Here’s an option:
Don’t just do your cardio — TRAIN your cardio.
A few years ago cardio—especially steady state cardio—was finally released from the fitness penalty box by a few very smart bros (Alex Viada and Luke Leaman among them) after being sent there for no good reason.
The bad rap on cardio was either taken grossly out of context (jacks up cortisol, eats up muscle tissue) or a steaming pile of bullshit (makes you fat, renders men sterile).
But because cardio is time consuming, can be boring, and pound-for-pound pales in comparison to diet for changing body composition, most lifters were quick to say good riddance.
Cardio is healthy. It helps lower blood pressure, increases insulin sensitivity, and boosts mitochondrial function, which supports performance (your lifting) and cognition, so at age 50 you don’t start mistaking your laundry hamper for the toilet.
The drawbacks to cardio are the two aforementioned: relatively time consuming and can be boring.
So it’s not surprising cardio tends to get scrapped in favor of weight training, as there’s only so many hours in the day.
But imagine if you were forced to not weight train for a month?
That would free up time to develop all these healthy adaptations to make your return to your little slice of the Iron Paradise that much more productive.
A cardio-heavy training block “gets you in shape to diet” or start an intense weight training block.
Best of all, the adaptations you develop during the block are maintained with far lower volumes. Oh, and it also helps burn fat and makes you feel good.
For lifters I prefer Zone 2 work, which is 65-70% of max heart rate, or 120-140 BPM, simply low intensity and slow.
Monitoring the HR is key though, as the level of effort that had you in range week 1 likely won’t cut it before long as you get in better shape.
Others argue that higher intensity stuff is more effective at whipping you into shape, and they’re not wrong. Still I prefer to switch to that after a block steady state cardio to first “iron out the kinks” and of course get in better shape.
I die inside when I see a 40-year old overweight guy who hasn’t sprinted since high school or even walked on a treadmill being told to start crushing treadmill intervals “cause it’s over fast.”
In terms of the what, pick stuff that you actually enjoy doing.
I prefer brisk walks outdoors (apparently Dorian liked them; still haven’t run into him myself, yet) but again a heart rate monitor is crucial so you don’t inadvertently drop from a power walk into a pedestrian zombie shuffle while you record yet another string of straight fire Stories on IG. Others prefer indoor stuff.
Get after it!