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Best Cardio To Lose Fat

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When you think about doing cardio, where does your brain go? Long runs three to five days a week? An hour sweating it out on the treadmill with gym rats and TVs bombarding your senses? Or maybe it’s laps at the pool, bike loops around the local park, or a hardcore boot camp? Here’s the good news: cardio doesn’t have to be this way! In this article, we’re going to flip everything you think you know about this heart-pumping, heavy-breathing exercise on its head. Keep reading to find out our best tips to get your cardio on much more efficiently and effectively than with the old standards. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/cardio-benefits-infographic.jpg" alt="cardio-benefits-infographic"> </div> Common knowledge—and even advice from some experts—suggests that we should do long sessions of medium-intensity cardio if our goal is to burn fat. This is true to a certain extent. When we exercise, the body begins by burning up our stores of glycogen, the energy we get from food. Once we run out of *glycogen*, the body starts to burn fat. So, yes, long sessions of cardio in your fat-burning zone—generally around 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate—will help you burn fat. The problem is that fat burning stops as soon as you get off of the treadmill. That’s where our high-intensity training comes in. It boosts your metabolism for as long as 48 hours from your workout. In fact, a 2017 meta-analysis of 39 studies in *Sports Medicine* found that high-intensity exercise was more effective at reducing *whole body adiposity*—meaning fat—than a low-intensity workout, although they were both beneficial<sup>1</sup>. Another study found that over a twelve-week period, participants who did a 10-minute high-intensity workout three times per week saw results in their cardiovascular and metabolic health *equivalent* to those who performed 45 minutes of steady-state cardio three times weekly instead<sup>2</sup>. That’s why we’re going to show you a sample workout that will take you just four minutes a few days per week. You can do it anywhere you have a little bit of space to stretch out: no gym memberships, no fancy equipment, just you! Let’s dive in by learning exactly why old-school cardio just isn’t giving you the results you want. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Why Traditional Cardio Doesn’t Work</p></h4> There are several reasons why you’re not burning fat from low- or moderate-intensity cardio, and we’re going to explain them here. First, traditional cardio is all about repetitive motion, whether that’s time on the elliptical, a session with a rowing machine, or even just a long run. The problem with this is that as we age and begin to experience aches and pains in our bodies, we start to overcompensate with certain muscles. This is also true of exercise, meaning that you not only risk increased pain or injury from these repetitive movements, but you also fail to work other muscles in the process. Our plan is made up of several different exercises, each of which will target different muscle groups. Second, moderate-intensity cardio does burn fat, but extended sessions can cause you to burn lean muscle mass as well. Muscle mass is a key component in regulating our metabolism. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is—that means you burn more fat. So while moderate-intensity cardio may cause you to lose weight initially, over time you may reach a plateau in your strength and weight loss goals. Our cardio plan will help you build lean muscle to boost your body’s fat-blasting ability. Finally, when you exercise for long periods of time, your body begins to release *cortisol*, also known as the ‘stress hormone.’ Cortisol helps us get through dangerous or stressful situations by shutting down non-essential functions—like digestion—and holding on to fat, a source of stored energy for the body. If you’ve been struggling to get rid of those last 10 or 20 pounds, your cortisol might just be the cause. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/cortisol-diagram-stress.jpg" alt="cortisol-diagram-stress"> </div> Cortisol also causes what’s known as a *compensatory eating response*. When cortisol is circulating, you’re likely to eat more and to consume high-fat and high-sugar foods when you do<sup>3</sup>. Of course, you can go overboard with high-intensity training as well which may cause similar results. High-intensity training can actually *increase* your glucose metabolism by up to 58 percent, meaning that even if you do reach for that donut after a workout, your body will burn those calories much more efficiently<sup>4</sup>. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/junk-food-infographic.jpg" alt="junk-food-infographic"> </div> As you can see, standard medium-intensity exercise just isn’t the way to go if you really want to burn fat and transform your body. Up next, we’ll share the best cardio to lose fat with the science to back it up. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">High-Intensity Cardio for Fat Loss</p></h4> So what is the key to burn fat effectively in as little as four minutes? It’s a powerful type of workout known as *High-Intensity Cardiovascular Training* (HICT), a safer version of *High-Intensity Interval Training* (HIIT). HICT is made up of short, intense bursts of exercise followed by brief periods of rest. