Best Cardio for Weight Loss. What Is It?

Everyone wants to know what’s the best way to lose weight, and besides the obvious answer of adjusting your diet and working out, the next question is:  Which is the best cardio for weight loss?

For the answer, you’ve come to the right place.  It’s not an easy question to answer but there is one predominantly best way to lose weight with this cardio.

H I I T

High Intensity Interval Training

There’s lots of buzz around High Intensity Interval Training because it works faster to shed pounds than any other form of exercise.

There are still lots of folks who, either haven’t heard of HIIT, or are not on board because they haven’t done the research to see how it can make the job of weight loss faster than the traditional cardio methods.

There are other factors.  It’s not an easy workout, so it may scare some folks off.  It takes a lot more effort than a traditional cardio workout, but it takes much less time to perform.

Change comes hard in every arena, so the traditional slow, steady cardio will always be around. It works and suits many people, but it isn’t as efficient or effective in burning fat as HIIT is.

That guy who spends an hour on the treadmill at the gym is not getting nearly the fat loss he could get with a 15-20 minute intense HIIT workout.

Let’s look at how it all works.

WHAT IS HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training is performing a particular exercise at close to 100 percent effort for short bursts of time (3 seconds to 30 seconds), usually with a 30-45 second rest period in between each exercise.

Generally, workouts range between 10-30 minutes.  That’s about all you can take if you do it right.

HIIT workouts, although short, are significantly more intense than regular exercise, and lead to dramatically increased fitness gains.

HIIT is not only great for getting you in shape but it is a highly effective form of exercise for fat loss.

Crossfit, a form of HIIT,  is very popular right now because people have seen dramatic results from doing Crossfit.  You don’t have to do Crossfit to benefit from HIIT training. You can practice at home.  It just depends on what you prefer.

Tabata is also a form of HIIT. What is it?

It consists of 4-8 rounds of high-intense exercises usually done in a  20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval (or similar). If done correctly it will push your body to the limit. A Tabata routine can last anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes.

There will be an upcoming article specifically on Tabata training.  I did a Tabata boot camp for years and love the training.  It can be fun.

 

SLOWS AGING

In addition to achieving fat loss, recent research has shown that High-Intensity Interval Training may actually reduce and reverse the aging process.   This is due to reducing damage done to the mitochondria—the part of each muscle cell that takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy for the cell.

In their research, according to biopsied muscle cells, doing interval training three times a week actually activates and changes more genes than strength training or moderate cardio.  Thus the conclusion is that HIIT improves age-related decline in muscle mitochondria”.

It is not so much that HIIT will make you live forever, but that the exercise will likely correct accelerated aging. There are so many reasons our cellular aging could be accelerated: environmental toxins, poor diet, inactivity, stress, etc. HIIT may undo a lot of that damage and keep your muscle cells energized and working as they should.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO HIIT EXERCISES?

HIIT wasn’t meant to be done every day. And if you’re able to actually do almost 100%  level of intensity seven days per week, you’re probably not really giving it 100%.

The idea is to elevate your heart rate for a brief period, followed by resting for a given period.   If you choose sprinting and walking as your HIIT exercise, the key is to go at your maximum effort during the sprints. Because you should be giving almost 100%, you should not do this every day, but every other day is OK.

Most people aren’t used to pushing themselves as hard as necessary for HIIT, especially a HIIT workout that’s as short as 7 or 10 minutes because it’s extremely uncomfortable. So, this is not for everyone, but I can tell you it’s a rush when you do a HIIT routine.

 

SUGGESTED EXERCISES
To get you started, here are seven (7) exercises sets that you can use to develop a good HIIT routine.  I’d suggest doing 2 or 3 of these sets for a day’s exercise.  No more.  They’re pretty intense.
The most important things to remember:
  • Go ALL OUT for the exercise portion and
  • Make sure you keep strict form.
 EXERCISE SET 1
Let’s start with a hard one. Do the following 3 exercises in this order:
  • Pull-Ups – Do them with a full range of motion- from fully stretched out to all the way up, and keep strict form while you’re doing them.
    Reps: As many as possible in 30 seconds
  • Jumping Jacks
    Reps: 40-60
  • Burpees
    Reps: 10-20
……and if you can do that 4 times in a row. you’re tough and probably in great shape.
 So this exercise is tough.  Start with the lower reps and work up to the higher reps.
EXERCISE SET 2
OK here’s another tough one.  We’ll start with the hardest ones and work out way down to easier exercises.

