You’re an adventurous gym-goer, right? You’ll happily try a new move with the free weights, or take a boot camp or Pilates class you’ve never tried before. But maybe you’ve stuck with the treadmill for a little bit too long, and your cardio progress has plateaued.
If you’re not sure whether rowing, biking, or stair-mastering will give you the best cardio boost for your time, here’s some info that might help you develop a new exercise routine. Keep in mind that there are pros and cons to each machine, and your goals and fitness level can have a huge impact on what you get out of your cardio time.
A rowing machine can be intimidating to a beginner, but for those looking to get the most caloric burn per unit of exercise time, these guys are the way to go. Rowing with proper technique (ask a trainer at your gym to show you how it’s done) can result in over 1,000 calories burned per hour.
Another bonus: rowing is a full body exercise that draws on power from your legs, arms, and core.
This one is a tried and true gym staple for a reason: you can burn from 600 to 1,200 calories per hour running on a treadmill. It’s high impact, which means you’ll build stronger bones and muscles in your legs.
The downside? Treadmills can cause or exacerbate joint injuries in the legs if you do it excessively. Avoid running marathons (+45 min.) each time you do cardio. And make sure you give your body plenty of time to recover in between sessions. (Hint: use the next machine to allow your joints to recover while still working your cardio).