What's a good balance between cardio and weights?

SusanMcL

Cathlete
Good morning all!!

What is a good balance (weekly) between cardio and weights?

I'm 66 years young, healthy, in relatively good shape, slightly overweight, do 3 - 4 miles per day on the treadmill (fast walking.. no running) at the gym 5 - 6 days per week. I have done step in the past and want to get back to it. I know I need to add weight training to my schedule (I'm an absolute beginner on weights) and want to get started tomorrow !!!!

So... my question is..... for a 6 day/week program...

3 cardio and 3 weights? Or 4 cardio and 2 weights? And where do core work and stretching fit in?

Is it best to do upper body weights one day and lower body another and then upper again on another day and lower again on a 4th day? Or better to do upper and lower body on the same day twice a week?

Should I do core/abs as part of the weight training days?

Stretch after weight training?

LOL... as you can see... I'll looking for some general theories..

I own.. so far..

Basic step/ Body Fusion
Low Impact Step/Total Body Sculpting
Stretch Max
Core Max
and I have the Low Impact Series on order...

I'm also thinking about ordering:
Muscle Max
High Reps

I know that I can do those with low weights to start....

I also own:
Body Max 2 but that is MUCH too advanced for me...

I have printed out Cathe's recommended 12-week Beginner Rotation... which I will start tomorrow..

but in general.... what's the general philosophy of ratio between cardio and weights... and how about core/abs and stretching?

I realize that everyone's needs/wants/preferences are different, but what's a good target for a general program?

Thanks in advance...... I REALLY need some help with this !!!!
 
First I want to say that at 50 I LOVE it when I hear about those older than me working out. :D

Second, I don't believe there is any written in stone answers to your questions. It really depends on what you want. What your priorities are. There are any number of ways to go about fitting in both weights and cardio. Just a few examples:

*You could do circuits and do both at the same time.
*You can do one body part per day for weights and have plenty of time to do cardio the same day.
*One or two days of total body workouts and the rest cardio.

Varying the pattern you use at least every four weeks, helps to keep your body from getting too used to things. Better to keep it guessing.

After the beginner rotation, you may have a better idea of what your body responds to best and what you enjoy most. Once you're done, look through the extensive list of rotations and see what catches your eye. If you don't have all the workouts, ask what substitutes would work best.

As far as core goes, I generally prefer to do mine with weights, but I will do it with cardio if the rotation calls for it. I don't think it matters when you do it, just that you do it.

And definitely you should stretch after weight training and cardio as well. I always do the stretches at the end of workouts, but I know that at this point in my life it doesn't hurt to do an extra 10-15 minutes of stretching. When I do that my body feels much better and I'm decreasing my odds of injury.

Good luck in your progress!
 

SusanMcL

Cathlete
Hi Cathy -

Thanks for your input !!!

I know from 20 years ago.... when I used to do the weight machines at the gym (which I loved but haven't done in at least 10 years).... that I do prefer to do some cardio every day - alternating between intense and easy - and then do weights 2 or 3 times per week. And fit some stretching in there too.

By intense cardio I mean something like a 60 minute step routine. Easy cardio could be a 30 minute walk around the block.

Right now.. as I said.. I'm doing 5 - 6 days of (fast walking) treadmill at the gym. After that, I do a 30 minute stretching routine that I've done for the last 40 years :eek:

Once a week, I take a class at the gym which is a weird mix of tai chi, yoga and pilates.

So my goal now is to add weight training into my routine along with some step.

Trust me... at 50 you are YOUNG !!! I'll trade ya :p

Here's what I was thinking......

3 days of 60 minute Cathe step followed by some kind of stretching
3 or 4 days of easy cardio.... like walking on the treadmill or walking outside

2 or 3 days of Cathe weight training DVDs on the easy cardio days... but that's where I get stumped.

All body weight training? 2 times a week?
Core/abs once a week? that doesn't seem like enough core work
Or on the 4 non-intense cardio days:

upper body plus core - 2 days per week ?
lower body plus core - 2 days per week ?

I'm getting myself confused...... rambling and thinking out loud here....
 
I think a lot of it will come down to trial and error to see what you like and what works. Try things one way for a couple weeks and switch up and see how it feels. I switch up a lot and still when I really want to make progress go back to working each body part once a week for weights. Once you get rolling, if you can afford it I really recommend you get STS. No matter where you are strengthwise it'll work for you, because the weight selection is totally based on your personal needs.

Huge kudos to you on the stretching over the years! I'm quite flexible for my age, but I'm not good about doing more than the minimum of stretching, so I know it could be better.

