Burning Off Holiday Indulgences- Effective Cardio Workouts to Shed Those Extra Pounds

Burning Off Holiday Indulgences: Effective Cardio Workouts to Shed Those Extra Pounds

The holiday season is a time for joy, parties, and, quite often, over-indulgence. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you probably found yourself giving in to the temptation of a few delicious holiday treats, resulting in a few extra (unwanted) pounds by the time the New Year rolls around.

If you can relate, know that you’re not alone. And the good news is, getting back on track is easier than you think. In this blog, we’ll guide you through a variety of cardio workouts and offer some nutrition-tracking tips that can help you shed those extra pounds and start you on the right foot in the new year. 

The Significance of Cardio Workouts to Combat Post-Holiday Weight Gain

Cardio–or aerobic exercise–is the cornerstone of effective weight loss programs. When you think of cardio, you might picture someone running a mile or riding a bike. But a cardio workout can be any activity that effectively raises your heart rate and respiratory rate, which is key for burning calories and achieving a calorie deficit (calories burned are greater than calories consumed). 

How Does Cardio Help You Burn Fat?

When you do cardiovascular activities, your body gets its energy to sustain your workout from two sources: glycogen and fat stores. Glycogen is a form of sugar stored in your muscles. Since sugar is easier to burn than fat, your body uses these stores first to sustain your activity. 

The intensity and duration of your workout determine which stores your body uses for energy. Shorter, high-intensity workouts usually rely on sugar stores for fast, explosive energy. Longer workouts over 30 minutes dig into fat stores for sustained energy. That’s why incorporating a mix of high and low-intensity cardio workouts is important for your fat loss goals. 

HIIT vs LISS Cardio

There are two main categories of cardio exercises: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS). Both are effective for burning calories and increasing your aerobic capacity, but each comes with its strengths and weaknesses.


HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods or complete rest. An example of a HIIT circuit is 30 minutes of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking, repeated for 15-30 minutes. 

HIIT workouts are usually shorter than LISS cardio, lasting only about 15-30 minutes. Even though they’re shorter, they’re highly effective for burning a large number of calories in short windows. When you do a HIIT workout, you often continue burning calories even after you finish exercising. This is due to a phenomenon known as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or the afterburn effect. This occurs because your body takes longer to restore itself to the pre-workout state after intense training, using oxygen and energy to do so, resulting in more calories burned. 


Liss workouts involve performing aerobic exercise at a steady, low to moderate pace for an extended period of time. Examples include a brisk walk, a slow jog, or cycling at a flat road pace. 

LISS workouts are typically longer than HIIT, lasting between 45-60 minutes. While LISS workouts burn fewer calories per minute, they still contribute to overall calorie burn and fat loss by primarily utilizing fat stores as the energy source. Low-intensity cardio improves cardiovascular endurance while being less taxing on the body, making it a good option for beginners or recovery days. 

The Best Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT workouts will always be one of the best, most efficient ways to burn calories. Some studies even suggest that you can burn 500+ calories in a single 30-minute HIIT workout. (And that’s not counting the afterburn calories!)

Try some HIIT sprints or jump rope circuits for weight loss. Start with a 15-minute timer and alternate between 30 seconds of all-out effort (sprinting or jumping) and then alternate with a 30-second rest.

Equipment recommendation: 

  • You can always sprint outdoors. But to control your pace and cushion your joints, we recommend the LifeSpan TR5500i Folding Treadmill. Its shock-absorbing belt helps protect your knees and ankles while minimizing sound. 
  • Nothing beats a smooth-bearing jump rope for a HIIT circuit. Check out this one from Fitness Town for your next circuit. 


Rowing challenges more than just your cardiovascular capacity. A single rowing stroke engages 86% of the muscles in your body, promoting strength, endurance, and a significant calorie burn. (More calories worked = more calories burned!) 

Rowing is great for HIIT, too. You can do intervals of 1 minute of sprinting + 1 minute of light rowing. Or perform the 1-mile test: see if you can row one mile in under 10 minutes. Both are guaranteed to get your heart rate up. 

Equipment recommendations: 

  • If you’re looking for a realistic rowing experience, you can’t beat the WaterRower. It uses water resistance that feels like pulling an oar through the water. Its aesthetic wooden design also makes a nice addition to your home gym (or wherever you store your rower).
  • The Hydrow Rower is our pick for beginner rowers. It offers interactive live and on-demand rowing classes, which provide instruction and motivation during your sessions. 


Cycling is one of our favourite low-impact cardio options. It’s the perfect combo of aerobic training and lower-body resistance training without excess impact on your joints. Whether you’re recovering from an injury or just want a comfortable LISS cardio option, cycling is a great choice. 

If you want to follow along with your favourite spin classes, look for a bike with Bluetooth connectivity (like our picks below). Otherwise, set your bike up in front of a TV or computer screen and throw on a show for a steady 30 to 60-minute ride. 

Equipment recommendations: 

  • The Keiser M3i with MConnect Display syncs with your favourite spin apps so you can follow along in class. It also has smooth, silent magnetic resistance so it won’t disrupt your house on early or late rides. 
  • Want super accurate calorie tracking? Check out the Life Fitness IC6 Spin Bike. It comes with Myzone integration so you can track your heart rate zone directly on the console.

Air Bike

If cycling isn’t your thing, how about an air bike? It’s low-impact, like spinning, but the variable fan resistance can quickly increase or decrease the intensity of your workout, depending on your output. This makes it great for both HIIT and LISS cardio workouts, as well as building explosive power in your upper and lower body. 

