Best Cardio For Fat Loss

Have you been wondering what is the best cardio for fat loss?   Perhaps you have spent hours each week on the treadmill, elliptical or city streets and don't think you are burning much, if any, fat.  If that is the case, I've got the answer for you. 

Keep reading below and find out why what you are doing isn't working and what you can do that actually will work.  Take your fitness program to the next level.


What Is The Best Cardio For Fat Loss?

Let me just start out by saying that you absolutely need some cardio in your fitness program.  It should be supplemental to the strength training that we discuss throughout this site.  How you go about doing that cardio makes all the difference; particularly as you get older.  There is a best cardio for fat loss for you.

So, let's start with why you want to be doing cardio....  Basically, the heart is a muscle and needs to be worked just like any other muscle.  Since we cannot work it directly (via strength training) like the rest of our muscles, we need to make it work by having our bodies request more blood flow.  Hence, the cardiovascular activities.  The benefits of this will be a stronger heart muscle, a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, improved circulation and better lung and circulatory system capacity.  There is no denying its benefits.  What it boils down to is the question of whether to do long periods of steady-state exercise or to cycle short bursts of 100% intensity followed by moderate activity.  Just what is the best cardio for fat loss?

Steady State Cardio

As the name suggests, steady state cardio is what you are doing when running, biking, cycling, walking, etc. at the same speed for 20, 30, 40 minutes or more.  The advantages of this method are:

  • It is straight forward to understand and perform.
  • If one is not in very good physical condition, it still can be done.
  • Many steady-state routines can be done on low impact equipment.

Disadvantages include:

  • Prolonged, repeated use of non-low impact routines (like jogging) can damage joints and connective tissues which will increase the chance of injury.  This is especially true for those of us over 40 years of age.
  • Doing too much steady-state can put your body in an over-stressed situation which will counteract the muscle gains you make from weight training.
  • It takes more time to burn as much fat as you may want.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This method of cardio also neatly fits its name.  You have a burst of full-effort activity (maybe 60 seconds) followed by a couple minutes of moderate effort (don't stop moving) followed again by a full-effort burst and so-on.  Do this for 10-20 minutes, at the most. 

Advantages of HIIT are:

  • Burns much more fat than steady state.  It even continues burning fat after you are done with the exercise sequence.  This is the same reason why I recommend weight training to you.  Your resting metabolism is higher, burning more calories at rest.
  • You spend less time doing cardio per session with fewer sessions each week.

Disadvantages of HIIT:

  • It is not for the faint of heart.  You definitely have to build up to it.  I nearly threw up after about 6 minutes the first time I tried it using battle ropes.  Now, I do about 20 minutes each time.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, only you can decide which method is your best cardio for fat loss.  Here is some more information on the topic.  However, I will leave you with this image.  Which one do you want to emulate, the marathoner on the left or the sprinter?

› Best Cardio