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Circuits

Reading this title makes me wish I was about to write a philosophical entry on the subject of how life experiences happen in circuits, bad times and good times come and go… That kind of thing. Unfortunately I am not feeling quite that insightful today. This post is about the exercise class, circuit training.

As we are nearing the end of January, I hope my words provide some kind of motivation to those who are somewhat lagging with their new years fitness resolutions. I feel that circuits, despite its difficulty, is an inclusive class, and its widespread popularity means it will surely be offered nearby.

The name of the class refers to the rotation between stations of different exercises, with the general format of the class being a warm up including running, jumping and other simple cardio followed by roughly minute at each station in the venue. Station exercises vary from more cardio like skipping and box jumps, dynamic weighted or unweighted moves like squats, lunges, air cycles or tricep dips, through to weight lifting moves like bench press or clean and press.

These aspects of the class, its accessibility and its variety, are two of the reasons I would recommend it to anyone.

For people with gym memberships, I have noticed that only some of you explore the area of exercise classes. For those that don’t, many classes, especially popular ones like circuits are available at many sports halls with one off costs. Another great thing about circuit training, and this is the same for other classes, is that they teach you. I for one often feel too self conscious to do independent free weights moves in the gym, and am envious of those who have the confidence to blast out various moves taking advantage of all the equipment. However, the exercises on offer at circuits teach you. You learn which moves target which areas, the weights you can handle for different moves, you better your technique and you can move all this learnt information into the gym or home environment to achieve your own personal goals. In my experience of at least 7 different circuit training classes, often they can include a spot of personal training. When the instructor sees you looking a bit clueless and confused, or using an incorrect technique, they will come over and offer help. It feels like a little [less-than-minute-long] personal training session, and really aids memory and motivation. Exercising next to someone so fit and strong just makes you want to push even harder and trust me you do feel the rewards.

Back in sixth form when I needed to get fitter for an expedition, I chose circuits as the class that would aid these goals, which it did. In September I returned to my old friend in a bid to get in better shape after a summer of road-tripping and drinking far too much beer. I have not been let down this time around either, finding my favourite of all of the classes I’ve ever tried, while also being the hardest (but most rewarding). I personally lack quite a lot of coordination, so following an instructors routine with the rest of the class all in sync just doesn’t quite agree with me. Isolating certain areas and working my whole body in a variety of moves though, that sounds much more appealing.

Circuit training moves quickly, your moves are constantly changing so boredom is not allowed. It proves you don’t need a gym membership to exercise, it tests your physical and also mental ability, teaches you and ultimately is a lot of fun. I would urge anyone on a fitness journey to give it a try, theres a reason its a classic.

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