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  1. Circuit Training or Circus Act: Fitness Pro Investigates


    Circuit training seems to be the latest trendy workout routine... and for good reason. Everyone is either trying to lose body fat or to build muscle or cardiovascular endurance.

    Unfortunately, some of the workouts I've seen belong in Cirque du Soleil rather than a gym floor.

    What's worse, some of these people are under the guidance of a McTrainer -- run of the mill "fitness pros" you can find everywhere. Because they're more affordable than the average experienced trainer, consumers end up getting these trainers off the dollar menu.

    In the long run, it's the consumer who ends up getting supersized with some unwanted results like joint pain, body fat gain, and muscular discomfort.

    On the bright side, circuit training does have a number of benefits.

    What is circuit training, you ask? Circuit training is simply a combination of high-intensity aerobics and resistance training exercises. A "circuit" would consist of a succession of exercises done consecutively.

    Ideally, the time between exercises in a circuit is short. When one circuit is complete, you start at the first exercise again for another circuit.

    It's great for the athlete or for anyone seeking general fitness. Circuit training is usually a time-based program. As far as general fitness is concerned, a circuit consists of about 8-12 stations or exercises, with a goal of 1-3 circuits in total in a training session. Each exercise would last for 30-90 seconds with 30-90 seconds rest between each station.

    After the completion of a circuit, rest interval would be 2-3 minutes, and then start again. The tempo is preferably medium to fast, and a frequency of 2-4 times a week.

    Sounds complicated? It's not.

    Let's take a body weight circuit for example. Push-ups for 30 seconds and 30 seconds of rest. Jumping jacks for 30 seconds and 30 seconds rest. Squats for 30 seconds and 30 seconds rest. Jog in place for 30 seconds and 30 seconds rest. Pull-ups for 30 seconds and 30 seconds rest. Mountain climbers for 30 seconds and 30 seconds rest. Alternate leg lunges for 45 seconds and 30 seconds rest. Burpees for 30 seconds and 2-3 minutes rest. Start again.

    Resistance circuit training is also an option with bands and or weights.

    This particular upper/lower body circuit maybe easy for the active and fit, however most people are deconditioned, overweight or just not mentally prepared. This is where the circus act comes in.

    If your posture is suffering throughout the routine, scale back and get it right. Light and right is better than strong and wrong.

    If your trainer makes you feel like you're two steps away from a heart attack, fire him. If the exercises your doing by yourself or with your trainer makes you feel like you should be wearing clown shoes, go back to the basics.

    There should be at least 48 hours of rest between sessions.

    If you're too sore to do so, more than likely you overdid it.

    NOTES: Some exercises are generally for the physically fit and active. If you suffer from joint pain, or have cardiac-related problems, please consult a physician before starting a routine. Otherwise, seek an experienced personal trainer for proper techniques.

    For more information, check out www.AmmoAthletics.com.

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