Let’s start first with some science. Unfortunately, there’s a very limited amount of research available when it comes to comparing different cardio machines and the effect they have on fat loss.
And this is because for one it’s difficult to attribute fat loss directly to cardio because cardio isn’t the only thing that effects fat loss.
Obviously, your diet plays a huge role, cardio gives you the ability to eat more food while still burning fat, but you can actually burn all the fat you want just by dieting alone.
There are also other factors like how active a person is throughout the day when they’re not exercising or how fast their resting metabolism is,
and these factors make it very difficult to set up a study that can show a direct relationship between cardio and pounds lost on the scale.
But what we do know is that if we can get our heart rate higher and keep it elevated for longer portions of our workout, we’ll burn more calories per minute.
So one study that was published in the Journal of American Medical Association compared 6 different cardio machines and the effects they had on heart rate as well as calories burnt during the workout.
On all the machines the partcipants were asked to give an rpe which stands for ratings of perceived exertion.
This basically involved rating the difficulty from 11 to 15 with 11 being fairly light, 13 being somewhat hard, and 15 being hard.
This was how they were able to establish a comparable intensity level between all these different machines.
Once the intensity levels between all the machines were fixed and equal the researchers found that the treadmill produced the highest heart rates,
and it had the highest rates of energy expenditure, meaning it burned the most amount of calories.
The stairclimber came in as a close second producing the second highest heart rates. The rowing machine and skiing machine were pretty much tied for third followed by the cycling bike and the air dyne bike.
When compared directly to cycling the treadmill required 40 percent more energy expenditure than the bike at the same intensity level.
40 percent is definitely a significant difference. So does this mean that everyone should just spend all their time on the treadmill?
The answer is no because there are other factors at play here that make the best cardio machine for you a very individual & personal choice.
So I’ve come up with 5 quick questions that you can ask yourself to find out which cardio machine is actually the best for you.
Number one and most important is which cardio machines do you actually enjoy doing or if you don’t enjoy any of them which one do you hate the least.
This should be the very first question you ask because even if you do burn more calories on the treadmill, but you hate doing it so much that you never use it, well that’s not going to help you burn very much fat at all.
If you enjoy your weekly cycling class so much that you never miss a single workout, but whenever you plan to go running outside you find an excuse not to then cycling is way better for you than using a treadmill.
Consistency is a very important factor to consider when the goal is to get lean and stay lean. You want to select a form of cardio that you’ll actually be able to stick to for the long haul. And don’t think inside the box for this one.
You don’t only have to select from cardio machines… swimming, boxing, and hiking are all perfect examples of cardiovascular activities that you actually might enjoy so much that they become effortless for you to stick to.
The second question is out of the cardio machines you enjoy which ones require you to stand up and which ones work the most muscles at the same time?
The reason why you’re asking this question is because when intensity levels are equal the cardio machines that require you to stand up
Also whenever you involve multiple joints and multiple muscle groups into a movement you will typically burn more calories.
So when we compare the rowing machine to cycling, rowing will typically allow you to burn more calories when intensity levels are equal since you’re using large upper body muscles like your back as well as your legs.
Next, you’ll want to ask yourself whether you’re looking to just burn fat from your cardio workout or if you also want to stimulate some muscle growth as well.
I constantly urge people to incorporate weight training into their workout since building muscle is one of the most important things you can do to burn fat and keep it off.
It’s so important that I always say that you should prioritize weights before cardio for aesthetic purposes.
The problem is that a lot of people especially a lot of women simply don’t either because they’re afraid of getting bulky, which is a myth by the way, or because they just hate doing it.
If you’re not incorporating weights you should try to go for a cardio machine that stimulates your heart as well as your muscles.
The stairclimber machine is a perfect example of this. Even though you won’t be building the same amount of muscle for your legs that you would if you were doing barbell squats with heavy weight,
the stairclimber is one of the best cardio machines to also help you improve the muscles in your lower body.
Using a treadmill at an inclined angle can produce similar results and rowing and Cycling at a higher intensity and resistance levels can help you do this as well.
