Running? Elliptical? Spinning? Or could it be swimming? The debate rages on. Last week, I was having an argument… I mean, conversation with my girlfriend discussing which cardio burns the most calories.
No matter what I said, I was wrong.
That’s normal for our conversations. But I asked her to give me a chance to explain my point. (After all, I do this for a living.) She teaches spin, and group classes, and insists her workouts burn way more calories than my workouts.
Cool story, bro.
That’s what she actually said. The faster our heart can pump this oxygen-rich blood, the more calories we burn. The way to burn the most calories is to increase the intensity of the cardio you choose.
So, I win.
Not so fast, I told her, any cardio.
Burning more calories requires more effort, little effort burns less calories than more effort. Walking burns calories, walking uphill burns more calories, speed-walking uphill carrying 8 grocery bags while chewing gum and texting burns the most calories.You get the point.The harder it feels, the harder you’re working, thus the more calories your burning, regardless of the type. Everyone wins. Score one for the home team.
But, which cardio burns the most calories?
That’s easy, the cardio you actually do, and do hard.
In my experience, people don’t struggle deciding between cardio burning strategies. They usually struggle between the couch and cardio.
Make it easy, pick what you like and do that.
At NASM and TBP we recommend the FITTE Principle
F: Frequency (Times per week)
I: Intensity (Effort level)
T: Time (Duration)
T: Type (Kind)
E: Enjoyment (Do you like it?)
Keep it simple: Harder Cardio = More Calories Burned
She scratched her head. Makes sense. I should’ve kept my mouth shut. But no, I added, I’ve ridden my bike from Canada to Mexico, your spin class would probably be pretty chill for me. She gave me the look, you know the look. It’s about to go down. Next thing I know, I was in her spin class with my legs strapped to propeller. My legs spun ridiculously fast, my body drenched in sweat, my heart screamed, and my mouth gasped for air.She smiled and said, I win!