Cardio vs. Strength Training . . . How to Create a Proper Balance in Midlife

fitness goal setting midlife athlete Oct 10, 2022

 As a personal trainer and health coach I’m often asked questions pertaining to nutrition, exercise, and of course proper programming. 

 “How cardio should I be doing?”

“What types of cardio?” 

“When and how often should I be lifting weights?” 

 My goal is to help you find the right balance that works best for YOU, your current fitness level, and your goals. 

 I always say, the best place to start is with CLEARLY identifying your goals.  [Check out How To Create SMART Goals

 I get it, you want to feel good, feel healthy, be fit and active.  But what does that look like for YOU? 

  •  Are you interested in running a half marathon or participating in an endurance event? 
  •  Looking to build your stamina and endurance? 
  •  Do you want to build muscle, increase your power and strength, or maintain great bone health for a healthy future? 
  •  Do you want to increase your flexibility and  balance? 

 All this matters when it comes to proper programming for YOU. 

 Next, you’ve got to be honest about your current fitness level. 

 If it’s been awhile since you’ve laced up those running shoes, don’t be afraid to be a “beginner” again. [Check out 10 Tips To Returning To Running

 This is so important when it comes to staying injury free and making lasting progress. 

 It’s also important that you establish clear boundaries on how much time you want to dedicate to your fitness each month/week/day. 

 When you look at your calendar, be realistic about how much time you can truly devote to your workouts.  And remember three 10 minutes sessions are just as good as one 30 minute session.  Don’t be afraid to break it up throughout your day.  

 I have a client that does 10 minutes of yoga in the morning before getting ready for work.  Completes a 10 minute walk at lunch time and does 10 minutes of strength training in the evening.  This works for her schedule and her goals.  

And finally when you set up your program for the week, don’t forget to do things you love!!  

 If you don’t love running, then don’t force yourself to complete four runs each week. Instead opt for two days a week.  That way you are looking for excuses to ditch your workout.  

 Okay so that you have a general idea of the things you should consider when it comes to building YOUR fitness program, let’s dive into what you may want to include in your program: 

 Strength training: 

Strength training can include a variety - free weights, machines, kettlebells, resistance bands, and body weight moves

 Variety is always fun when it comes to strength training. Think: push/pull/lower body, upper/lower, full-body splits, or body-part splits. There are so many ways you can keep things fun and fresh. 

 Try switching up what weights you use.  Light weight, higher reps.  Heavy weights, lower reps. You can do supersets, timed, or rep count.  


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

I have HIIT for running, weights, body weights, and Plyo moves.  There is so much you can do with HIIT style workouts. 

 HIIT can be performed a number of ways using a number of work : rest ratios.  You can have set work : rest ratios, variable work : rest ratios, positive rest, negative rest, or any combination.

 Here are few examples of HIIT set ups: 

Tabata 20 sec work / 10 sec rest 

Positive Rest - you rest more than you work ( ie 15:45 / 20:40) 

Equal rest (ie: 30/30) 

Negative rest - you work more than you rest (ie 45:15 / 40:20) 

 Other varieties: 

Work as long as it takes you complete an exercise or set of exercises: rest twice as long 

Work as long as it takes you complete an exercise or set of exercises: rest exactly as long  

Work as long as it takes you complete an exercise or set of exercises: rest half as long   

Moderate Intensity Cardio (MIC) 

MICT stands for medium intensity continuous training and consists of moderate difficulty aerobic exercise like jogging, cycling, and are normally 30 minutes to an hour.

 Steady State cardio 

Steady-state and consists of easier exercises like walking or light hiking. SSC workouts can be any duration but are most often the longest of the three, lasting up to an hour or longer.

 Looking for additional tips on how to set up your specific program.  Book a time for us to chat and let’s create a plan that works with YOUR specific goals, schedule, and current fitness level. 

 And don’t forget to download The Athlete's Guide to Staying Healthy, Active, and Injury Free in Midlife for additional tips. 

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