Getting your heart rate up doesn’t always have to mean hitting the treadmill. While running is the tried and true, it doesn’t have to consume your cardio goals. Running is not the only way to get your cardio in, nor is it always the best way. Take a break from the treadmill and try out some of these workouts sure to slash those calories and have you drenched in sweat.
As a form of HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, Tabata is a workout consisting of periods of intense exercise and short periods of rest. Typically each round lasts 4 minutes, and the intense exercise is repeated 8 times for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between each set. A full Tabata workout has 4 different intense workouts. For example: 4 minutes of jumping squats, 4 minutes of burpees, 4 minutes of pushups, 4 minutes of crunches. This can be altered and adapted in numerous ways to fit your needs. This workout keeps your heart rate up immensely, and research found that when Tabata was done 5 days a week for 6 weeks, athletes found improved maximum aerobic capacity by 14% and improved anaerobic capacity by 28%. In the same study, traditional running proved less effective.
While this can seem unconventional and a little intimidating, it is important to note that there is a reason why this workout is so popular among the Hollywood crowd. As a cardio and fat blaster, as well as a strength and endurance pusher, boxing works your entire body in each exercise. It sculpts your body, working your arms, shoulders and back with every punch, your hips and legs with each drive, and your core to hold it all together. The American Council on Exercise says you can burn potentially 13 calories a minute, making it a huge competitor to typical running. Not only does it set your body on fire, but it is also engaging, competitive, and requires discipline. You are getting your workout in, fighting stress, improving overall function, and having a good time while doing so.
Underrated and overlooked, swimming is a top of the line, total body workout for people of all ages and fitness levels. It is an endurance challenge, improving your body’s ability to take in and effectively use oxygen. Not to mention it can burn 200 calories in just half an hour, doubling that of a brisk walk. It has also been shown to increase energy levels and lower the risk of diseases. It is also highly recommended for fighting stress and relaxing the body. For general well being and a fat-blasting workout, swimming is a great option.
With cycle studios and classes sweeping the nation and trending in terms of popularity, it is easy to find a time to hop on a bike and get moving. A cycling class is fast-paced, upbeat, and absolutely killer. This workout is sure to get your heart rate up and have you dripping in sweat by the time you call it quits. While still being less stressful on the body than a typical run, it still builds and maintains important muscle mass, using intense amounts of strength and endurance. Research shows that high-intensity spin is the “optimal cardio workout” with all the intensity of a run without the stress on the body.
Want to stick with the gym routine you already have but use different equipment? Try out the rowing machine. This low impact workout works muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Utilizing both push and pull tactic, you get your whole body moving (and sweating). It is flexible, and can be tailored to your desired difficulty and fitness level. Studies show it can burn 600 calories per hour when used properly, while also building muscle. This secret weapon can be more effective than running, the elliptical, or even the stationary bike. Fit this cardio king in your workout today.
*Please consult your doctor before beginning any intense cardiovascular workouts. This advice should not trump that from a doctor or registered professional