Another question you’ll want to ask yourself is which machine is best for your joints. If you have bad knees and you choose to go with a treadmill just because it can help you burn more calories,
you may not be able to burn more calories for long enough to notice any changes to your body. What I mean is that there are certain cardio machines that are higher impact and others that are lower impact.
If you have issues with your joints you want to choose lower impact activities like cycling and rowing because you’ll be able to do them without having to take long periods of time off to let your joints recover.
You also have to factor in the rest of your training. For example, if you work your legs twice a week with weights it may not be the best idea to use a stairclimber.
The muscles in your legs will probably take longer to recover after using the stairclimber when compared to something like the airdyne bike.
This could prevent you from performing at your best during your cardio session and during your next leg workout.
The last question I want you to ask is probably the second most important one right under which one you’ll be able to do consistentlty, and that’s which form of cardio are you able to handle the highest intensity.
Don’t be fooled into believing that there’s a certain intensity level you want to aim for to hit your target heart rate zone so that you can burn more fat.
This is a myth. The higher the intensity level you can handle the more calories and fat you’ll burn.
There will be certain machines and cardio workouts that you can perform at higher intensity levels.
You might be motivated to work as hard as you can on a boxing bag, but when you get on a stairclimber once you start feeling that burn in your legs you may feel like giving up.
Now this doesn’t only apply to the cardio machine it also applies to your training style. There’s long duration steady state cardio,
like running on a tredmill for 30 minutes straight at one intenstiy level like let’s say 5 miles per hour.
High intensity interval training can burn significantly more calories than long steady state cardio duration cardio simply because you wind up working at much higher intensity levels.
This could allow you to burn the same amount of fat from a cardio workout in less time. If you’re trying to spend less time at the gym, and stimulate more muscle fibers high-intensity interval training is probably your best bet.
If on the other hand you don’t feel like going all out for bursts of high-intensity work and you would instead prefer to jog or even walk at a moderate pace for a longer period of time.
Remember the first question was which form of cardio are you actually going to stick to. I used to laugh when clients would tell me they walked for their cardio workout, but now I know that’s completely wrong and more discouraging than anything.
The truth is that sprinting, jogging, and even walking can all burn the same amount of calories if you factor in time spent.
When sprinting a 150-pound person will burn 20 calories per minute when jogging they’ll burn 10, and when walking they’ll burn 5.
This means that if that 150-pound person decided to sprint for a total of 10 minutes with low-intensity breaks in between, of course, they’ll burn about 200 to 250 calories.
For someone that’s very busy that wants to get in and out of the gym a very intense 10-minute workout may sound much more preferable.
On the other hand, if you can’t stand that feeling of being out of breath and your heart racing really fast then going on a long walk can burn the same amount of calories.
If the 150-pound person enjoys walking their dog and can consistently commit to walking their dog at a moderate pace for 45 minutes per day, that will be an extra 225 calories for them to do whatever they want with.
Even though this is significantly more time than the 10 minutes spent on sprinting, I know a lot of my clients would stick to a longer duration walking program much better than a shorter sprinting program.
And I have to repeat one more time the number question to ask when choosing the number one cardio machine for fat loss is which one will you consistently stick to.
That’s it guys I really hope this tip has helped you out. I wish there was a universal answer for everyone, but by asking these 5 questions you’ll be able to find the right answer specifically for yourself.
and if you’re serious about burning fat remember it’s not only about burning more calories from cardio, but it’s much more important to have a proper diet plan.
Even if you’re doing a lot of cardio and burning a lot of extra calories if you’re not watching what you’re eating you can be taking all those calories right back in.
So on my website, I have a challenge that on average is helping my clients lose 20 pounds or 5 percent body fat in just 6 weeks.
The best part is that you can have this 6 week challenge for free as long as you’re honest and willing to stick to the plan.
And the challenge makes you hold yourself accountable by having something to lose. Most people fail diet plans because when the going gets rough there’s no incentive to stick it out.
Our challenge is designed to tackle this psychological roadblock that many people run into. The fact that you have to earn the challenge by not cheating makes people actually follow through on what they say they’re going to do from day one to day 42.
And when you’re consistent like that with this plan I don’t care who you are you’re going to see some incredible results.