If you're on a mission to part with some body fat, you probably already know that cardiovascular exercise is vital for speeding up the process. There are a ton of options when it comes to different types of cardio, but if weight loss is your goal, the top contenders are those that will maximize your calorie burn. For indoor workouts, running on a treadmill and indoor cycling classes are both excellent fat blasters. Consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
Running is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories. A 160-pound person can burn over 600 calories per hour at the leisurely pace of 5 mph. Increase the speed to 8 mph and that figure jumps to over 800 per hour. You can rev up calorie burning on a treadmill by doing high-intensity intervals. Even if you just increase intensity for a few minutes at a time during a long run, you'll increase your calorie burn from steady-state runs. According to IDEA Health and Fitness Association, interval training also has the added benefit of increasing your post-workout metabolic rate. You can create intense intervals while running on a treadmill by increasing the speed, incline or both. Use a variety of interval lengths and recovery periods to keep your body guessing.
According to Spinning.com, the average participant burns 400 to 600 calories during a 40-minute class, which is the same as or more than what most people will burn during a steady-state run for the same amount of time. Indoor cycling classes are incredible calorie burners because they usually consist of a lot of high-intensity intervals. This type of training is also great for maximal aerobic conditioning. Many people are able to stick to indoor cycling classes because they enjoy the camaraderie and accountability of a class environment, or need pushing from one of spinning's notoriously excitable instructors.
Maximizing the Benefits of Both
When it comes to maximizing your calorie burn for any cardiovascular exercise, the name of the game is intensity. There's a huge difference between casually jogging on treadmill with no incline and sprinting with the treadmill hiked up to an insane grade. Similarly, a ho-hum spin instructor who leads a relaxed class is not equivalent to a supercharged instructor who takes you through a methodical mix of sprints and climbs while pushing you to new levels. The most radical changes occur outside of your comfort zone. You can maximize the benefits of running, spinning or any workout by committing to feverishly push yourself.
Which Is Best for Your Weight-Loss Efforts?
Who says you have to choose just one? Unless you have your heart set on sticking with one type of cardiovascular exercise, choosing to do treadmill running and indoor cycling on different days will pack a mean calorie-burning punch. Since the two workouts use your muscles in different ways, they are excellent cross-training exercises for each other. It's a good idea to include a variety of exercises in your weight-loss program to keep your body from reaching a plateau. In the end, the exercises you enjoy the most are going to be the most beneficial because they're the workouts you're most likely to stick with.
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.