Depending on your fitness goals, the type of cardio you choose will vary. Not to say that one type is better than the next, but the specific cardio path you take might lead you to another destination or outcome that you didn’t want. So it’s important to understand the different ways that a person can go about cardiovascular training for fat loss.
Let me use a simple analogy that I’ve heard over and over during my training experience…
If you wanted to get from Point A to Point B, (let’s say its Phoenix AZ to New York) there are many different ways you can go about traveling to get there. The fastest way would be to fly, obviously. Other ways could include driving, taking a train, cycling, or even walking. Whatever way you choose to get there is up to you. Some are faster than others and some are slow and steady. The point is that all of these will get you to the same destination; it just depends on your individual preference and what works best for you.
It’s the exact same thing with cardio for fat loss. Cardio is just a vehicle to get you to your fat loss destination. The fastest way may give you quick results, but it could have its costs. With high intensity cardio, you might end up sacrificing some muscle to get to your ideal body fat percentage at a faster pace; just like flying across the country, the fees will most likely leave your wallet feeling empty.
So with that being said, how do you know which type of cardio training is best? Remember, your body is unique. Everyone will have their own way to get to Point B. My suggestion to you is to experiment with your various options. The key here is to not jump around from one to the next on a week-to-week basis. Try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for 3-4 weeks and record your results. This type of cardio involves intervals of high intensity for a short period (30 sec to 1 minute), then a slower pace for the next 2-3 minutes, then repeat. This is one of the best forms of cardiovascular training for fat loss. The reason why is because the body MUST HAVE oxygen present in order to call upon fat for fuel. If you stay on the same pace for the full 30-45 minutes of cardio, some fat may be called upon, but most likely your energy will come from your glycogen stores instead.
If you are a less experienced exerciser, this method may be too much to begin with. Simply walking around the block or on a treadmill may call upon your fat stores as well.
So if you like to play sports or train outside, do that. If you are a swimmer and you spend the majority of your time in the water, then do that. The best part is that HIIT can be applied to almost any type of cardiovascular activity, even walking. I’ve personally gotten my heart rate up to 210 beats per minute just from a walking interval; so I know it can be done.
My advice to you is to find a few cardio training methods that best suit your needs and goals. Try experimenting and see how your body reacts after a few weeks. Once you’ve done the elliptical, bike or treadmill, move on to something else. The body must be forced to adapt to new changes in order to progress. So keep the fat-loss ball rolling and you’ll see results in no time!
One last thing…
Diet and cardio go together like peanut butter and jelly. You won’t get results from just using one. Does a jelly sandwich sound good to you? Nah, me either. So make sure you’re burning off more calories than you’re taking in when you’re training for fat loss!