By Butch Peterson
Shift yourself into fat-blasting overdrive with these 10 surefire tips to boost the burn!
1. Active Warm-up: Jumpstart your cardio with an active warm-up of fast-paced exercise. Rope jumping is an express train to the cardio red zone! Add a short bout with a jump rope before your cardio session to maximize your calorie burn and melt away the pounds! You can also jog in place or hop on a cardio machine if rope jumping is not your cup of tea. The most important thing is to keep the intensity level high for this brief stint.
2. Keep moving: Taking a rest break in which you don’t move at all between tough portions of your cardio workout allows lactate and other metabolites to build up in your muscles. Drinking water combined with continued motion will allow you to flush out the bad and fill up with the good fluids so you’ll be stronger for the next bout of exercise.
3. Keep the old, but add the new: Stick with what works for you and add to it. Spicing up your training, such as adding a stair climber session on top of an elliptical workout, will help you reach a higher fitness level and burn more fat.
4. Save your sole: If you run, walk, jog, or perform a specific cardio activity more than three times a week, you can really pummel your feet. Wearing a shoe specifically designed for your activity will help your feet be comfortable during your workout and help to avoid injury. Cross-training shoes are a good bet if you vary your activities.
5. Heads up! Many people stare at the flashing lights on the machine console or hunch over the machine like a gorilla when they’re on exercise equipment. But experts say keeping your eyes on the horizon promotes longer strides and more efficient use of oxygen, which in turn helps you burn more calories.
6. Use the buddy system: Don’t suffer alone. Research shows that individuals who exercise with a friend are more than twice as likely to stick to their cardio programs than those who exercise alone.
7. Use a gentle touch: While the treadmill, stair climber and elliptical machines all have strong hand-holds, it’s best to hold the rails only lightly, or not at all. Doing this will help you burn more calories. Individuals who support their bodyweight with their arms reduce the effectiveness of their workouts.
8. Get juiced! If you will be working out for at least 90 minutes, sports drinks are a better replacement fluid than water. Drinking sports drinks can help you replenish lost energy and fluids because they contain carbohydrates and water.
9. Cool down. Jumping off your machine immediately after an intense effort can throw your muscles into lactic limbo. Instead, cool down for a few minutes gradually at moderate speeds and intensities. If you feel you have worked out at a higher intensity than usual, cool down an extra five to 10 minutes.
10. Keep it up! Regular cardio workouts help you become more energetic, decrease fatigue levels, and help you continue to chisel away fat. Consistent cardio will also lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and encourage your body to release mood-elevating endorphins.