For many guys, cardio goes hand in hand with losing weight.
And while the truth is that you don’t need to do endless hours of cardio to lose weight effectively, the fact remains that it can be a useful tool to help you burn more calories.
But let’s be real here: most people don’t like doing cardio very much.
It’s like eating your vegetables – something that you do because you know that it’s good for you.
So with that in mind, you probably want to get the most fat loss bang for your cardio buck, right?
This means prioritizing the types of cardio where you burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time.
In this article, I’m going to go through some of the common cardio options that you’ll find in most gyms, and how effective each one is in terms of burning calories – as well as a few other factors that you might want to consider.
Let’s get right to it!
Option #1: The Treadmill
This is the one that many guys tend to gravitate to, and for good reason!
Running on the treadmill can burn anywhere from 600-1200 calories per hour, depending on how fast you’re running.
In contrast, walking on a treadmill will only burn about 300-400 calories per hour.
For this reason, treadmill running is a great option for your cardio workouts, but it can be hard on your joints, and isn’t necessarily suited for beginners.
Plus, it may not be the best option after a tough leg workout, unless you want to crawl your way out of the gym!
Option #2: The Elliptical Machine
You can think of the elliptical machine as the gentler cousin of the treadmill…
Instead of running, you step on these flat platforms, and glide your feet back and forth in a motion that kind of resembles cross country skiing.
Depending on the intensity, you can expect to burn roughly 600 calories per hour ‘gliding’ on the elliptical.
As you can see, this isn’t as many as the treadmill, since it is typically a lot easier to do than the treadmill and is therefore more suitable for beginners.
One major benefit of the elliptical is that it is a lot less taxing on your joints than the treadmill, so if you have knee issues this is definitely something to consider.
Option #3: The Exercise Bike
This is a piece of equipment that you can find pretty much anywhere – and you can even buy one for your home without spending too much money.
Biking is easy on the joints, and also allows you to read or watch something on your iPad while doing cardio to better pass the time.
In terms of calories, you can expect to burn anywhere from 500-1000 per hour, depending on how fast you are peddling and the resistance setting you are using.
Many guys make the mistake of setting a very low resistance and half-heartedly peddling, but this isn’t very effective at all.
Like the elliptical, the exercise bike isn’t very hard on your joints, so it is a good option if you have any knee pain or to do after a leg workout.
Option #4: The Rowing Machine
Unlike the other 3 pieces of equipment, the rowing machine works your upper body in addition to your legs.
It can also be effective from a calorie burning perspective – at a moderate intensity, you can expect to burn close to 1000 calories an hour using it.
There can be a bit of a learning curve until you feel comfortable with the motion – but once you are, it is a great alternative to the other options if you want something that isn’t as lower-body intensive.
Option #5: The Jump Rope
Finally, we come to the humble jump rope…
Boxers have trained with these for years, and for good reason: they are affordable, can be used to burn a lot of calories, and you can train with it pretty much anywhere.
In fact, this is the home-based cardio option that we would recommend for the majority of guys.
You can realistically expect to burn 500-1000 calories per hour, depending on how fast you are jump roping.
If you are looking to get one, we would recommend the Crossrope Swift Set, which you can order from Amazon for about $55 here.
It comes with both a heavy rope (which is perfect for moderate intensity steady state) and a speed rope (which is more suitable for HIIT).
A Final Word On Calories & Cardio Machines…
Now I should also mention here that cardio equipment will often display how many calories you’re burning.
In general, you should take this with a grain of salt, since treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical machines are notorious for giving inaccurate calorie information.
Still, in terms of the number of calories that you can burn in a given time, the treadmill is the clear winner here.
That being said, it may not be the best option for every workout – especially if you are doing heavy squats as well – so you may want to use it selectively, alternating with either the elliptical machine or exercise bike to reduce the wear and tear on your joints.
What is your favorite cardio machine for weight loss? Let us know in the comments below.