I think I'm young, too. ;) I have 9 and 12 yo's and the parents of their friends will be complaining about how old they are getting and geeze I'm old enough to be the mother of a few of the complainers and close on others. :p
 

maddiesmum

Cathlete
"I'm doing 5 - 6 days of (fast walking) treadmill at the gym. After that, I do a 30 minute stretching routine that I've done for the last 40 years :eek:

Once a week, I take a class at the gym which is a weird mix of tai chi, yoga and pilates.

So my goal now is to add weight training into my routine along with some step.


Here's what I was thinking......

3 days of 60 minute Cathe step followed by some kind of stretching
3 or 4 days of easy cardio.... like walking on the treadmill or walking outside

2 or 3 days of Cathe weight training DVDs on the easy cardio days... but that's where I get stumped.

All body weight training? 2 times a week?
.[/QUOTE]



Hi:

Fast treadmill walking is great. I do powerwalking all the time and I swear by it, it keeps me in great shape and allows me to do other high impact cardio activities and not get constantly re-injured because the low impact of the treadmill powerwalking offsets the high impact.

To assist your twin fat loss and improving fitness goals, keep the treadmill walking and challenge yourself. Keep increasing your speed, or add in intervals of 1 min faster speeds where you are almost running, where you are almost totally out of breath, working at the anaerobic threshold. On alternate days, play with the inclines to challenge the lower body muscles and cardiovascular system even more. Se if you can work your way up to the highest incline of 15% and how long can you keep it there? Again, as with the speed, you can introduce interval training to blast fat by turning up the incline to the max for 1 min intervals, followed by another minute to recover at a lower incline.

As far as adding weight training to your routine, YES, DO IT! It will enhance fat loss, enhance your cardio workouts by increasing your strength and power, it will make you feel empowered as you watch yourself lifting heavier weights as the weeks go by, weights you never thought you could life, and it will help stave off osteoporosis and help keep you looking and feeling younger for longer.

If you are a beginner to weights, start by doing total body routines twice per week. Muscle Endurance or High Reps or Muscle Max are all excellent DVDs to help you with this. They will take you through a wide range of established exercises which will be the foundation for your weight training program as you grow. These DVDs will teach you correct form and help build your confidence lifting weights.

You can expect to feel sore after the first few sessions, and your light cardio days, walking around the neighbourhood, will help get blood flow through the muscles and help with healing and easing soreness. Keep in mind that Cathe has been training with weights for over 20 years and therefore will use a heavier weight per exercise than you will as you start of. Ignore this. Use the weights that work for you, no matter how light they may seem in comparison to Cathe and crew.

Once weight training twice per week becomes too easy for you, say after 3-4 months, you could start to play around with your weight training sessions and use spilt sessions, maybe upper body plus light cardio one day and lower body after light cardio another day. Since you do so much cardio, you could do 2 sessions per week for upper body and just for lower body, which you are working hard on the treadmill. After afew months of this, you can split your sessions even more by using Cathe's Gym Styles series or her STS program where 3 or 4 days per week are devoted to weight training and you work each muscle group once, maybe twice. At each session, you will spend more time on each muscle group than you do with full body routines and you can lift heavier and with greater strength development and refinement towards definition.

I never do "core sessions" as I find core the thing I slack off on the most. I find that my powerwalking and running keep my core pretty strong to begin with, but also, knowing myself as I do, I only do core work if I can intersperse it with other exercises so I tend to do core work on either my total body weight training days or on the days at the gym when I alternate lower body with core.

You could add 15 minutes of core after your split sessions once you get to them, or at the gym after your treadmill workouts. You will find that core work is included in Cathe's total body DVDs anyway.

See what you think of this. Whatever you do, keep the routine for about 6 weeks-2 months to see how it works for you before changing things up for a different program. It takes time for enhanced fitness to show up in the body in an aesthetic sense. be prepared also to tweak things. You may find the intention to to light cardio on your weight training days falls by the wayside simply because you will get too tired and sore and you have outgrown the ned for that much cardio. This is all good. Weights can transform your body and fitness. You will probably find, I am expecting that you will find, that you no longer need the extra light cardio as a regime. For enjoyment, yes, but not as scheduled exercise.

Good luck,

Clare
 

SusanMcL

Cathlete
Cathy - Wow !! a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old will sure keep you young. Enjoy. They grow up so fast.

I am going to make a serious effort to mix things up in my routines. That's one reason that I was excited to find Cathe's Beginner Rotation. Every week is different for 3 months.

