If you’re like most guys, you do cardio to help you stay lean and show off the muscle gains you get from hitting the weights, aka “the usual workout routine.” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But when it comes to which type of cardio is best for burning fat, you have to decide which lean body type you’re going for. “If you train like a distance runner, you’ll get a distance runner’s body: little muscle, very lean from lots of miles logged at relatively slower paces,” explains Chris Ryan, C.S.C.S. “If you train like a sprinter—short, high-intensity workouts—you’ll get a sprinter’s body with muscle growth and fat loss.”
Here’s something we can all agree on: Intensity is paramount. As intensity rises, more calories get burned. That’s why high-intensity interval workouts are a great choice for getting shredded while maintaining (or even gaining) muscle.
Here are the expert-approved top 10 types of cardio to help you lose weight faster and show results sooner:
These machines were originally designed to minimize impact on the knees and hips, but still allow a great workout. “Because the impact is quite low, the calorie-burning effect isn’t as great as other cardio machines, like treadmills and stairmasters,” explains Roger Adams, Ph.D., an expert in nutrition and weight loss. “However, the elliptical machine can be an excellent way to burn calories without wearing out your joints.” While the average 180-lb. man may only burn close to 500-600 calories per hour if he’s going at an above moderate pace, you can get even more out of it by switching up the intensity, speed, and resistance.
The best way to burn fat on an elliptical: Add a high incline to really activate more leg muscles, especially your glutes. “This movement can simulate stair-climbing without the impact,” says Adams. “Lower the incline and increase the resistance and you have a cross-country skiing feel to your workout that really works your quads.” As with the stepmill, don’t hold on to the handles or rails too tightly as this can reduce your efforts and lead to shoulder or wrist pain.