There are many ways to do cardio, but to put them in categories, there is walking, running, cycling and jumping rope. Which cardio is the best for fat loss? I will share the factors, the pros and cons of each and come to a conclusion to help you make your fat loss journey easier and more sustainable.
When you’re choosing your cardio workout, you should find a workout that burns the most the calories. Find the workout that you can do according to your fitness levels and the workout that is best for your sustainable fat loss journey.
There are many other cardio options, but these are these four are ones that I alternate between and recommend.
Walking can take the form of street walking and treadmills (even though it can be more intense with incline options). You should aim to walk a brisk pace, which is said to be about 100 steps per minute for those who don’t have a high fitness level. As your fitness levels increase, you will have to increase your speed to get the same effect on your heart rate as required.
Pros: It is easy to start and continue due to the fact that it can be done anywhere and causes less harm on your joints than most cardio exercises.
Cons: It is not the most effective way of burning calories. It would require you to walk a brisk pace for a long period of time before you burn an effective amount.
Running can also be in the form of running in the streets or on the treadmill. It is a popular form of cardio and for good reason, but it can be damaging in the long-term.
Pros: Running can burn more than double the calories you burn walking. It is effective in fat loss, as can be seen with most runners, they are usually lean.
Cons: Running is a high-impact activity that can cause injury. Injuries such as sprained ankles or knees or just falling is not uncommon. Find yourself some comfortable shoes and ensure that you’ve got decent running form to combat this.
Cycling is one of the least high-impact activities, but can be the most intense. Whether you’re using your bicycle or a spinning bike, you can change the intensity according to your requirements and fitness levels.
Pros: It is a low-impact activity, therefore you won’t be putting your joints under heavy strain. It is a very good calorie burner. If you’re one that likes to check out the scenery, it is a good way to see the world too.
Cons: It is costly buying a bicycle or spinning bike or even a gym membership for spinning, nevermind the other things, such as a helmet or those special biking shoes. Otherwise, it would be a good long-term investment for fat loss.
4. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is a cardio workout which you hear about and see athletes, especially boxers use. It is also cardio that can be done anywhere and jump rope is relatively cheap.
Pros: Jumping rope works multiple muscles in your body, so it can make for an intense full body workout too.
Cons: The constant contraction in your feet and calves can cause cramps in them, which get very uncomfortable. This is especially when you jump rope for long periods.
How to Make the Most of Fat Loss with Cardio
One form of cardio is hardly ever recommended, being able to alternate between slow and steady and fast and intense workouts is how you can maximise fat loss. Goals that you can put in place to achieve in terms of cardio:
- Walk at least 10 000 steps a day or work towards it
- Run at least 2-5 km every week
- Cycle for at least 5-10 km every week
- Jump rope for at least 5-15 minutes after a workout
These are just simple goals to aim for when you start, but they are there meant to develop healthy habits. It doesn’t matter how much you train, you have to eat in a calorie deficit to lose fat and do resistance training to get a “shredded” or “toned” look.
Which is the Best for Fat Loss?
It depends, if you’re looking to burn a lot of calories with moderate to high intensity cardio, running, cycling and jumping rope will always be better than walking. Walking can be more sustainable though, due to the ease of doing it and more chance of having a partner with you.
If you want a workout that is low-impact and high-intensity, cycling is your best option off this list, but if you want a workout that works your whole body and is high-intensity, jump rope is the best option off this list. Running is one which you should try alternate with whenever you can.
I recommend alternating between long distance runs at a steady pace and high-intensity interval training with all these cardio options and others, because that’s how you get the best results for fat loss.