Types of Cardio – Which one uses the most calories?

Cardio is one of the most effective types of training for burning calories. Cardiovascular workouts are among the most effective for shedding body fat.

If you are a beginner, you will wonder what type of cardio is the best for you.

This article looks at the different types of cardio, which one uses the most calories, and what is the ideal frequency of cardio per week.

What is cardio?

Cardio or Cardio training is the set of physical exercises that increase the heart rate.

Cardio workouts allow you to increase your maximum respiratory capacity ( VO2 max), eliminate body fat, and improve cardiovascular health.

The most popular types of cardio are: running, walking, cycling, swimming, and jumping rope. However, most sports such as rowing and boxing fall into this category.

When doing cardio, the heart increases the beats significantly. For this reason, cardio is one of the best ways to burn calories and lose weight quickly.

However, making a direct relationship between the sweat released during a cardio workout and the number of calories is a mistake. The effectiveness of the different types of cardio is determined by the heart rate and the total duration of the training.

Calories expended by type of cardio.

According to a report from Harvard University, the calories that are expended depend not only on the type of cardio but on its intensity and the weight of each person.

To make it easier, we will compare the calories burned when making meat at an average intensity for a 70 kg person.

The most commonly used types of cardio are described below with the number of calories expended per hour:

1. Elliptical

335 kilocalorías

2. Jump rope

372 kilocalorías

3. Walk

149 kilocalorías

4. Running (moderate speed)

355 kilocalorías

4. Rowing Machine

316 kilocalorías

5. Climber

223 kilocalorías

6. Bicycle

260 kilocalorías

Comparison of calories expended on cardio with other types of exercises

Below you can see a table with calories expended from other types of cardio and exercises:

Physical activity Calories
Weight 55 Kg Weight 70 Kg Weight 85 Kg
Weight training 90 112 133
Water aerobics 120 149 178
Hatha Yoga 120 149 178
Aerobic gymnastics 165 205 244
Volleyball 90 112 113
Skate 150 186 222
Tai chi 120 149 178
Tennis 210 260 311
Soccer 240 298 355
Circular training 240 298 355
CrossFit 270 335 400
Calisthenics 240 298 355
Tabata 300 372 444
HIIT 315 391 466
Running at high speed 375 465 555

What types of cardio is best?

There is a tendency to believe that running is the best example of cardio for burning fat. Unfortunately, this is not entirely correct.

Although it seems simple, a beginner does not usually apply the correct technique when running, not only in movement but in how to breathe when running.

How a person learns to swim, he should also learn to jog. Running poorly and wearing the wrong footwear (particularly when you have flat feet ) can cause serious knee injuries.

Running is a type of cardio that is not recommended for people with a high body mass index, as it is an impact sport and can adversely affect the knee and hip joints.

Other types of low-impact cardio such as biking, the elliptical, or swimming use the same amount of calories and prevent joint deterioration.

The rowing machine is one of the most effective types of cardio, not only for losing weight but for toning the upper body muscles. In addition, this type of cardiovascular exercise is ideal for improving posture typically impaired by a sedentary lifestyle.

Running is not the best type of cardio for beginners.

Running is one of the best cardio for weight loss as long as you learn the correct technique. When running, the heart rate increases significantly and allows the production of endorphins, as well as can help alleviate symptoms of depression and other psychological illnesses.

Running outdoors in green areas is one of the best types of cardio for the health of the mind. Some studies suggest that the human body receives an analgesic effect by running and inhaling air in a forest. (3)

Jogging in the open air not only uses calories but clears the mind and allows to tone the muscles of the whole body.

Can you lose weight with cardio?

To lose weight, the ideal is to do cardio in the pulse zone to burn fat at least 2-3 times a week for 30-40 minutes. This is the ideal frequency for a beginner to burn more calories and achieve continuity.

Combining different types of cardio is an excellent strategy for toning other muscle groups.

The mechanism by which cardio allows you to lose weight does not lie in the maximum calorie burn in a single day. But in the gradual development of the body’s ability to use different types of body fat.

Doing cardio regularly allows for an increased metabolic rate.

By doing cardio, the body learns to optimize carbohydrate metabolism. The excess glucose in the blood begins to be stored in muscle glycogen and not in the form of fat in the belly.

In addition, it is essential to complement cardiovascular exercises with muscle recovery methods to avoid sports injuries.

Cardio benefits:

  • Increase metabolic rate
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Improve carbohydrate metabolism
  • Normalize appetite
  • Normalize insulin and cholesterol levels
  • Balance of calories expended vs. consumed

How to burn more fat when doing cardio?

The best method to burn more fat when doing cardio is to empty the carbohydrate stores in the body. Some trainers suggest doing cardio after weight training when blood sugar levels are minimal.

Other types of practical fat burning training are high intensity interval training, HIIT, and the Tabata method.

This type of training is not considered a traditional type of cardio. However, studies have confirmed excellent results (even better than conventional types of cardio) in burning calories. (2,3,)

The importance of diet to lose weight

While all types of cardio are an effective method of burning fat, diet plays an even more important role in calorie balance.

It is much easier to control the excess calories that come in through food than to burn the same calories with cardiovascular exercise.

Limiting the consumption of simple carbohydrates is essential to losing weight. This type of molecule causes an increase in the sensation of hunger, created by sudden changes in insulin levels in the blood.

This is why sugar, candy, and cakes should be the first foods cut out of a diet to burn more calories.

Cardio training example

The goal of a cardiovascular workout should not be to achieve maximum calorie expenditure. But work to improve performance and exceed personal goals.

Keeping track of how many times a week you did cardio, how long each session was, and your average heart rate is essential to improve results. You can count calories if you want, but it is not crucial.

An example of beginner-level cardio training is doing 2 to 4 sessions on a treadmill, ellipsoid, or stationary bike per week.

The duration should be around 30 to 50 minutes. The average heart rate should not exceed 120-130 beats. Combined with a daily calorie deficit of 300-400 kcal, it is enough to lose about 3-4 kg of body weight per month.

Here is an example of weekly cardio training with different types of cardio:

  • Monday: 30 minutes swim at medium speed
  • Tuesday: 30-minute jog at medium speed
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: Elliptical 30 minutes at medium speed
  • Friday: 15 minutes of tabata or HIIT
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: 40 minutes of jogging outdoors at a maximum pulse of 150-170 beats per minute

Cardio vs. Weight training

I am doing cardio before weight training is an ideal physical warm-up method. It effectively prepares the body for muscle stress, increases blood flow activity, and warms up the joints.

A typical 3-day gym routine per week should include 5-10 minutes of light cardio leading up to a pulse of 120-140 beats per minute.

Cardio after weight training is effective for burning body fatIt is one of the most common practices in the toning stages. However, in these cases, it is always recommended to work at a low intensity. Otherwise, there is a risk of increasing cortisol and promoting muscle destruction.


Cardio is a type of training that allows you to increase your heart rate.

One of the benefits of these types of training is strengthening the cardiovascular system. ‘

The types of cardio that use the most calories are: jumping rope, HIIT and running. However, it is essential to know that calories depend on intensity.

Exercising in cardio mode 2-3 times a week is ideal not only for burning calories and burning fat but also for normalizing blood sugar levels.

Supplementing cardiovascular exercise with low-calorie nutrition is one of the most effective strategies for healthy weight loss.

It is recommended to beginners that when doing cardio, the heart rate does not exceed 150 beats per minute.

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