Here's a way to make sure boredom doesn't creep into your workout routine.
After signing up for a winter membership at a gym, I showed for my second visit late on a Sunday afternoon. And ran smack into a guy with a vacuum cleaner.
|Advice on Circuit routine basics:|
|For optimal toning and weight loss, select a weight with which you can do 20 to 25 repetitions of each exercise.|
|Use three main exercises: A chest press, a rowing movement and a leg press. If you want, add in some crunches to buff your abs.|
|Do the exercises in sequence, for at least three full cycles (nine sets). Add weight and cycles as your condition improves.|
|Do this routine every other day, three to four times a week.|
|The benefits of pilates|
|Lighter weights with more repetitions work your heart, heavier weight with less repetition work your muscles.|
|Slow down for faster results.|
|Drop pounds by lifting weights.|
He was cleaning up, because it was 35 minutes until closing. What to do? Go home? Do part of my usual workout or something else?
The something I chose was a circuit workout. It's perfect for the time-strapped. I should do them more often, but my workouts over the years have evolved to a more leisurely place.
When you do it right, the benefit of a circuit workout is that it involves every major muscle group. You go directly from an exercise working one muscle group to an exercise working another muscle group, and so on.
Ron Clark, president of the National Federation of Professional Trainers, says circuit workouts differ from the more familiar "split" routines.
In a split workout, you would focus all exercise on a given muscle group before moving on to another muscle group. For more intensive weight training, split routines will work half the muscle groups one day, the other half the next.
Split routines are a great way to boost muscle size and strength. They are best for people who have done preparatory weight training and are in good physical shape.
Circuit workouts are ideal for people just getting started and for those who walk into the gym 30 minutes before closing time.
Clark is not a big fan of circuit workouts that isolate muscle groups, as many workout machines are designed to do. Instead, he says, "to work the muscle the best, you need to employ three movements. These are compound movements, which involve more than two joints."
His ideal circuit involves a pulling movement, a pushing movement and something for the legs. For pulling, try a bent-over cable row or lat pull-down, which work the shoulders, biceps and back. The ideal pushing movement would be a bench press or machine-aided chest press, which work the shoulders,triceps and chest. Lastly, do a leg press or squatting movement, which works all the leg muscles.
"What you want to try to do is involve as much muscle as you can in as short of a time as you can, to more appropriately use your energy reserves," says Clark.
During recovery, your body will tap fat reserves to replenish the energy on which muscles depend. So, circuit training, with a controlled diet, can aid weight loss or improve your ratio of fat to muscle.
Depending on how much weight you use, circuit training can also provide something of an aerobic workout. Lighter weights for higher repetitions will put more load on heart and lungs. Heavier weights and fewer repetitions will put more load on the muscles themselves.
To get the most benefit, flog yourself. No, rest between sets until you're toast.
Herbs for Sleep
Photographer: Phil Date