Thursday, 18 August 2011

At Home Circuit Training

The other day, a lovely blogger and loyal commenter made a remark about home circuit training.

Which I have been meaning to write a post about for a while.

So I pounced upon her straight away and asked for a guest post...

The lovely Jodi of The Scribble Den indulged me - so read on for a brilliant way to work out free, to work out well, to work out conveniently:

When Lucy asked me to guest post today I was very honoured indeed, and then as I read on and realised I was to be guest posting on my personal at home circuit training I had a bit of a chuckle.

 You see, I am a very haphazard exercise junkie meaning that I love to exercise and keep fit but can never stick to anything for very long. I get bored, tired or just plain lazy really. Also I hate the gym. The idea of working out, sweating all over exercise equipment, feeling like I have to keep pace with the long, lean freak on the treadmill next to me whilst others perv glance around the room just makes me nauseous. So I have learned to be an ‘at home’ exercise junkie.

I have a fabulous collection of tragic wonderful DVD’s including Aerobics Oz Style, Denise Austin, Tracy Anderson, Windsor Pilate's, 10 minute trainer (yes I get sucked into late night TV shopping), and even a Paula Abdul dance DVD. (?)

But, my favourite type of exercise and the one I always come back to is Circuit Training. Why?

  • It's challenging, but fun
  • It works every muscle in your body, including your heart
  • You can change the routine each day[Soft Break]
  • You can adjust time limits at each station to suit how you feel each day
  • You don’t need any ‘special’ equipment
  • You don’t the latest, tight fitting exercise clothing: just trackies & a T-shirt

 So here is my At Home Circuit Training for Dummies Mummies.

What you need:

 Light hand weights, (soup or dog food cans will do), an exercise mat (or carpet area), a skipping rope (any rope will do), stairs or steps, some space, a clock (preferably with a second hand) and your favourite music. And a water bottle to keep hydrated – very important.

Set up 5 stations as follows:

 1.Hand weights (works arm & shoulder muscles)

 2.Sit ups/crunches (works abs, core strength & that pelvic floor)

 3.Skipping area. Make sure you have enough room to actually skip without knocking over the crystal. (works heart and aerobic capacity)

 4.Lunges & leg work (works on toning legs & butt)

 5.Stairs or steps (works legs and heart/lungs)

Now set your music to your favourite CD or play list. You will be doing each station for one minute to begin with so keep an eye on the clock or better still you can set up an iPhone app to alert you at each interval.

Decide how long you will do the circuit for: 20 minutes is a good starting point.

It is always good to start with a short warm up of some light stretching of the major muscle groups to prevent injury and warm up the muscles ready for the onslaught.

 When you are warmed up GET STARTED! Simple as that. Work at your own pace, you don’t need to be going ‘hell for leather’ at each station. Do what you can and your own speed. The challenge is to push yourself a little further each time you revisit a station.

 Here’s what to do at each station:

 1.Hand weights:
Here simply lift those weights. You can do bicep curls, triceps, shoulder raises. Sets of eight on each arm at a time.

  2.Sit up/crunches.:
Use this minute to tone those abs with a combination of crunches/curls and side twists to work both lower, upper and side abs. Traditional crunches lifting your head and shoulders off the ground and back down. You can then do the opposite and keep your shoulders down, put your legs in the air and raise your butt off the ground a little by squeezing your abs. You can then do a combo of both the upper lift and bottom lift together. Then works side abs by lifting shoulders off the ground and twisting left and right. Remember to breath in when you are contracting your muscles and out when you relax.

Yes just like at school. Grab the rope and skip to whatever level you feel comfortable. It might be a running skip, a double jump or a fast single jump or a combination.

 4.Stairs or steps:
If you have stairs run up to the top and back down for the entire minute. If you only have a few steps, use them like a step class. Alternate a gentle step up and down for ten seconds, followed by ten seconds of running up and down.

The good old lunge & squat. Start with both legs together then step the left leg forward as you lunge down. Try not to over extend your knee and keep upright lunging down till your knee is close but not touching the floor, return to standing position and repeat with the right leg. Alternate five times and then do some simple standing squats, leg together and squatting up and down as if you are about to sit on a chair.

 Once you have done the circuit and are back to the beginning, push yourself a little further for the next time around. When you are nearing your time allocation of time use the last circuit as a bit of a cool down and take it a little easier.

 Remember that this is all done at your own pace, there is no one there to impress or judge you. If you need a break for a minute – take it. If you need to just walk around the room for a minute do it. If you feel crap, stop and try again tomorrow.

 Also it is best to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regime and if you feel feint or light headed during the workout please stop. (Disclaimer courtesy of the many exercise DVD’s I own!)

 Oh and one word of advice don’t try and out do yourself on the first attempt. I did and could barely use my calf muscles for three days! Not. Worth. It. But all the other benefits ARE worth it!

 Jodi is a passionate blogger, freelance writer and aspiring author. Jodi loves sharing business inspiration, social media & online marketing tips from her business background and is also studying graphic design. A loving wife and also mum to 4 girls, Jodi is cycling mad, loves travel, music, drama, theatre, crazy dancing and people who have the courage to be real and follow their dreams.



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  1. If I'm watching a tv show or movie on the tv when its on I dont just sit still I get up & walk or ran on the spot.

    Then when the tv ad's come on I have a 6 to 8 min break (thats usually how the long the ads are)

    When tv show or movie is back on I'm back to walking or running on the spot.

    (((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

  2. Hey Lucy and Jodi, I do interval training with and these workouts really do get you fit and losing weight and tone up at the same time. I alternate these with a Jillian Michaels DVD. They are great workouts which fit into between 4 and 30 minutes.

  3. Thanks Lucy! Honoured to be guest blogging for you today :)

    Ms_MotorbikeNut - what a great idea! I should try that although usually by the time I get to watch tv at the end of the day I am truly looking forward to just sitting and vedging out!

    Adalita - Jillian Michaels uh-huh! Another to add to my collection :)

  4. This is just what I need!
    Running training is getting boring, and my trainer said I need more variety as my leg muscles are getting way too tight from all the running.

    Thanks Jodi & Lucy xxx

  5. great post Jodi - and very timely considering I have been thinking of starting a fitness regime and absolutely DETEST the gym!

  6. What a great idea! I love the title because one of my favourite exercise DVD's is called aerobics for dummies!
    I have 4-5 DVD's that I do different sections of so I concentrate of all types of movements.

  7. It is very interesting that one can always do circuit training at home. Happy workout and great post.

  8. Wow, something I definitely haven't thought of before. Thanx for adding something to my routine.

  9. Makes me wanna get all the boxes out of the garage and start jumping over them...

  10. I hav never done much exercise at home but am inspired! Great ideas and tips. Have always thought I'd love a walking machjne at home but space/money are issues. Currently really loving the personal training won at the raffle but don't do anything outsid the gym - time to start.

  11. Great post - I do this and have had great results with it, even 10 minutes each morning can do wonders!


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