When it comes to burning fat, most people tend to turn to cardio, cardio, and more cardio! And probably you’re one of them. So what’s the best cardio for weight loss you’ve ever tried?
I’m asking this because I know cardio is useful for fat burning, but is it the best exercise choice when it comes to fast weight loss?
For starters, cardio burns fat at a depressingly slow speed. And if done to excess, may even lead to muscle loss, resulting in a lowered metabolic rate.
Slow paced, long duration cardio is also time consuming, and is not everyone’s idea of an exciting workout.
7 Alternatives To Your Best Cardio For Weight Loss
Here are seven alternatives to traditional fat-burning cardio that are time efficient, burn fat like a furnace, and are fun too.
1. Heavy Punch Bag Work
Boxers are amongst the fittest and leanest athletes on the planet. Part of the reason for this is that they train using three minutes on/one minute off intervals.
This work to rest ratio is ideal for developing aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and for burning lots of calories and fat.
Enjoy the benefits of boxing training without getting punched in the face by working out with a heavy punch bag.
Set your interval timer for three-minute rounds, and then get to work. Mix your punches, move your feet, and work hard for the entire three minutes.
Take a well-deserved one minute breather, and then start over. Three to five rounds should be plenty.
2. Sledgehammer Training
Swinging a sledgehammer is a fantastic, full body exercise. It’s also a tremendous stress buster!
Grab a sledgehammer, and use it to hit an old car tire. Wear gloves to avoid sore hands and blisters. Good sledgehammer workouts include:
- Rep intervals – do 20 swings, rest for 30-60 seconds, and repeat;
- Time intervals – swing for 60 seconds, rest for 60 seconds, and repeat;
- Timed challenges – see how many swings you can complete in a set time, e.g. 10 minutes;
- Rep challenges – see how quickly you can complete a set number of swings, e.g. 250.
3. Interval Training
Interval training is arguably the best way to lose fat fast. Simply alternative brief periods of high intensity exercise with short rests for the desired number of laps.
For example, row or cycle as fast as you can for 45 seconds, and then take it easy for 75 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times in total.
You can do intervals on all types of exercise equipment including treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines, steppers, and cross trainers.
Interval training burns more calories per minute compared to slower-paced cardio, and also increases your metabolic rate for longer afterward.
4. Circuit Training
Circuit training is nothing new – it’s been around since the mid 1960s. However, it’s an underutilized training method that could help you lose fat fast and preserve muscle at the same time.
Most strength workouts are done horizontally. That is to say, you do all your sets of one exercise before moving onto the next.
With circuit training, you do your workout vertically, meaning you do one set of each exercise in turn. This cuts down on rest, increases your heart and breathing rate, and turns your strength workout into a fat burning, muscle building workout instead.
- Shoulder presses;
- Romanian deadlifts;
- Biceps curls;
- Triceps pushdowns;
Do 12-20 reps of each exercise in turn, moving quickly from one to the next. Do three to five laps in total, resting 1-2 minutes between each one.
A complex is a series of exercises done back to back for one or several reps each. There are barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, and bodyweight complexes.
A good complex will use multiple large muscle groups to push your heart and breathing rate up, burning lots of fat and calories along the way.
Just replace your best cardio for weight loss with this barbell complex and you’re gonna sweat and burn fat even after the workout is done.
Do 3-5 reps of each exercise. Do not put the bar down between exercises but, instead, transition smoothly and quickly from one to the next.
- Hang clean from knees;
- Front squat;
- Push press;
- Good morning;
- Back squat.
6. Hill Sprints
Sprinting up hill is a great way to develop bigger, stronger legs, and burn lots of fat at the same time. While you could do hill sprints on a treadmill, you’ll get much better results if you do them outside on a real hill.
Find a steep hill that’s about 30-50 meters long. After a brief warm up, run up the hill as fast as you can, and then walk back down to recover. Repeat 3-5 times, rest a couple of minutes, and then do another set.
Pump up the intensity by doing a quick set of squats or press-ups at the top of the hill.
If you choose to include hill sprints in your workouts, make sure you consider your footwear, as well as other gym clothing options to ensure you are dressed for comfort and success. You are going to heat up as your workout progresses, so layers are best.
7. Loaded Carries
Carrying heavy loads is a good way to build strength and fitness while shedding fat at the same time.
There are plenty of different ways you can use loaded carries to get leaner and fitter, including:
Hold a heavy dumbbell in each hand and walk as far as you can.
Strap on a heavy rucksack or weighted vest and get walking.
Bear Hug Walk
Pick up a heavy sandbag, hug it to your chest, and walk as far as you can.
Grab your training buddy, pick them up firefighter-style, and walk as far as you can. When you need a rest, swap roles and let them do the carrying.
If losing fat is your goal, use these workouts to maximize your results. Combined with a healthy diet and calorie deficit, you’ll lose fat faster, get fitter, and enjoy the process a whole lot more.
When it comes to best cardio for weight loss, slow and steady definitely doesn’t win the race!