When I started doing a cardio routine for weight loss, I had tons of motivation and everything was kinda new and exciting (I'm easily amused). But after the first few weeks I was used to almost all the cardio machines, in all their various form and programs. I started looking for options that lett me get my cardio work in, but spend the same or less time I was spending already. I was talking to some of the trainers at my gym, and it was suggested that I do some body weight cardio exercises. A light bulb turned on in my head. I was a boxer in high school and later learned karate, jiu-jitsu and then trained in mixed martial arts for a year. Why I did not think of this is beyond me...
Body Weight Cardio Exercises
I decided to do my cardio workout without touching a single cardio machine at my gym. I did a little pondering, remembering and research and started doing these various exercises.
Calorie burning effects of using a jump rope for 20 min, is equal to running for 60 minutes. So I made a goal and started to use my jump rope for 20 minutes a day. I would do four, five-minute rounds (which nearly killed me). The next day my legs were pretty stiff, but they felt alright after a jog. If you are just starting I would suggest starting with three, three-minute rounds. This exercise is a little advanced and I would not suggest this kind of work out if you don't have an intense cardio training background.
I also looked up jumping jacks. There is 3500 calories in a pound of body fat, and you would have to do 7000 jumping jacks to burn one pounds worth of calories. Not very promising, but if you wanted to add it to your routine, doing 10 sets of 100 jumping jacks a day, seven days a week, would help you burn one more pound a week. That would be four more pounds a month lost and is a good place to start if you are unable to begin with jumping rope. I did it for a day, but I felt like I could be spending my time better and I would rather work super hard for a shorter amount of time, for the same or better results!
I started doing burpees and I did them like this...
1) Start upright in the standing position.
2) Jump as high as possible, straight up in the air.
3) Land on your feet and bend at the knees, reaching down to the floor, placing your hands flat in front of your feet.
4) Kick your feet back, while holding your body up with your hands, landing in the push up position.
5) Do a push up. All the way down and all the way up.
6) Then bring your knees up with a little hop back to position #3.
7) Stand up and repeat.
With a push up when you are in the down position, and a jump as high as you can when you stood up, this is considered a modified jump squat/burpee. I started with four sets of 10 and have worked my way up to ten sets of ten. Talk about a pain in the butt! It is pretty hardcore and I think this exercise left me with the most soreness the next day out of everything I have ever done for exercise.
The next and last thing I added was kicking the punching bag at my gym. I just do roundhouse kicks, nothing fancy. I do ten sets of ten kicks, for each leg. I do ten kicks with my right leg, then ten kicks with my left leg, rest and do it again. I repeat this till I reach ten sets with both legs. I focus on power when kicking and speed when retracting. This gets the sweat dripping!
Swimming is a great exercise that can be fun as well as beneficial. I take my kids to the community pool in the city I live in. They have life jackets, life guards and usually lots of kids to play with, making it easy for me to do laps. Even If I just play hard with the kids in the pool I burn about 400 calories an hour, and when I practice swimming laps with the butterfly stroke it burns close to 750 calories an hour. It is a 5 min drive and almost exactly 2.5 miles away from my house. I jog to it sometimes when I don't have the kids, swim for an hour and fifteen minutes, and then jog back home. the days I do this I burn close to 1200 calories in two hours. I would like to do this once a week but I have only had the time a few times.
Running stairs is a great workout that you can do indoors or outdoors, anywhere there is stairs is a possible workout spot. I used to run the bleachers in the you at the local high school around 7pm. . It was a quite place and was always left open. There was also a park by my old apartment that had a huge hill with a very long staircase I tend to avoid really busy areas though, so I wouldn't recommend trying to do laps in the subway...
I do all of these as a cardio routine (Usually three of them in the session), except for the jumping jacks. If the jump rope exercise is too much to start with for you, then start with the jumping jacks. I figure in this one hour of body weight cardio, I burn the same amount of calories that I would if I used the elliptical for two hours. This is not for beginners, and is very advanced. But I can tell you a few things about doing my cardio this way, I was not bored, I have started to get much more work in for the time spent on my cardio, I started getting excited about cardio again and I am seeing better results!!