Cardio training for fat loss doesn't have to be long and boring. It doesn't have to be done on expensive cardio machines. Cardio doesn't have to take forever and it doesn't need to be painful.
And let me just say, I'll be the first to tell you that for effective fat loss, you don't necessarily NEED to do cardio training.
I know that's sacrilegious to some, but it's the truth!
Model: Sumi Singh
You can get a great cardio training effect from doing weight training with short rest periods...(or try doing 20 reps of squats and telling me that your heart-rate doesn't go through the roof, just like you were doing interval training).
That being said, you absolutely CAN do cardio and get better results with your fat loss training. And it doesn't have to be (nor should it be) a long slog sitting on a stationary bike, bored out of your mind. If you can be reading a magazine or texting while you're doing it, you're wasting a LOT of time.
The cardio training I've got for you here is simple...stair stepping.
All you need is a couple of stairs...it's going to take away any excuse you have that you "don't have time" or you "don't have the equipment." As you'll see in the video, you don't even need SHOES to do this type of cardio training!
(side note, most gyms will require shoes - I train in my basement so I can do this without shoes. I find it works great for developing foot strength and ankle stability).
When doing these, I prefer to go with interval training. For example, I'll do 30 seconds of stepping then 30 seconds rest. Or occasionally, I'll do 20 seconds of stepping with 5 seconds rest. Pretty much any interval pattern is going to be just fine.
Let's get to it.
Cardio Variation #1 - Easy Slow Stair Stepping
This is very simple and it's the base for everything that will after it. It's essentially just walking up two steps then walking back down two steps.
When you first start, you can hold onto the railing for balance, if you need to.
Also, I would recommend switching which leg you lead with (i.e. step up on the first step with) in each interval set you do. And yep, I DO recommend using interval patterns with this style of training.
Cardio Variation #2 - Moderate Pace "Jogging" on the Stairs
This is going to pick up the pace a bit, having you jog up and down those bottom two stairs. Your pace will determine the intensity of this movement.
You can do a light jog for moderate cardio or speed things up to work a bit harder.
Cardio Variation #3 - Sprint Stair Stepping
This one I don't have demo pictures for since it's essentially the same thing as the moderate paced jogging only going as FAST as you possibly can.
This is an advanced version, so only do this when you're comfortable with the stair stepping pattern.
One thing to note, when you're doing this, you'll want to keep your center of mass over the edge of the second stair, basically leaning forward as you come to the bottom and leaning back a bit as you come to the top. The more you can keep your center of mass in the center of the movement, the faster you'll be able to move your feet.
Instead of having to move your whole body backwards and forwards, you'll basically be moving mostly just your feet. This is easier to see in action in the video than to explain - you'll see what I mean if and when you try it yourself.
Cardio Variation #4 - Sideways Stair Stepping
Now we get into the stuff that's a bit more complex...it'll work your coordination and athleticism to a greater degree than the simple straight up and down stepping.
With this one, it's CRITICAL that you hold onto the railing until you get comfortable with the pattern of stepping. When you're crossing your feet over on stairs, there's a much greater chance of tripping.
Do these slowly at first until you get the coordination right (you can do what I'm doing or find your own best pattern how you feel comfortable) then go without holding on.
Make sure you do both directions to balance out the workload.
Cardio Variation #5 - Freestyle Stair Stepping
This is where you can combine all of the above variations into a constantly changing pattern of movements. You should be constantly changing direction and (if you like) speed.
Just make sure you're always under control so that you don't cross yourself up.
If you've been neglecting your cardio training due to lack of equipment or time, I'd absolutely recommend giving this stair stepping method a try.
It's much more interesting (to me, at least) than slogging away on a machine as it involves actual body movement and athleticism (when you get into the more advanced versions).
So if you want to add a new method to your cardio fat-loss training arsenal and you don't want to spend any money doing it, this is a GREAT way to go.
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