Air bikes are popular in CrossFit workouts, so if you’re a CrossFitter, this cardio is for you. Air bike intervals of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off will get your heart rate up, plus pump your shoulders, arms, and legs full of blood. 

Equipment recommendations: 

  • The Assault Air Bike has been a home gym staple for years. It’s renowned for its durability, performance, and ability to handle HIIT workouts with ease.
  • Another great air bike option is the Octane Airdyne. Like the Assault bike, it’s praised for its durability. But where it’s different is the smooth belt drive that requires minimal maintenance and the thicker fan blades that create consistent, progressive wind resistance. 


Are you looking for a cardio workout that’s more engaging than walking on the treadmill or riding a bike? How about boxing? Boxing (and kickboxing) is an exhilarating form of cardio that burns calories, improves your coordination, and builds strength. 

Try a kickboxing circuit where you throw a combo of punches, jabs, knees, and kicks. 5 rounds of 3 minutes on, and 1 minute off should do the trick.

Equipment recommendations: 

Walking (Incline or Flat)

Walking is an underrated workout for weight loss. It burns calories, shapes your legs, and is low-impact on your joints. Plus, you can up the ante by changing the speed and incline levels. An incline walk engages your glutes, calves, and hamstrings to shape your muscles while strengthening your heart. 

A new viral workout known as the “12-3-30” is showing everyone why you shouldn’t overlook walking. Simply set your treadmill to an incline of 12, a speed of 3 MPH, and then walk for 30 minutes. Don’t hold on while you walk!

Equipment recommendations: 

  • A perfect entry-level treadmill made for incline walking is the LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Tread. It offers multiple incline settings and speeds for tons of workouts. 
  • Want to sneak in a walk while you work? Check out the LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill. It’s perfect for multi-taskers and staying active (plus, they say sitting is the new smoking!)

Don’t Forget About Post-Holiday Nutrition and Hydration 

While cardio burns calories, you won’t hit your weight loss goals unless your nutrition is on point (you can’t outwork a bad diet!). The post-holiday period is the perfect time to hit the reset button on your eating habits and ensure you’re consuming the right amount of macros for your fitness goals. 

Eat a Balanced Diet

The keyword here is “balance”. You don’t want to go cold turkey and cut out all your favourite foods. You’ll just be more likely to binge if you do that. Instead, aim for a blend of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats in your three meals a day. And between meals, reach for healthy snacks that will fill you up and keep your blood sugar levels steady. Some food sources and snacks we recommend are 

Lean protein: chicken, lean beef, ground turkey, egg whites, tofu, tempeh

Complex Carbs: sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, quinoa

Healthy Fats: Olive oil, mixed nuts, avocado, salmon, egg yolks

Smart Snacks: Trail mix, hummus, pretzels or whole grain crackers, fresh fruit

Drink Plenty of Water and Electrolytes

Experts suggest drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. Especially after the holidays, staying hydrated will help flush out excess sodium and toxins from those Christmas cocktails – which helps to reduce belly bloating. Plus, during a diet, filling up on water will help control your hunger cues. 

Just don’t forget to add in some electrolytes now and then. This is extra important for replenishing yourself after your tough cardio workouts and helping with muscle recovery.  

Don’t “Detox”

After a few weeks of indulging in pumpkin pie or extra helpings of stuffing, you may feel like you need to detox post-holidays. Don’t. Detoxing through teas, supplements, or crash diets isn’t sustainable and can be very unhealthy. Instead, get back on a healthy balanced diet like we mentioned above. With the proper nutrients and hydration, your body will do the “detoxing” for you. 

Staying Motivated and On Track 

After a season of rest (or celebration, depending on what your holidays look like) it can be hard to get back on the path to achieving your fitness goals. After all, it’s estimated that 80% of people lose motivation in their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February. Luckily, we have some tips to help you stay motivated and on track with your post-holiday health goals. 

Track Your Progress

One of the most effective ways to stay motivated is to track your weight loss progress. Taking progress pictures once a week, keeping a weight log, and tracking your calorie intake are a few tools you can use to track changes in your physique and weight (remember, the scale isn’t the only measure of success!). Apps like MyMacros+ and MyFitnessPal can help you keep track of your calorie intake and calories spent during training, so you always know if you’re in a calorie surplus or deficit!

Find a Workout Community

Find a fitness community or a workout partner. Having a supportive network can provide the encouragement and accountability you need to stay on track, especially during those times when your motivation or energy levels are low. Some cardio machines, like the WaterRower, come with community-based apps that you can sync your workout to. You can either join your friends in classes or make new ones during each session. And tracking your progress on the leaderboard gives you that extra boost of encouragement.

Take a Fitness Class

On the days when creating your own workout is too much, consider taking a fitness class. Having an instructor guide you through the movements, set the output expectation, and offer words of encouragement can be exactly what you need to push through the session. Whether you sync up your Keiser M3i to a high-energy spin class or follow along with an interactive rowing workout on the Hydrow Rower, these classes offer the structure and energy you need to hit your move goal. 

Final Thoughts

As you pack up the Christmas decorations and prepare for the New Year, it’s time to turn your focus back to your health and well-being. And what better way to do that than with some heart-pumping, calorie-burning cardio workouts? Cardio workouts are a fantastic way to restart your fitness journey, help you burn off those extra holiday treats, and set a positive tone for the rest of the year. And when paired with a balanced diet and adequate hydration, you’re setting yourself up for success.

If you’re still searching for that perfect cardio piece to add to your home gym, check out our curated collection of cardio equipment here. Or reach out to the Fitness Town team on the phone or in-store. Our experts are always happy to offer advice that can help you on your fitness journey. 

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