Cardio Tips: The Complete List (Tips That Will Get You Faster Results)
Whether you’re aiming to lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, or simply maintain a well-rounded fitness regime – cardio is crucial. While building muscle is important, there’s no denying that the most efficient fat-loss tool is good, old-fashioned cardio.
With all kinds of advice floating around about what kind of cardio to do, as well as how much of it you should be doing, it can be confusing to figure out how to proceed. To make this job a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of over 100 handy tips.
Have a read through this advice. The next time you hit the treadmill, it will be with confidence!
Best cardio tips
- Include sprinting intervals. By alternating between a few minutes at a moderate pace and throwing in bursts at a faster pace, you’ll burn more calories, build endurance, and become faster and stronger.
- Many forms of cardio are all about the legs, so when possible, maximize your cardio time by focusing on working your arms as well. Swing them while running, use the moving handles on the elliptical, or even try rowing for an upper and lower body cardio workout.
- In order to build overall body strength and endurance and to prevent repetitive stress injuries, it’s important not to do the same type of cardio all the time. Include at least 3 different kinds of cardio each week to maximize results.
- Find ways to make your cardio workout more challenging. Stand instead of resting your buttocks on the seat when on your bike, run with high knees, try the more advanced version of the move your fitness instructor is demonstrating, and do the more intense butterfly stroke instead of the crawl.
- There are plenty of ways to up the intensity and hit your aerobic zone without running. Try this: Use light weights, like dumbbells or kettlebells, for a fast-paced strength-training session. That means minimal rest between sets to boost your heart rate and metabolism.
- Try Tabata as part of your cardio workouts. 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, which is repeated for a total of four minutes.
- Combining strength training and cardio into one workout will produce results in as little as eight minutes. Instead of sprinting and stopping, do a bodyweight exercise during your rest period.
- Doing a dynamic warmup before cardio will increase mobility, decrease your chance of injury, and prepare your body’s systems for the task at hand. Skip it and you’re bound to get hurt.
- After cardio, bring your heart rate back down by cooling down. This will improve your recovery process and progressively slow the body down after an intense session.
- One great cardio session has never gotten anyone anywhere. One month of great cardio sessions has. Get into a routine and stick with it. Develop a process from warmup to cool down.
Cardio tips for beginners
- Start your cardio slowly! Doing too much to begin with will cause overly muscles, and can lead to injuries and burnouts. Depending on your endurance levels, you may want to begin with only 5-10 minutes and increase as your endurance levels improve.
- Choose cardio that you enjoy and one which you can do on a regular basis. If you try to force yourself into doing a specific workout which you hate, there’s a good chance that you won’t stick to it long enough to see results.
- Instead of using the same machine at the gym for your whole workout, do 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes of the elliptical and 10 minutes of the bike. Since you’re only doing short bursts of cardio, you can push yourself at bit more.
- Don’t give up on cardio! When you’re just starting out, it can seem to only take a little activity to get you winded. Cardiovascular endurance improves with time, and practice makes progress. Be patient with yourself and focus on your journey!
- Not sure where to start? Just start walking! We are designed to do it, and while it’s not the most productive in regard to calorie burn, it will help to build the foundations to increase endurance and avoid injury.
- If you’re just starting out, you may not know how much exercise your body can handle. A great place to start is with about 3 days of exercise with a day of rest in between. This will allow you to get a feel for how your body responds to exercise and how it feels to stick to a workout schedule.
- Make sure you warm up! Begin with a 5-10 minute warm up of light cardio to gradually increase heart rate. Going out too hard or fast will only make it feel worse.
- End each workout with a cool down of light cardio and stretch the muscles you’ve worked to relax and keep your muscles flexible.
- Each week, increase your workout time by a few minutes until you can work continuously for 30 minutes a session. Even if you just increase by one minute per workout, that’s enough!
- To start with, don’t worry about distance or pace. For the first few weeks, focus on showing up for your cardio workouts and building time. You have plenty of time to work on your speed and distance.
Cardio tips for men
- Do high-intensity interval cardio. You may not burn quite as high a ratio of fat to carbs as low-intensity cardio, but you’ll burn substantially more calories overall, leading to greater fat loss.
- Looking to lose the fat in your chest? Sweating regularly is the key! A regular rowing routine won’t specifically target chest fat, but it will tone the upper body (and the lower)…win-win!
