When you’ve got that extra fat to lose and you’re feeling kind of plump and dumpy (a terrible combination indeed), you’re natural inclination is to get out there and burn as many calories as fast as humanly possible. Your instinct is reinforced by nearly every fitness magazine, blog, and talking head telling you how important cardio is to fat burn.
So you go out there, do some jogging, maybe even dive into some HIIT or other sort of uptempo training, and really push yourself to the max. You keep it up for days…then weeks…then maybe even months. You’re expecting big results, but guess what? You’re still not satisfied. You still jiggle when you jump up and down. You’re body looks nothing like you’re envisioning. Bottom line, you need to figure out how to burn more fat.
If this scenario doesn’t sound all too uncommon, keep reading. Even if you’re doing the best cardio workouts in the world, giving 100% effort, AND eating a healthy diet, you STILL may not see the progress you want. The problem is, too many people focus themselves on simply performing cardio. They think running/biking/etc for X number of minutes should burn X number of calories. Stop thinking this way; it’s absolutely not how it works in the real world. In order to shed serious fat, burn calories, and make your cardio more effective, you need to find a way to perform better. Simply put, you’re 100% max-giving-everything-you’ve-got effort, may just not be enough to bring about the changes you want.
In other words, you need to get better at cardio. The good news is, improving your ability to perform cardio more explosively, at higher rates of exertion, for an extended period of time is something you can improve. In fact, that’s what this article is all about today; showing you the six ways to get better at cardio and dramatically improve your fat burn.
Up Your Cardio Game…Burn More Fat
Deadlifts. Do them regularly. By extensively training your posterior chain, you’re going to reap huge rewards when it comes to doing your cardio. Suddenly that extra mile doesn’t seem so bad. Sprinting up those hills comes much more easily. Getting a little higher on those box jumps happens naturally. You want to become a cardio all-star and the proud owner of a tight and lean body? Deadlifts are the keys to that kingdom.
Use a timer. When a workout gives you specific rest intervals, do yourself a favor and STICK TO THEM. Use a timer, your phone, watch the clock…whatever it takes. Workouts are created with specific time intervals for a reason. By adhering to their guidelines you’re going to boost your endurance faster. This of course will translate int your ability to push yourself longer and harder down the road.
Yoga. That’s right, getting active with yoga is going to turn you into a better cardio buff. The reason is simple; the majority of cardio is quite demanding on our joints and bones. Not only that, the act of extended cardio will only lead to decrease flexibility and tighten us up. Yoga counteracts this by improving muscle length (you want to be long and lean, right?), loosening up fascia, and improving flexibility of connective tissue. It’s also going to help you avoid injury and keep you in the game. One to two hours of yoga, just once or twice or a week will go a long way to helping you perform your fat-busting cardio workouts better than ever.
Seated Close Grip Rows. For some, this may seem odd. For those in the know, this makes perfect sense. By strengthening your mid-back, rear dealts, and biceps, you’re improving your ability to “explode” during your cardio workouts. A lot of the explosive part of sprints and plyometrics comes from our upper body. Strengthen the right areas to perform these exercises more effectively…which in turn means you’re burning more calories per cardio workout.
Decline Plate Curls. Similar to the above recommendation, training your core hard and heavy is vital for improving explosiveness. Grab a plate and hop on a decline bench. Perform multiple sets of 12-20 reps, coming all the way up and doing slight alternating twists at the top. You’re targeting your abdominal muscle, as well as obliques. Additionally, you’re strengthening muscles which are going to help protect against lower back injuries which are all-too-common in serious runners.
Max out jump rope sessions. I’ve used these in the past and they’ve done wonders for my ability to perform better, faster, and longer bouts of other cardio. Grab a rope and set a timer for around 5 minutes. Knock out as many skips on your rope as possible. You’re going for absolute speed here so no rest breaks…just skip slower when you begin to fatigue. Make note of your total skips and aim to beat it the next time. Jump roping is a total body exercise which will strength your upper and lower bodies, while giving you a great cardiovascular push. Use these short bouts of super intense work to make your body suddenly push to max exertion then come back down. Over time, your bodies’ ability to push itself further will improve..as will your ability to burn more calories during a single work out.
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Focus on the above six areas, and over time, you’ll watch your ability to perform cardio better, stronger, and faster, greatly improve. We haven’t lost sight of the end goal here; we want to get better at cardio to help us perform those killer HIIT workouts more effectively. By getting better at cardio, we’re going to burn more fat, zap calories, and develop the body we want in less time.
Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions or concerns by leaving a comment below.