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/high-intensity-cardio-training-tyler.jpg" alt="high-intensity-cardio-training-tyler"> </div> If you’re someone with chronic or repetitive injuries, you might be scared off by this description, but don’t fret! Coach Tyler—a fitness expert and the founder of Warrior Made—has undergone multiple knee surgeries and has found that nothing has helped him recover from those injuries, lose weight, and build muscle mass better than HICT. Our HICT program uses multiple different exercises rather than repetitive movements, making it a great option for those looking to relieve and improve chronic pain. HICT tells your brain to briefly enter into fight or flight mode, triggering the release of adrenaline, testosterone, and growth hormone. These hormonal shifts tell your body to build lean muscle mass while dropping excess fat, and they can even improve your mental focus and clarity. You might think that this would also increase your cortisol levels, but the increase in these hormones actually limits the amount of cortisol in your system. That in turn prevents you from producing too much estrogen which causes your body to deposit fat in places like your butt and thighs. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/adrenaline-testosterone-hgh-info.jpg" alt="adrenaline-testosterone-hgh-info"> </div> The testosterone boost, however, will leave you feeling energetic with less need for sleep. It’s also going to make you feel stronger and recover faster. Plus, HICT is a type of *excess post-energy oxygen consumption* (EPOC) exercise which, in brief, means that it triggers your metabolism to stay high even after you’ve finished working out<sup>5</sup>. A study from the United States Sports Academy and two Colorado universities also found that 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training burns 25 to 30 percent more calories overall than the same amount of time spent lifting weights and doing steady-state cycling or running<sup>6</sup>. As you can tell, HICT has some major scientifically-backed advantages over medium-intensity cardio. Now, that we’ve got the facts, let’s learn a perfect four-minute high-intensity cardio program to help you lose fat! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Best Sample Fat-Burning Cardio Workout</p></h4> This workout features one of our favorite exercises, the *Sit to Stand*. Here’s how to do it: 1. Stand in front of a couch or chair with your feet hip-width apart. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/tyler-standing-by-couch.jpg" alt="tyler-standing-by-couch"> </div> 2. With 70% of the weight on your heels and 30% on the balls of your feet, hinge at the hips to lower yourself down to sit briefly. Just make sure your knees don’t wobble in or out as you do this. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/tyler-sitting-hands-hips-couch.jpg" alt="tyler-sitting-hands-hips-couch"> </div> 3. Press through your heels to stand back up, then repeat. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/tyler-standing-wide-by-couch.jpg" alt="tyler-standing-wide-by-couch"> </div> If you’re feeling confident, try out the *Sit to Hop* instead. Instead of simply standing, push hard through your heels to jump up as high as you can. Land softly then begin the next repetition immediately. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/tyler-standing-by-couch.jpg" alt="tyler-standing-by-couch"> </div> Both of these moves are great for building lower body strength while getting your heart, lungs, and metabolism pumping. To make this into a full workout, choose one of these exercises. Do your chosen move for 20 seconds, then take a 10-second rest. Repeat this for eight rounds until you’ve reached four full minutes. You can do this quick workout in the morning, at night, even during the commercials while you’re watching TV. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Conclusion</p></h4> What we’ve shown you here is the key to quickly and effectively burning fat in as little as four minutes per day. High-intensity training might seem buzzworthy, but it’s got plenty of science to back it up. And that’s not to mention the incredible results we’ve seen from hundreds of Warrior Made participants over the years. You can get started with this workout program today by doing a four-minute sit to stand or sit to hop circuit or by doing intervals of one of the many other exercises we’ve shared with you here on the Warrior Made website. If you want to take another step in your body and health transformation, check out our <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/"><strong>Go2 Protein</strong></a> for muscle health, hair health, gut health, and so much more. With a great high-intensity cardio program in your arsenal, a happier, healthier body is well within your reach! <h5><p style="color: #000000">Resources</p></h5> 1. <a target="_blank" href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-017-0807-y">Effect of High-Intensity Interval Training on Total, Abdominal and Visceral Fat Mass</a> 2. <a target="_blank" href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075">Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health</a> 3. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20886014">Low fat loss response after medium-term supervised exercise in obese is associated with exercise-induced increase in food reward</a> 4. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/metabolic-effects-of-hiit?ACE_ACCESS=70f2afd356196a1319596ab70b23ce48">Metabolic Effects of HIIT</a> 5. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1440244015000481">Effect of continuous and intermittent bouts of isocaloric cycling and running exercise</a> 6. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162652">Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training</a>

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