Contributed by Chloe Smith
Photo by Andrew Tanglao
There’s nothing like a good cardio to help you get a lean figure, but did you know that there are different types of cardio that you can apply for different types of looks? There’s a huge difference between a cyclist body than that of a sprinter, so it’s all up to you to decide how you really want to look. However, even people who do cardio on regular basis sometimes struggle to get lean, which is why it’s important to do it properly and with a plan. In this article, we’ll cover some of the best cardio workouts you can add to your routine if you’re looking to get that perfect, lean figure.
Steady Pace Running
A long run at a steady pace is a great way to burn fat and help you get lean, even though it has its drawbacks as well. You can burn up to 900 calories per hour by running at a speed of 7 miles per hour, which is really great considering it’s not the most intensive training you can do. On the bad side, running at lower intensity can break down your muscle, which is why you shouldn’t take a long run more than once per week. Also, make sure you’re doing your long runs on softer surfaces, as cement and blacktop can really hurt your body.
Jump Rope Workout
If you ever watched Rocky or any other boxing movie, you’re well aware that almost all martial art fighters jump the rope – and there’s a good reason for that. It will increase your foot speed all while burning through your calories like a hot knife through butter. It’s also an extremely cheap way of burning calories at home, so be sure to implement it in your routine. You can jump the rope at moderate speed, but the best way to burn calories is to add a one-minute intensity intervals, where you’ll be jumping the rope at maximum speed. Oh, and did I mention that jumping the rope also does the work on your shoulders and improves your overall coordination?
Photo by Jesper Stechmann
Swimming is one of those workouts that target your entire body which in itself is amazing for burning calories. Michael Phelps, the most successful swimmer of all times, had a diet of about 12,000 calories while preparing for the Olympics, which goes to tell you just how much energy a body can burn while in water. The best way to burn calories while swimming is by swimming at a high level, which can be difficult for most people, but doesn’t tire you down as much as sprinting. If you’re unable to swim at a high level for longer periods of time, swim at a moderate pace and do a fast lap every now and then.
This one’s great for people who can’t really run at high-intensity speed, since stair climbing will burn more calories than walking. Going up and down the stairs at a moderate pace will net you about 600 calories per hour, which is less than what you’d get with running, but still good for your figure. It will do a lot of work on your legs, but also put a lot of pressure on your joints, so it’s not an ideal workout for anyone with knee problems. To get more out of stair climbing, you can do it with some weight in your hands (Kettlebells come to mind), which will also incorporate the upper body workout into the routine.
Photo by Tiffany Nutt
You can go on a stationary bike in your local gym, but we prefer the real deal and strongly recommend actually riding a bike every day. Bicycles aren’t only a great way to get a perfect, lean body, but they’re also an effective means of transportation. It will improve your posture, strengthen your legs and core, all while being extremely easy to use. To really get the most out of your cycling routine, add high-intensity intervals for a couple of minutes, and then go back to the 80% of your capacity. Even if you don’t own a bike, just check out an online shop, and you can easily find just the right one for you.
Elliptical trainers were designed with minimizing pressure on the joints in mind, all while still providing a great workout. While elliptical won’t burn nearly as many calories as some other cardio machines, it will do it in a safer way – you’ll lose weight while preserving your joints. Moderate pace on this machine will get you a loss of about 600 calories, but if you’re looking to get more out of it you can easily add more intensity and resistance. Also, holding tightly on the handles will significantly reduce the impact of this machine, so try to hold them with an easier grip for best results.
I know, I know, this isn’t exactly what you’d call a regular cardio workout, but hear me out. Kettlebell workouts are so good for burning calories it’s important to give them a chance. These types of workouts won’t only help you lose weight, but also add some strength into the equation. You’ll be able to burn up to 1200 calories per hour if you implement kettlebells into your routine, but it’s more realistic to only go with half the time for 600 calories. Practice with kettlebells for about 40 seconds and then rest for 20, then repeat as many rounds as you can.
Whether it’s outside or in a gym on a treadmill, sprinting is the single best cardio workout for burning calories. It’s extremely simple and will burn insane amounts of calories for you, and you can easily implement it into your regular jogging routine. Much like swimming, sprinting will do the work on every muscle in your body, which can really speed things up towards your goal. Switch between jogging and sprinting for best results. You can also use the stairs for greater results, just run up the stairs at maximum speed and jog your way down to rest a bit.
Getting a lean figure is never simple, and this is especially true for some people who have a harder time burning calories. It’s important to note that your diet plays a big role too – eating too many carbs can really slow things down for you, while a protein diet can get you to your goal in a couple of months. If you have the time, combine multiple workouts we mentioned for best results, and you’ll get your lean figure in no time.
Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast, business consultant, and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success.