When you’re striving to lose weight, aim to burn at least 600 calories per workout. A cardio-based interval workout will accelerate your calorie burn along with your heart rate.
Interval cardio fitness consists of moving from high-intensity to low-intensity exercises in set time intervals – mix short sprints into your daily run or add hill climbs to your bike rides.
The best exercises are those you can do daily, so choose ones you enjoy and don't be afraid to mix things up. Adding interval training to your fitness regime will not only burn the calories faster, it will keep your workout fresh.
Five cardio-intensive exercises to help you earn your burn:
While a daily walk can improve fitness levels and relieve stress and anxiety, if weight loss is your goal, running – not walking – is one of the quickest, most efficient exercises to help you lose weight and increase fitness.
Running burns about 650 calories per hour. As it’s difficult to run consistently for an hour though, interval training will help you reach a high-intensity burn faster, increasing your endurance, lowering your heart-rate recovery time and torching fat. Add in hill or stair sprints to your program, then recover with slower-paced runs.
Whether stationary or outdoors, cycling is one of the best forms of exercises for fitness. Sports physiologists have found that the body’s metabolic rate – the efﬁciency with which it burns calories and fat – is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards.
Even after cycling for 30 minutes, you could be burning a higher amount of total calories for a few hours after you stop,” says sports physiologist Mark Simpson of Loughborough University in the UK.
As with running, make sure you include both high- and low-intensity in your session. The more intense the workout, the quicker the calories will burn away.
A study by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, showed that cyclists who incorporated fast intervals into their ride burned significantly more body fat than those who cycled constantly at a moderate pace.
If it's rapid tone and weight loss you're after, boxing is the fitness choice for you. Many people think boxing only strengthens the arms but if done correctly, it’s a cardio workout for the whole body.
It’s a particularly good exercise for toning glutes and quadriceps – perfect if you’re trying to lose weight around your hips and thighs.
Boxing won’t make you bulk up – it’s a high-repetition fitness workout so you'll see tone rather than muscle. Combine high-intensity rounds with short rests and the calorie burn will continue after you’ve completed the workout.
The key to weight loss is to keep rest periods as short as possible. Many people take too much time between weightlifting sets, allowing the heart rate to slow down to a resting rate, which doesn’t burn as many calories.
Super-set weights – where you do two exercises one after the other with no rest in between – can increase the amount of calories you burn by 25 per cent compared to traditional straight sets, according to a study reported in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Do bicep curls super-setted with tricep push-downs. The first exercise works the pulling muscle and the second works the opposite muscle, using a pushing movement. You’ll get a greater calorie burn while strengthening, toning and improving your overall fitness. If you don’t have weights on hand, use soup cans or filled water bottles.
This is one of the simplest yet most effective exercises you can do. In just 15 to 20 minutes, skipping will give you an unparalleled total body workout, burning around 700 calories an hour. It’s ideal for cardiovascular endurance and it enhances performance in many sports – tennis, basketball, football, skiing and more.
Set yourself measurable goals such as 50 double-paced skips followed by 20 slower ones. You’ll definitely feel the burn.
Don’t forget to spend time stretching at the end of every workout. Those last five to ten minutes will help prevent injury and stop you feeling sore the next day. Mix things up with circuit training and, most importantly, one of the best fitness tips around is to find a form of exercise you love. That will definitely keep you coming back for more.