My brain leans towards the "make a plan and stick to it" mentality. In other words, do treadmill and stretching every day for the rest of my life. I need to learn to loosen up and mix it up. I'm hoping that after I finish the Beginner Rotation and have the new Low Impact Series in hand, that I will have enough choices to vary my routine at least monthly if not weekly.

Thanks again for your encouragement...

Susan
 

SusanMcL

Cathlete
Clare - Thanks you so much for the detailed and thorough advice. I really appreciate it !!

I took your advice this morning at the gym and tried some moderate intervals. I wasn't sure how long to make the intervals, but I increased the pace considerably and did that for 3 minutes, then dropped the speed back and stayed there for 2 minutes and then repeated it all for about 30 minutes of my total 60 minutes on the treadmill.

On a normal day, I take about 10 minutes to build up to my regular speed on the treadmill and 10 minutes for a cool down... so.. out of the 60 minutes on the treadmill about 40 minutes is the length of the "real workout." I would not have tried the interval training without you mentioning it, so thank you for that.

Yesterday, I ordered Muscle Max and High Reps so now I have those to work on after I finish the 3 month Beginner Rotation. Depending on how the new Low Impact Series DVDs look for my age and skill level, I may do Muscle Max and High Reps for a couple of months before I tackle the new series. I'll have to wait and see.

I definitely need to schedule core work or I won't do it... unless of course.. as you said.. it's part of the DVD already. Then I will do it.... But if it isn't on the DVD, then I need to schedule it a couple of times a week. Nothing drastic... maybe 15 minutes twice a week....

I understand what you are saying about the light cardio days perhaps not becoming necessary down the road, however, I'm retired so it's easy to fall into a pattern of laziness :eek: To prevent that, I'm out the door to the gym every morning Monday thru Saturday to do my cardio. That jump starts my day !!! No lingering over a 2nd mug of coffee and the morning newspaper and playing with my pets. It's out the door and over to the gym !!!

I'll be doing my Cathe DVDs in the afternoons at home with my newly purchased equipment: step, stability ball, dumbbells.....

It all may end up being more than I can handle and I'll have to cut back on the gym days... but I'll see as I go along...

Again... thank you for your advice !!!! You gave me a lot to think about and some good paths to follow...

Susan
 

SusanMcL

Cathlete
ohhhhh... forgot to mention....

I used to do step 20 years ago and loved it. That's actually how I found Cathe... while looking for some step DVDs.

I'm rusty though because Basic Step and Low Impact Step are "testing" me. It's hell to get old....... sigh But I'll get my step endurance back over time.

sooooo... I'll have to figure out a mix of treadmill at the gym (for pushing me out of the house in the morning) and Cathe's step workouts... and then my strength training and core and stretching. Yikes !!! It's a good thing I'm retired :p

too many options... lol... but I'll figure it out eventually !!!

Anyway... just rambling at this point.... As Cathy said... as I work through the 3-month Beginner Rotation, it will all become clearer.
 

maddiesmum

Cathlete
Susan:

it all sounds great. You have some time to mix and match and experiment, right? No rush. Yes, work some step into the mix!

Regarding intervals: Cathe's interval workouts say "you can do anything for a minute" for the blasts but then again, on Low Max the intervals last longer than 1 min and are about 2-3 for some of them so, I think it is fine to do exactly what you did today with intervals. Obviously, if you find you can hold any given interval for about 5 mins, it ceases to be an interval and it is telling you that you have increased your fitness such that you need to take the whole workout up a notch. I keep finding this happening to me on my powerwalk treadmill incline workouts. It's all good!

Try the inclines next and see what you think.

BTW, what sort of speeds are you keeping up on the treadmill? What pace is steady state or recovery and what pace is the fast blasts or intervals?

Nice chatting with you!

Clare
 

kikster

Cathlete
Because I'm "young" according to the conversation going on here, :eek: lol, I hesitate to give any advice, as I know that needs change as we go through different stages of life. But I was thinking, Susan, that maybe you should join in on one of the check-in's that are for people of a similar age bracket and get an idea of what others are doing (as well as receive encouragement from one another). I know that you recently started your own check-in, but there's no rule that you can't be in more than one ;) As a matter of fact, many people are! The check-in's are so nice to be a part of for motivation, accountability, as well as companionship :) . The fifty and over, and Pentagenarian groups come to mind.

Just a thought...