- Turning up at the gym without a clear plan of what you want to achieve from that cardio session is a recipe for disaster. Once your know your objective and how long it’s going to take, break it down into challenging but achievable milestones to keep you on track.
- Combine your cardio with strength-training bodyweight exercises. This will get you sweating as well as fatigue your muscles.
- Don’t be afraid to try cardio classes at the gym, guys! They are not just for women and Zumba or aerobics classes can give you a whole different cardio workout. Give it a try!
- Looking to lose fat but keep your muscle guys? Combine fasted cardio with high-intensity interval training, and you will see pronounced fat loss results.
- Are you skinny enough and don’t think you need cardio? Wrong! Neglecting cardio might help you grow a little bigger, but at the cost of poor athleticism and poor cardiovascular health. So don’t skip it!
- Are you looking for a new cardio workout? Jump rope could be your answer. It is a low impact exercise to preserve muscle mass while improving footwork and conditioning.
- Even if this is a weight-training day, you can still incorporate some cardio. Sprinting before lifting is ideal for improving performance and potentiating the nervous system for heavy lifts and explosive training.
- Stuck in a cardio rut, guys? Why not use sleds in your next cardio workout? Sleds provide additional training volume without undue eccentric stress, thus preserving recoverability. And, done properly, they will definitely get your lungs burning!
Cardio tips for women
- Blast fat with a circuit that includes strength training and cardio: Do a set of push-ups, jump rope for a minute, do a set of squats, jump rope again; continue to alternate strength and cardio. You’re building muscle while keeping your heart rate high.
- Do intense cardio intervals 2-3x/week. HIIT is more effective at boosting fat metabolism over longer duration moderate intensity cardio.
- Doing too much cardio is tough on your joints and ligaments. Listen to your body and rest when needed.
- There is such a thing as too much cardio! Too much cardio will result in burning muscle instead of fat. So don’t feel like you should be on the treadmill for hours every day.
- Work at YOUR level of current fitness cardio level. Don’t compare yourself to others around you, just focus on you and what you are capable of doing.
- Understand that becoming healthy is a lifestyle, it requires commitment and effort. Sure cardio is important but it’s training the mind that really matters!
- Combine your cardio with strength training! It will provide far greater benefits for your whole body and will aid in your fat-loss goals.
- The key to any cardio program is to show up consistently. Doing so will mean you’ll gain strength, confidence and a determination to keep going.
- Set small attainable goals instead of unrealistic ones. So instead of telling yourself you’re going to run a marathon next month, simply focus on just trying to improve your pace from week to week, even if it’s only by a few seconds.
- Consider training in all your long cardio sessions for quick HIIT bursts of cardio. Not only does this kind of workout burn major calories during the session, but will help you burn more calories throughout the day.
Cardio tips for weight loss
- If your goal is weight loss, incorporate 4-6, 30-60 minute cardio sessions per week into your training schedule. This will help you to burn more calories that you take in.
- If you are trying to lose weight, follow your weight training with cardio. Since lifting depletes glycogen stores, your body is more likely to use fat as its first source during cardio, which will burn more calories.
- Most cardio workouts last between 30 or 45 minutes, so burn more calories by pushing yourself a little longer.
- To make a serious dent in your weight-loss program, work out in your target zone most of the time.
- Choose a cardio activity that you can sustain for a good while — say, at least 10 or 15 minutes. Sure, running burns more calories than walking, but if running wipes you out after a half mile or bothers your knees, you’re better off walking.
- The simplest, most available cardio exercise around is walking. If you’re searching to burn calories and lose weight you can’t just head out for a stroll. In order to see results you need a brisk, moderately-fast pace in order to get your heart rate up and torch those calories.
- Kettlebell workouts combine strength training with cardio for a complete workout. And if you want a calorie burn, look no further. They can help you burn up to 20 calories per minute, which is the equivalent to running a 6-minute mile!
- One of the best cardio exercises for weight loss is jumping rope! It’s not only a calorie blaster but helps build bone density, strengthens your legs and makes your heart stronger.
- High Intensity Interval Training increases the body’s need for oxygen, causing your system to search for that oxygen and therefore burn more calories than lower intensity training.
- The rowing machine is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. Set a clock for 20 minutes, row 250 metres as fast as possible, rest for one minute and then repeat for the entire 20 minutes.
