We are back to tell you about some easy cardio exercises you can do from the comfort of your home.  Today’s topic revolves around shedding those pounds.  To be more specific, we will be talking about cardiovascular workouts.  These are the workouts that get that heart rate pumping!  Since the bulk of this home workout series has dealt heavily with weight training, I’m sure you’re anticipating an article telling you how weight training and losing weight go together.  You’re not wrong, but first let’s start with some workouts that will  help shed those calories without using weights.

Well Known Workouts:

This isn’t going to be a huge passage out of the article because you should hopefully know about most of these.  We just want to remind you incase you may have forgotten.  It’s winter where I am currently, but if you’re fortunate enough to live in a warm location, you can always go outside for a job.  I had a girlfriend that hated to run, but loved to skip so that’s what she did.  Hey, do whatever is ultimately going to get your butt out of the chair.

There are still things you can do without buying a multi-thousand dollar treadmill if you’re stuck inside.  Jumping rope; it’s hard, not fun, exhausting, but it’s quick and incredibly productive.  My mom and sister are huge advocates for cardio DVDs.  I can personally recommend The Biggest Loser and Tae Bo DVDs.  These are both well done and will leave you in a pool of sweat by the time it’s over.  Check out the Pictures on either side to see what these DVDs look like.

Cardio and Weights:

As promised, we’re going to talk about some ways to build muscle mass and shed calories at the same time.

We’ve talked quite a bit about the many benefits of using a kettlebell, but did you know you can also use kettlebell as a form of cardio?  When you swing the kettlebell, you’re maintaining a high and consistent level of exertion. This allows you to burn calories but because you’re using muscle at the same time, you’re burning even more fat while simultaneously and flooding the body with growth hormones.

Perform 200 kettlebell swings and you’ll burn a LOT of calories while at the same time building strength. This is especially true if you do this using a drop set.

Another way you can take this even further is to use the kettlebell as part of a HIIT program.  HIIT stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training’.  This means that you’re going to be exerting yourself 100% for short durations, followed by a brief rest in-between by performing at a lower intensity.

Example: Swing the kettlebell for 1 minute at full-power, then stop to jog lightly on the spot for 2 minutes, then return to swinging the kettlebell.  Check out this infographic on the right to get a few other examples of HIIT programs!

This allows you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than regular ‘steady state’ cardiovascular exercise. Better yet, it has also been shown in studies to help increase your mitochondria – the energy factories in your cells that allow you to exert yourself for long periods.

But the real power of HIIT lies in the way it helps you burn more calories.  Going at 100% exertion causes the body to work faster than it can get energy from your fat stores. This is called ‘anaerobic training’ and it forces the body to rely on energy stored in the muscles and the blood. When it does this, you only have the fat stores to draw on when doing the slower exercises. Ironically, this means you end up burning much more fat in the long term. This process then continues even once you’ve finished training and you begin going about your regular business.

Using 10 minutes of HIIT a day, can increase your calorie burn and cutoff any fat you’re concerned about. This is recommended as part of a ‘finisher routine’ – a routine you use to cap off a resistance workout and to increase your overall calorie burn.

As we come to the end of our home workout series, make sure to catch our final and potentially most important article.  All of this working out is great and everything, but without a steady healthy diet, it’s really not going to mean much in the long run.