and hours of cardio each week impacts muscle growth, they tend to prefer this type of HIT training since it’s short and intense.

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. An example of this cardio training style is when you walk for 2 minutes, then run for 20-60 seconds and repeat. You can also do this workout by combining jogging and sprinting or walking and sprinting. The interval times are up to you and they usually start low while increasing with progress and time. The rest period is always longer than the intense interval period which allows you to go at a higher intensity for short bursts beyond the maximum that you would do for longer periods. The active rest period allows you to recover without stopping.

Circuit Training
This type of training is a way to be very efficient with your workout program and it combines weight training with cardio benefits. If you are super busy then you can circuit through a list of weight machines while doing a high number of reps per station. You can also circuit with cardio machines or blend them both (1 set of weights followed with 1 set of cardio). The terms “supersoaker” would be a better term for this type of training because when you really give it your all, you end up completely drenched with sweat that you can barely take off your clothes afterward and it looks like you actually fell into the pool at the gym! Circuits can be applied at lower levels, reps and paces for those with special needs. For those who are looking for a great workout but have limited time, this is ideal.

Plyometrics
Explosive power is main focus when performing plyometrics exercises and workouts. Plyometrics is mainly used to increase leg strength and lower body power which helps to increase your vertical jump which helps with faster take offs when running, turning and other athletics motions used in many sports like football and basketball. For specific fat loss goals, most plyometric drills will work very well. There is a higher level of risk and injury due to the intense nature of this type of training but the exercises can be modified safely for lower levels of fitness and special needs such as post rehab.

Lateral Training and Slides
Almost all the training we do with weights, cardio and sports involve a majority of forward motion. Look at every cardio machine in the gym and you will notice they are all back and forth motions. You get a few lateral leg and arm moves but it’s mainly straight forward. With weights, it is also mainly back and forth, forward and back.

I like to use lateral training at almost every session with my own personal workouts. Not only is it a great way to shock the body into additional fat loss and conditioning but I find for those seeking specific lower body shaping results it is impossible to get the level of definition without implementing lateral training in an overall fitness routine.

I had a knee injury earlier in my career which introduced me to a higher level of lateral training and I haven’t gone back since. I have my own slide and I love it. That fitness fad was big for a short spell in the 90s although athletes in sports like hockey are still using these types of training principles today. Plyometrics are often applied laterally because it is an excellent way for injury prevention to the lower body joints which are prone to problems during sports and other athletic events.

Stairs and Elevation
Another excellent cardio exercise which works very well for women who want to firm up and tone their butt and thighs, is using stairs. You can do it at home on a step or on your own stairs in several different ways and you can even do it laterally but the hardest training is going to be at the ball park or local high school using the stadium stairs. It’s important that you have good knees with no prior issues before doing stairs due to the high impact it has on the lower body. The Stairmaster and stepmill are also excellent choices to use at the gym to get your stair work in. Getting your knees high up makes you work harder and burns more fat but it also targets the glutes extremely well at the point where the knee is above hip level. I also like to hop stairs which mixes in some plyometrics and lateral training movements.

These different cardio training styles will give you a few options and ideas to test out. Try implementing them into your next workout and see how the results are after 90 days!

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About Author

Linda Cusmano

Linda is a national level fitness and figure pro who dabbles in bodybuilding competitions, obstacle and strength challenges along with fitness model competitions. She is a triple certified elite personal trainer and the owner of Body Rush Personal Training. See my profile page for more information!

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