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Home » 4 Tips to make your cardio more effective! (For burning more fat)

4 Tips to make your cardio more effective!

4 Tips to make your cardio more effective! Whether you are team love or hate cardio, no one likes to waste their time on doing something ineffective.

So how do you make sure your sessions are as effective as possible? This post is going to cover some tips to make sure this is the case!

By making them more effective you will spend less time but burning more calories.

Looking for that bikini body while doing effectively your cardio? This might help you out! (Dutch)


Before we get started on the tips to get the most out of your cardio session, I’d like to mention that cardio isn’t the only or best way to lose fat. At the end of this article, I get deeper into this.

That doesn’t mean that cardio is useless or shouldn’t be done. It has some amazing health benefits.

Cardio or cardio fitness, originally, is a form of fitness that is based on your heartbeat. The goal is to keep your heartbeat at a constant rate to build your stamina or to lose weight.

Right now cardio gets used as an umbrella term and is also used for training that has the same goals but involves different heart rates. For example high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.

Most machines you’ll find in the gym will have a heartbeat monitor. When your heartbeat goes up you can decrease the intensity of the training to ensure your heartbeat is constant again.

These type of monitors are great to give you an overall idea of what you are doing. But don’t depend too much on them when it comes to the calorie counter. These are often really off.

That does not mean there is no use for these calorie counters. Because, yes, they are off but they are consistently off. So you can aim to hit 200 calories on your machine of choice.

Maybe this actually is only 120 calories, but everytime you hit 200 on the machine you will burn 120 in real life. When you hit more than 200 on the machine you know that you are increasing your energy output.

HIIT for fat loss

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. This is doing cardio on a real high intensity for a certain period and then switching to real low intensity.

You alternate between these two for a while. This is different from LISS, or low-intensity steady state cardio. With this, you do your cardio on one moderate level of intensity.

The biggest benefit of doing high-intensity cardio is that you can save a lot of time. Since you are doing more work in a shorter period.

A lot of people think that HIIT has many advantages when it comes to weight loss, it is a common belief that it burns more calories after your workout. Well, it is true but the effect is way less powerful than most people think.

HIIT won’t drastically increase the number of calories you burn (because you often switch to low intensity to recover) but it does have some other benefits that can make your session more effective!

Resting time with HIIT

HIIT can be very taxing on the body. Because it is high intensity it puts a lot of stress on your muscles and joints. And should be limited to 2-3 times a week, with enough rest in between.

Doing this more often is only for the highly advanced athletes. When you are not used to it, it is very easy to overtrain or get under recovered. Allow yourself enough time to recover and get used to it!

Because it does save you some time, you spend less time doing the actual cardio but getting the same results.

Another benefit of HIIT is not directly related to fat loss, but it can make sure you stick to the plan. High-intensity interval training is way more interesting to do. Since there is a lot more variety in your training.

Because of this, it can also be a lot easier to stick to your cardio plan. Doing something you look up to every (other) day makes it really hard to sustain.

Fat loss with cardio 

Cardio does not directly equal fat loss. You can still gain fat when doing cardio, but it can help you get into a calorie deficit which will lead to fat loss.

This fat loss is not directly targeted to the area that you train with cardio. Fat loss is a process that happens all over your body. It might feel like you don’t lose any fat around your stomach area or thighs.

These are often the ‘problem areas’ people struggle with. And that results in doing crunches or squats for days.

But you can’t target a specific area to lose weight, again, it is a process that happens all over your body. Where you lose fat first and last is determined by your genetic blueprint.

Want to learn how you can lose fat without doing cardio, this is definitely something you need to check out!

Choose your cardio machines wisely

When it comes to picking the cardio machines there are a few things you can change in your routine to get the most out of it!

We start by picking a machine that is right for you, there are a few things important here.

First, as you need to (somewhat) enjoy working out on this machine, this makes sure you can actually stick to your cardio routine.

When you have a list of cardio that you actually enjoy, you’re going to look at which one burns the most calories. This will save you time and make the workout more effective.

When you are using cardio machines like a treadmill or stair-master make sure your form is good and you are not hanging on the machine. This will burn fewer calories!

Remember that most cardio machines have a calorie counter. That is very inaccurate, but you can still use them.

So you can set a goal of burning 400 calories every session, just now that it is very likely that the number isn’t correct.

Fasted or fed cardio?

Lately, there has been a lot of hype surrounding fasted cardio, it would have a boosting effect on your fat burning abilities. But this has been more hype than truth.

There is no real big difference between fasted or fed cardio when it comes to energy expenditure. You can do fasted cardio but you don’t have to do this in order to make your cardio more effective.

Do whatever you prefer and fits your life best. If you do train fasted I would recommend taking some BCAA’s just to be sure you are not breaking down your muscles.

To see a full in-depth article about fasted vs fed cardio you can click here.

Remeber finding a routine that you can stick to and enjoy that might not be optimal in terms of fat loss is better than not sticking to the optimal routine.

Keep it enjoyable

The absolute most important thing is to keep it enjoyable, sure you don’t have to wake up all excited for your cardio session but dreading it isn’t the approach either.

This may mean you need to do some things that feel counter-intuitive to you. With this, I mean that when you focus on finding something that you enjoy, you won’t always go for the optimal option.

And that is okay. Because looking at the short term, yes you are probably missing out on some fat loss. But it makes sure you are sticking to it in the long term.

So you might see fewer results the first 4 weeks with the less optimal approach, but you actually enjoy it and you keep going.

If you choose the optimal approach you will have a lot more results the first 4 weeks, but you quit after that. In the end, the less optimal approach will turn in the optimal approach for you!

Want to learn how you can lose fat without doing cardio, this is definitely something you need to check out!

Expectations and training with cardio for fat loss

As I mentioned before you don’t need to expect to lose a lot of weight by starting cardio. Most weight loss will come from nutrition, and most importantly being in a calorie deficit.

However, you CAN lose fat by doing cardio. I am just not a big fan of that. And there are a few reasons for this, but the most important reason is that it is highly un

Having a high protein intake can also help you lose more weight. It is also the most satiating macro so it might even make weight loss easier for you!

Consuming a high protein diet is not dangerous as some people think.

Make sure (just like everything) you don’t overdo it on the cardio. It is a form of stress that you put on your body, and when you overdo this it might stop you completely from losing weight.

Make sure you give your body enough rest to let it restore itself and prepare for the next coming session, this is even more important when you do weight lifting as well!

Thank you for reading this post, I hope you learned something. Share this post with someone you think needs to read this!

Want to learn how you can lose fat without doing cardio, this is definitely something you need to check out!