Any exercise that raises your heart rate.
Working your heart makes it stronger and keeps you healthier. The stronger your cardiovascular system is, the more oxygen you will have being delivered to your muscles, which in turn promotes more fat burning by your muscles during both exercise and resting.
There are many different types of cardio exercise:
•Walking, running, jogging, bike riding, spinning, swimming, etc.
The possibilities are what you make them. All you need to do is raise your heart rate and keep your body moving.
Some people, such as myself, prefer fasted cardio. During my first six months of training, I did this in the morning, 5-6 times week. What is fasted cardio?
Fasted cardio is cardio on an empty stomach. Best done first thing in the morning before you eat your first meal. The thought behind it is that your body is tapping into your body fat stores for energy, rather than using the current glucose in your system that you would have, had you previously eaten before your workout. It also makes it easier for your body to target the more stubborn fat stores that would otherwise be more difficult to burn.
Some people don’t like this idea, saying you’ll lose lean muscle mass. When doing fasted cardio, I stick to moderate intensity and have never had a problem with this. On days I want to do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) I drink BCAAs prior, which will help prevent lean muscle loss.
No matter what type of cardio you decide to do, diet is key. The fat loss and results you see will be directly related to how you eat. Also, strength training should always be combined with cardio. Here’s why:
•Strength Training burns calories after the workout is completed with an increase in metabolism for up to 36 hours. Remember to be consistent.
•It also builds lean muscle mass which eventually turns your body into a calorie burning powerhouse.
•Unlike cardio, weight training can help shape your body. Trust me, after losing 25lbs my butt was non-existent. But over time, using strength training built my glutes into a lean, round, perky booty! Something no amount of cardio can do. Muscles make curves!
•If you choose to only do cardio, you’ll have to do long cardio sessions to burn that one pound:3500 burned= 1 pound lost. That’s to say that you’re not eating the calories back that you’ve lost. Lastly…
•While the weight training session may not burn as many calories minute per minute during the actual workout (depending on the intensity of your strength training routine), the overall calorie burning benefits you receive from it typically outweigh that of cardio.
So remember, cardio for overall cardiovascular health and strength training for increased metabolism and fat burning. It’s time to put an end to the idea that cardio equals fat loss and strength training equates to mass and weight gain.