A little update on my 8-week gym challenge. It’s all going great and the only thing challenging about it has been the training (which is as it should be). The nutrition (I’d say diet but I know the word has negative connotations) has been easy, enjoyable even. Personally I don’t think anything I’m eating is unusual (it shouldn’t be, since the whole point is to eat things as close to their natural state as possible) but I do realise that a lot of people would disagree! Lots of veg, lots of protein, plenty of “good” fats, and carbs coming mostly from veg (although not completely – oats, sweet potatoes, quinoa etc all feature). I read something recently about this kind of “body recomposition” eating meaning you eat mainly from the fridge, rather than your cupboards. So true!
I thought I’d focus in on the training here. Since training people is how Kat makes a living, it would hardly be fair for me to list the exact contents of the sessions she’s given me, but I would like to talk about the one which has consistently kicked my gluteus maximus since day one. The full-body circuit.
At first glance, this session didn’t look like much. 😀 There are no heavy weights (because all the exercises are done in circuit-style, with minimal rest, and I need to be able to do 3+ circuits). There’s no running, or indeed anything that most people would recognise as “cardio”. But, this thing really delivers. I’ve been doing it twice a week now for almost four weeks and it can still reduce me to (literally) a gibbering wreck on the weights-room floor.
(Can you spot me?)
I do each of these exercises a certain amount of times, and then go straight into the next one. Unless I actually feel like I might fall down, in which case I have a little breather. This happens more often than I’d like to admit.
Here’s how it goes down (I’m sure Kat won’t mind just this once):
– Plyometric lunges (do a lunge, then jump into a lunge on the opposite side, then continue on each side, on and on and on….)
– Bench press with dumb-bells (lie on your back on a bench, dumb-bell in each hand, and press them up to above your face before lowering so your arms are bent at right-angles. Repeat up and down, up and down, up and…you get the idea)
– A killer abdominal exercise on the bench. I still haven’t worked out how and why this is so tough.
– Tricep dips off the bench. Done whilst face-to-face with your own reflection, wondering why one of your shoulders is wonky.
– Step-ups onto a bench whilst holding dumb-bells in both hands. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? This. Kills. Me. Every. Time.
– Bicep curls with dumb-bells. Whilst trying to calm your hammering heart-rate from previous exercise.
– Jump squats. Squat down, jump up in the air, land (softly), jump again. And again. And again. Keep jumping!
– Press-ups with your feet on the bench you’ve been using. I have lately added my own little twist to this.
– Get up, wait for vision to return to normal. (That’s not part of the original session but I added it in)
– Lunges backwards and forwards. Again, sound easy. Nice, even. Yeah, not so much!
– Shoulder presses with dumb-bells.
– Aaaaand then you go round again. Ideally another two times (I recently did the whole thing four times and was shaking).
Is it sad that I managed to type that all out with referring to the sheet it’s written on? 😉
I don’t know much but I suspect this session works for a few reasons:
– it’s fast, leaving you little time to recover between exercises, so your heart-rate stays high
– the exercises mostly move between upper and lower body, shuttling blood around your body and making your system work extra-hard
– lots of plyometric/jumping movements mean it’s very cardiovascular, even though there’s no traditional cardio in sight
– it’s mostly working with your own body-weight, meaning you can work harder and keep going for longer, but still challenge yourself
Kat, please tell me if that’s more or less correct! 😉
Do you do circuits? Or do you hate them? I love to hate them: they’re tough, but you know they really work!
Let’s all wish Kat the best of luck in her next competition: the Natural Physique Association British Championships which take place this Sunday.