Cardio tips for losing belly fat
- Incorporate HIIT cardio into your workout routines! Intervals are proven to reduce belly fat because they burn more calories from fat. AND, it also raises your metabolism for about 4 hours after you’ve completed the workout!
- Include 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio daily for the most effective reduction in stomach fat.
- Try to get in your cardio exercises in the morning before eating your first meal. Exercising in this fasted state means your body will be using energy from its storage form — fat, especially belly fat.
- Remember to include abdominal and core toning exercises. Although cardio is responsible for burning and reducing overall body fat, adding in some light strength training can help tone your stomach.
- Do a spin class or include high intensity biking. Spin classes and high intensity biking is a great exercise that will burn large amounts of calories and belly fat.
- A great cardio exercise for losing belly fat is walking, as it puts all of the abdominal muscles to work. Make sure you swing your arms and contract your midsection while you walk, and maintain a brisk pace.
- Cardio will target both visceral and peripheral fat in the stomach area, which means that by doing cardio, as well as losing belly fat, you will also be decreasing your risk for metabolic problems like diabetes and heart disease.
- Do more HIIT! It causes a significant release of growth hormones in your body, which helps to burn fat all over your body J
- Wanting to lose belly fat? When running, try sprinting for 30 seconds, as hard you can go and then recover for 1-3 minutes. Repeat for up to 8 sets.
- Can’t decide between cardio or strength training, to torch that belly fat? Do both! An effective, simple way to do it is to use the treadmill as active rest between strength sets.
Cardio workout tips
- Always, always, always warm-up before your cardio workout! You’ll prepare your muscles, increase your metabolic rate, and even mentally prepare yourself for the workout ahead. Do some light stretches and up to 10 minutes of low intensity cardio exercise.
- Before an intense cardio workout, make sure you consume a meal 1-4 hours before that is high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat. This will provide glucose for energy and delay fatigue.
- Make sure you stay hydrated while you are exercising. Try to drink 5-12 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes when exercising, and add in electrolytes in you are sweating excessively.
- Doing the same cardio workout day after day will get boring, and your body will get used to it. When your body adapts to doing a certain cardio workout, you will not get the full benefits. Try going on a different machine each day, or try a different class for more variety.
- Don’t have much time for your cardio workout? Interval training alternates bursts of high intensity activity with low to moderate activity. It not only will add variety to your workout, but will keep your heart rate higher during the entire workout. It will allow you to get a better workout in, in a shorter amount of time.
- Some people do cardio workouts just because they think they have to. But, it is so important to do something that you like. You’ll be more likely to stick with it. If you hate running with a passion, don’t run. If you love dancing, choose that as your cardio exercise. There is something for everyone!
- During your cardio workout, aim to work out at 60-70% of your max heart rate, which is calculated by subtracting your age from 220.
- Use your whole body during a cardio workout. The more muscle groups you are able to incorporate into your workout, the more calories you will burn. Try to choose an exercise that utilizes both your upper and lower body. Also, by contracting your abdominals while exercising, you will also be using your abdominals while exercising.
- During a cardio workout, breathing is especially important in order to fully oxygenate the muscles and get rid of the carbon dioxide. Breathe in for 3 counts and out for 2 counts. This lowers your heart rate and will provide your muscles with oxygen.
- If running is your preferred cardio workout, instead of running on a flat road or treadmill, head for the hills or bump up the incline. Running uphill will send the heart rate through the roof and increase the calorie burn.
Cardio tips to burn fat
- Instead of starting slow and building up speed, do your high-intensity cardio early in your workout and taper off to a slow finish to burn significantly more fat.
- If you can bear getting up earlier, perform cardio before your first meal of the day. Your body is most likely to use fat as the first energy source because your glycogen stores are depleted.
- The best way to improve your aerobic fitness and burn fat is with intervals. That is, you alternate very intense periods of work with lower-intensity sessions in which you recover.
- To torch fat, select six to eight body weight exercises, resistance training and cardio-based movements to use as part of an up-tempo circuit-based workout. Perform the first exercise, and then move onto the next without working. Repeat for each exercise before resting for one to two minutes at the end of the circuit.
- The best way to burn fat and get results from a cardio workout is to create a routine and stick to it. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, at lunch or after work, the body will adapt to training any time during the day. Be consistent and exercise on a consistent basis and your fitness goals are within reach.
