Two bikers on a ride

Advanced Cardio Guidance

Cardiovascular exercise is an important tool to support heart health; including maintaining or lowering blood pressure, decreasing LDL “bad” cholesterol, increasing HDL “good” cholesterol and reducing triglycerides. Cardio can also regulate blood sugar, assist in body reshaping, and overall reduce your risk of chronic disease. Beyond that, cardio can help support sleep, cognition, and energy!

How Much Cardio Do I Need?

A minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 60 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week is recommended. This can be broken up into longer, moderate intensity sessions of 20-45 minutes, or shorter, or higher intensity sessions of 10-20 minutes. With moderate intensity you should be able to hold a conversation, but not easily. With vigorous intensity cardio you should be unable to hold a conversation. You can also perform a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity throughout the week. Click the “My Plan” icon in the app and scroll down to the activity section for your personalized activity recommendations.

What if I am New to Exercise or Returning After an Extended Break?

It is important to note that although these are recommended guidelines, if you are not currently performing any physical activity, you will want to start slow and build up to these recommendations. For example, you can begin with two, 20 minute sessions of moderate intensity cardio per week, and aim to increase either your frequency (days per week), duration (time) of each session, or intensity. Try to increase a variable every 1-2 weeks or on a time interval that works for you until you reach your ideal activity level. Remember, some movement is always better than no movement. Even if you cannot fit in the suggested time, do what you can with the time that you do have. As always, when performing and progressing activity the most important aspect is to listen to your body!

How Can I Optimize My Cardio Sessions?

  • Listen to your body! If an exercise gives you pain or discomfort that feels different than the muscle working, stop performing that exercise and try something else instead (see Exercise Swaps document for ideas).

  • If you are performing a higher intensity cardio session, be sure to incorporate a warm up and finish with mobility.
  • Make sure to get adequate rest between workouts and quality sleep

  • Make sure you are adequately hydrated and fueled before, during and after exercise, especially if you are in a warmer climate or high elevation

    • 125-130 oz/day of fluid (~16 cups) for men

    • 91-95 oz/day of fluid (~12 cups) for women

    • If possible, try to have water with you during your cardio session

  • Try to time your workout 1-3 hours after eating. If you are exercising first thing in the morning, try to eat something simple to fuel your function.

  • There are so many different forms of cardiovascular activity, so try and find different modes that you enjoy, or grab a friend and exercise together!

What should I perform first, cardio or strength training?

  • The type of exercise you perform first depends on your priorities

  • If your priority is building muscle, then perform strength training first or at a time separate from your cardio exercise

  • If your focus is endurance, perform your cardiovascular exercise first and strength training after or at a separate time

  • If your priority is overall health, ideally perform your strength training first or at a separate time from your cardio

  • Limit beginning strength training in a fatigued state to ensure proper form.

Cardio Workouts

Cardio can be broken up however it fits best into your schedule, but ideally spread your movement throughout the week to incorporate exercise more frequently. If you are brand new to exercise, you want to gradually build up.

Cardio methods can include:

  • Jogging
  • HIIT (High Intentsity Interval Training)
  • Incline walking
  • Stairstepper/Stair climbing
  • Rowing
  • Elliptical
  • Biking/cycling
  • Team sports: volleyball, soccer, basketball
  • Swimming
  • Boxing
  • Dancing
  • Hiking uphill/difficult terrain
  • Racquet sports: tennis, pickleball, badminton, racquetball
  • Group classes: Zumba, water aerobics, spin classes and more

What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, is a popular form of vigorous intensity cardio which is completed in short durations but at a higher intensity and ideal for those short on time. If you are new to exercise or jumping back in, gradually increase your exercise time and intensity to avoid injury. Start with one, 10-15 minute session of HIIT per week and listen to your body.

Ideally, exercises are performed one after the other with as little rest as possible. Listen to your body and rest as needed, but do try to push yourself. You are capable of more than you think!

Exercise ideas to incorporate:

How Can I Create a HIIT workout? 

  • Pick 4-6 exercises (see examples above) ideally incorporating full body, multi-joint exercises and perform in a circuit (one after the other with short rest periods) using one of the rep/time scheme types below:
    • AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible)
    • Tabata
    • EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)
    • Ladders
  • Aim to use compound exercises, or exercises that target multiple muscle groups like squats, push up variations and jumping variations. These work the best in HIIT circuits to get your heart rate up.
  • Keep rest at a minimum, but go at your own pace and take a short break if needed
  • Many gyms offer HIIT classes as well, including: Crossfit, Orangetheory, Les Mills classes, spin classes and boot camps. Look for key words and phrases like “high intensity”, “fast paced”, and “high energy”. Oftentimes these classes combine high intensity cardio and strength training, making them a great bang for your buck!

Nice to have equipment:

  • Jump rope

  • Medicine Ball

  • 1-2 light dumbbells

  • 1-2 kettlebells

Advanced HIIT Workout Samples

Below are four different rep and time schemes to build a HIIT workout. Using different schemes can keep your workouts from getting boring!

Type 1: AMRAP (As many rounds as possible)

Time Suggestion: 15-25 minutes


  • 5 Dumbbell Snatch each arm
  • 10 Burpees
  • 15 Goblet Squats
  • 20 Calorie Row

Repeat for as many rounds as possible

Type 2: Tabata

Pick one or more exercises
Time suggestion: 4-5 Rounds, 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 4 min each round.
Link to Tabata Timer App (Apple)
Link to Tabata Timer App (Google)


Round 1:

Assualt Bike

  • 20 seconds of work
  • 10 seconds rest

Repeat for 4 minutes

Round 2:

Body Weight Squats

  • 20 seconds work
  • 10 seconds rest

Repeat for 4 minutes

Round 3:

Mountain Climbers

  • 20 seconds work
  • 10 seconds rest

Repeat for 4 minutes

Type 3: EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)

Time suggestion: 10-20 min


First 10 min:

  • Minute 1: 15 Wall Balls or Dumbbell Thrusters
  • Minute 2: 30 sec Row/Ski/Run/Bike

Second 10 minutes:

  • Minute 1: 15 Kettlebell Swings
  • Minute 2: 30 sec Jump Rope

Type 4: Ladders: 10, 9, 8 7…..7, 8, 9, 10

Progressively decrease reps until you reach a certain number, and then increase reps in the same scheme to finish.

Example: Start with 10 reps the first round, 9 reps the second, 8 reps the third, until you reach 1 rep. Once you reach 1 rep, you will perform 2 reps, then 3 reps, then 4 reps, until you get back up to 10. Your ladder can be any number you want to use, and try to keep increasing your start number!


The JuvYou Mobile App does not provide medical advice and is not meant to treat or prevent disease or replace a visit to your healthcare provider. You should not rely on it solely to make important medical decisions.