Cardio — the word alone invokes fear, anxiety and perhaps even nausea into anyone who is trying to lose weight. When I was in my 20’s, I wouldn’t even think about cardio. My metabolism was lighting fast and I could smash weights all day and eat well to stay in shape. Fast forward 20 years later, and I’m not so lucky anymore. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article, we’re in the same boat.
Cardio became a must, but striding along an elliptical machine for 45 minutes was absolutely agonizing. I decided that there had to be another way. I mean, why does cardio have to be droll and boring? Why can’t it be as exciting and fulfilling as lifting weights? Well, the truth is, it can.
Here’s your three-week cardio blaster that will take your fat burning to the next level, while sparing your sanity:
GET MOTIVATED TO STICK TO YOUR CARDIO WORKOUT WITH THIS TRAINING MENU
WEEK 1: HIIT CARDIO – 4 DAYS PER WEEK / 20 MINUTES EACH SESSION
The science is out on this fantastic technique to shed fat. We now know that as little as 20 minutes of HIIT cardio burns more calories than going at a steady pace on a treadmill or elliptical machine.
Keep your interval times at two minutes of steady pace followed by 30 seconds of all-out intensity, then return back to the same steady pace for two minutes. Repeat this until you’ve completed 20 minutes.
You’ll also be happy to know that because of the repetitive bursts of energy, your body will continue to burn calories up to 24 hours after you’ve completed your HIIT cardio.
WEEK 2: ANAEROBIC CIRCUIT TRAINING – 3 DAYS PER WEEK / 5 ROUNDS COMPLETED
This method combines strength training movements with cardio to create a full body circuit that builds both muscular endurance and cardio capacity. The result? Double the fat-burning potential. Take four to five simple exercises like push-ups, resistance band curls, lateral raises and squats, and select a cardio exercise you enjoy. I’ll use a jump rope as an example.
Perform each exercise one after the other but, in between each set, add 90 seconds of jump rope. Waste no time transitioning from rope to exercise, and once the circuit is complete, give yourself a 90-second rest period. If you’re able to complete five rounds easily, add a couple of more exercises to your circuit.
WEEK 3: TABATA TRAINING – 3 DAYS PER WEEK / 1 ROUND COMPLETED
Didn’t think that you could get fit by simply exercising for four minutes, right? Well, with the Tabata method, you can actually get groundbreaking results by doing just that. Tabata training consists of working at 100% output for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds rest.
This sequence is completed eight times. It resembles HIIT Training, except Tabata is shorter and much more intense. Even still, it has been a proven technique to burn maximum calories in a short amount of time, as well as promote continuous fat burning post workout.
Feel free to use this program throughout your training regimen and switch up the order as well. Remember that exercise should always be accompanied by a thorough warm-up, stretching and a proper diet.