- To burn more fat, keep your cardio workouts going for at least 30 minutes. Everyone is different, but your body normally starts consuming fat after 20 minutes.
- To burn more fat when walking, try to take at least 40 steps every 20 seconds. Once you become totally comfortable at this faster pace, shoot for 45 and then 50, even if you can maintain the speed for only a few minutes. By putting more zip in your step, you can burn about 100 more calories in a 30-minute walk than you usually do.
- Cycling is a great low-impact high-intensity cardio workout. To specifically burn more fat, do it on a stationary bike, and change the resistance from lower to higher rapidly.
- Try swimming! It provides a great total body cardio workout, while burning a high number of calories and therefore more fat. It is also very low impact as the body is working in a weightless environment, and, as a result, there is little risk of injury.
- Looking to burn more fat when running? Doing hill repeats – running fast up a hill and then jogging slowly back down to recover – can increase your calorie burn by up to 50%.
Cardio tips for bodybuilding
- Don’t overdo the cardio! Doing 40 minutes of steady state cardio or 25 minutes of high intensity interval training is great. Marathon cardio sessions will cause your body to start breaking down muscle tissue instead of fat so you are really doing all that extra work for nothing.
- Plan out which days of the week are for resistance training and which are for cardio. And for cardio, plan what you’re doing, for how long and for what level of intensity. If you don’t have a plan you probably won’t have a very successful cut.
- If you’re concerned about muscle loss, take 10-20 grams of whey protein before your cardio session, but stay away from carbs.
- Start small with cardio, and increase gradually (weekly). This way if you are dieting to be ripped you will not eat away at your hard-earned muscle.
- Cycling can be a great cardio workout for bodybuilders, as it can carve definition in the frontal quad muscles allowing for greater separation come competition time.
- Jumping rope can provide a great cardio workout if done correcting. It can add definition to the calves and shoulders, as it works these muscle groups quite vigorously.
- Do low to moderate intensity cardio on weight training days. The use of low-intensity cardio, done either pre or post weight training, allows one to burn more calories while not hampering recovery.
- Don’t do high-intensity interval training on the same day you do your weight training. It can put too much on the anaerobic system and hamper your recover.
- If you’re a bodybuilder trying to add lean mass, do 4 30-minute sessions of low-intensity cardio following your weight training sessions.
- If you’re trying to lose body fat and get ripped, do 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio on your weight training days, and 15-20 minutes of HIIT on the other days. Oh…and allow a day for rest!
Cardio tips at the gym
- Running on a treadmill may seem like a drag, but since the belt helps with leg turnover, there are few places you can go as fast. Plus it’s is a great tool for promoting consistency and pace per mile.
- Do you get bored running for miles on the treadmill? Why not switch it up and perform your cardio workout on several different machines…it will keep you interested and will work different parts of your body.
- One of the best cardio machines at the gym? The stairmill! Just 15-20 minutes 2-3 times per week will really improve your conditioning.
- If you want to make your cardio workout harder, hit the stairmill and take two steps at a time. Your muscles will be burning in no time!
- There’s one trick that boosts your ability to burn calories for weight loss on a treadmill: You have to bear the load of your bodyweight. That means no holding onto the treadmill’s side handles as you walk or run.
- To zap more calories on the treadmill at the gym, take advantage of the incline feature, allowing you to kick up the intensity without having to move faster or break into a run if you prefer a joint-friendly walk.
- Take a spin class at your gym. Indoor bikes are the great for revving up weight loss because they complement exercise techniques like interval training that burn lots of calories.
- Don’t ignore the rowing machine at your gym! If you think rowing only works the arms and back think again. It utilizes more than 80% of your muscle mass, taking the body through a dynamic range of motion and allowing you to challenge yourself both with intensity and duration – the perfect recipe for calorie burn.
- Cardio machines help you work very hard in a very short period of time. But most people don’t use the machines correctly. Fix your mistakes during your cardio workout and exercises and you’ll get more calorie burn for the effort. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the trainers at your gym!
- The elliptical is a great low-impact cardio machine at any gym. For a great workout, do intervals. It will force you to reach a higher intensity of training for a sustained period of time. Try 90-second blasts every few minutes, with recoveries twice as long.