Complete the following circuit 4 times, resting 1 minute after jumping rope in each round.

  • Mountain Climbers
    Reps: 20-45
  • Pushups
    Reps: 20.
  • Jump Rope:
    Duration: 1 min.
 To make it a little easier you could eliminate the Pushups and do the Mountain Climbers and Jump Rope.  That’s a good workout. You can start with fewer reps fo the Mountain Climbers.
Repeat this one 4 times.
EXERCISE SET 3
 Complete the following circuit 4 times, resting 1 minute after the High Knees
  • Jump Rope
    Duration: 1 min.
  • Dips – from a bar or a bench or chair
    Reps: 12-25
  • High Knees
    Reps: 20-30 each knee – fast as you can

 

 

 

EXERCISE SET 4

Complete the following 3 exercises 4 times, resting 1 minute after the lunges.

  • Sprint
    Duration: 30 sec.
  • Squat Jumps
    Duration: 25-45 sec.
  • Lunges
    Reps: 15-20 each leg

You can do the lunges either in place or walking.

 

EXERCISE SET 5

Here is a sprinting HIIT exercise done in 3 difficulty levels.  Start with the Starting Level and work your way up to the Tough Level.

  • TOUGH LE VEL
    Sprint 80 yards in 10 seconds
    Rest: 30-50 sec.
    Repeat 10-20 times
  • AVERAGE LEVEL
    Sprint 60 yards in 10 seconds
    Rest: 30-50 sec.
    Repeat 10-20 times
  • STARTING LEVEL
    Sprint 50 yards in 10 seconds
    Rest: 1 minute
    Repeat 5 – 10 times
 EXERCISE SET 6
 In this exercise set, you’re going to use a treadmill, This is an inside exercise set.
  • Jump Squat
    20-30 seconds
  • Run On Treadmill
    4-6 speed, 2% incline
    Rest: 1 minute to 1.5 minutes

Repeat 3-5 times and increase the incline for each set.  You could also increase the speed on each set and decrease the rest.

 

 

EXERCISE SET 7

This is the most basic HIIT exercise set.  It involves sprinting and walking.  To make it harder, add a walking lunge instead of walking.
  • Sprint
    For 20-30 seconds as fast as you can
  • Walk 0r Walking Lunge
    For 30 – 60 seconds

Repeat 5-8 times.

An alternative (on a court):

  • Sprint 
    The full distance of the court
  • Walk
    Back to the starting point.
  • Sprint
    To the half court line
  • Walk 
    Back to the starting point.

Repeat this 4-6 times.

 

SUMMARY

If you’re serious about losing that fat that you’ve been carrying around for years, stop wasting your time on the treadmill and go do a couple of these HIIT Exercise Sets  – 3 times a week.

If you stick to it and go full out for each set, I promise you that you’ll lose weight,…….as long as you watch your food intake and maintain a balanced diet.

I’ve incorporated Cross Fit, Tabata and other HIIT exercises into my routine for many years and won’t go back to traditional cardio.  HIIT can be fun and much more effective in losing fat.

See you at the gym or park.

 

About "W" Tucker 49 Articles
I've been a fitness enthusiast for many years and want to encourage guys over 40 to get and stay in shape. It makes life better, and makes you look and feel better.

4 Comments

  1. I was very excited to read your article on HITT. I stumbled upon HITT a few years ago and have done it on and off since then. There is no question that it works. In fact, I had been trying to lose weight doing traditional cardio for many years and nothing happened until I started doing HITT workouts. The great thing about them too is that they are not as long as the traditional workouts and the results are obvious. It is a great way to keep fit and lose weight.

    • Thanks so much.  Yes, I used to do traditional cardio until I discovered HIIT at a boot camp when I was living in Atlanta.  It works 

  2. Hi
    This looks a really good page and reads well. Good information, including some good detail in the slows aging section. Good video included. To be really picky there are a few minor spelling mistakes so maybe have a re-edit. The only proper suggestion I have is perhaps make the exercise names links to a page that describes what they are and how to do them. That would help a novice like me who doesn’t know the terms.
    But good page, I’m going to bookmark so I can look at the rest of the site later.
    Keith

    • Keith, thanks so much for the comments, especially the spelling mistakes. That’s one of my pet peeves on other sites so thanks for letting me know, and the idea of linking the exercise terms to a description of how to do each.  I appreciate your comments

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