As for my routine (I suppose I'll at least answer the question, so as not to hijack your thread :eek: ) I do more of a 50/50 split w/my cardio & weights (3-4 of each/wk). Sometimes those are in combination, like a circuit, sometimes they are on separate days. I tend to do more cardio in the summer (when clothing is a bit less "layer-y", lol) , or before an important event/trying to shed a little extra lbs, etc. I am noticing that the older I get, the more cardio I'm tacking on (I remember only doing 1-2 cardio sessions at some point in time :confused: ), and I just recently (past year) added more core training (I never used to do it before, unless it was on the DVD, like you) because I just plain need it.

But you can take that w/a grain of salt, because I have no idea what my needs will be at 66 (I'll be coming to YOU for advice ;) )
 

SusanMcL

Cathlete
Clare -

My normal steady state (for the last few months) has been 3.7 MPH with a 1.5% incline.

Yesterday, I upped the incline to 2.0% and did my intervals at 4.0 MPH for 3 minutes then dropped back to 3.3 MPH for 2 minutes.... leaving the incline at 2.0% the whole time. I found that at that increased incline (from what I had been doing) that 3 minutes at 4.0 was all I wanted to handle for the moment.

This morning.... I raised the incline to 2.5% and left it there. Once I got to a cruising speed of 3.5 MPH I found that was enough with the increased incline.

So I did my intervals at 4.0 MPH for 1 minute, then down to 3.3 for 1 minute and just kept alternating. 15 minutes of that was all I could take, so I dropped back to my usual 1.5% incline and 3.7 MPH for the rest of the hour.

Tomorrow I'll try leaving the speed steady.... maybe start with 3.3 MPH as an experiment ......... and keep raising the incline every few minutes and see how the inclines feels at above 2.5%..... lol

In the past, when I have tried to go above 4.0 MPH with no incline or very little, I have started to feel unsteady on my feet..... as if I have to really concentrate on each foot moving each time so I don't stumble and fall.... so that may be my upper speed limit at this point in my life....

But that may improve as I push myself further..... ya never know.... lol

Again, thank you for your input and encouragement !!!

Susan
 

SusanMcL

Cathlete
Hi KiKi -

There is no age discrimination here :D so I'm glad you jumped in !!!

I saw the 2 50+ check-in threads and will most likely join one or both in the coming weeks. I did start a Beginner Rotation check-in thread, but so far it appears that I'm the only one. I'll bet that most beginners don't even know that these forums exist, so if after a week or so no one else joins in, I'll just keep track of my progress in the Workout Manager and let that thread drop away.

Circuit/combo type workouts have never appealed to me.... I'm not sure why. My brain just seems to gravitate towards "a place for everything and everything in its place." Cardio one day. Weights another day. lol

But you never know.... if I try a circuit DVD, I might like it !!!!

I have only one piece of advice for you.... keep exercising... never stop. Up until the age of 50, I played tennis 2x per week, golf once a week, mowed a large lawn weekly with a non-self-propelled mower, worked my large vegetable garden, swam regularly, chased after 2 kids and walked my dog 3 times per day and did a full body workout on the Nautilus machines 2x per week. At age 50 it all stopped for various reasons..... I regret not keeping up with my active lifestyle and a year ago I decided that it was time to get back in shape !!! So.. the secret is... don't ever stop !!!

Susan
 
Last edited:

maddiesmum

Cathlete
Clare -

My normal steady state (for the last few months) has been 3.7 MPH with a 1.5% incline.

Yesterday, I upped the incline to 2.0% and did my intervals at 4.0 MPH for 3 minutes then dropped back to 3.3 MPH for 2 minutes.... leaving the incline at 2.0% the whole time. I found that at that increased incline (from what I had been doing) that 3 minutes at 4.0 was all I wanted to handle for the moment.

This morning.... I raised the incline to 2.5% and left it there. Once I got to a cruising speed of 3.5 MPH I found that was enough with the increased incline.

So I did my intervals at 4.0 MPH for 1 minute, then down to 3.3 for 1 minute and just kept alternating. 15 minutes of that was all I could take, so I dropped back to my usual 1.5% incline and 3.7 MPH for the rest of the hour.

Tomorrow I'll try leaving the speed steady.... maybe start with 3.3 MPH as an experiment ......... and keep raising the incline every few minutes and see how the inclines feels at above 2.5%..... lol

Susan

Susan:

fabulous! Keep going and when it gets easy, keep challenging yourself. Sounds to me like you are one sensible and motivated lady and you know what you are doing. Check back in in a few months time and let us know how you are getting on with the weight training, OK?

Clare
 

Our Newsletter

Get awesome content delivered straight to your inbox.

Top