There are dozens of faster and more highly effective fat burning exercises out there at your disposal than anything you can do on the treadmill.
I hope I didn’t piss off any of you die hard cardio lovers out there.
The fact is, if you are a long, slow cardio addict because you truly love it then don’t let anything I say here stop you from doing what you get enjoyment out of.
But if you are doing so with fat loss in mind but haven’t yet seen the results you were hoping for then perhaps it is time to start adding more appropriate activities into your workout regime. You can even work them into your home workouts!
Here are some of my favorite alternate fat burning exercises (in no particular order) to plodding along on the dumb ‘ole treadmill:
1. Shuttle runs – traditionally, a runner starts at the middle of 3 markers, each 20 yards away from another (the outer two markers are 40 years apart). The runner sprints to the right until he reaches the marker, stops, and turns to run the complete 40 yards to the opposite marker. The runner then stops, turns around and sprints back to the middle marker where he began.
2. Short sprints – Sprint for 8 seconds then recover with a light jog for 12 seconds. Repeat these intervals for 20 minutes.
3. Stair running – A great way to get your heart rate up and one of my favorites! Try running up a flight of stairs at home or at a local park. Recover by jogging back down. Also try skipping steps while running up them as well as stair hopping.
4. Kettlebell swinging – Another one of my favorite workouts. Try using the kettlebell 2 arm swing for a great fat burning exercise.
5. Bodyweight cardio – There a million and one ways to combine bodyweight exercises to get mean a fat burning workout. For starters, try doing burpees for 10 minutes, taking breaks as needed. See how many you can do it that time.
6. Swim sprints – I’m like a little fish so this one is definitely my favorite! Swim sprint one lap and then rest or swim a recovery lap. Repeat for 20 minutes. (note: here is where I throw my own “no cardio” rule out the window. I love swimming fast and I also love the challenge of seeing how many laps I can do in a row!)
7. Hill running – Sprinting up hills is another great fat burning exercise. Sprint to the top, and walk or job back down to recover. If you are really ambitious, you can sprint to the top and then do some kettlebell swings!
8. Recumbent bike intervals – One of the few cardio machines I approve of is the recumbent bike. No one knows why but research shows that this is an effective machine to use while doing a fat loss workout, IF you use it the right way. Try using the 8 seconds high intensity, 12 seconds recovery ratio (that I talked about during the sprints in #2) when using the bike and you are sure to get in a killer fat burning workout.
Remember, no matter what you do, just make sure you are always challenging yourself. You should be working hard and sweating while exercising, not chit chatting with your buddy on the next treadmill over.
Susan Campbell, MS, CSCS
Author, Ultimate Home Workouts