Circuit training is a combination of cardio and strength exercises. Circuits range from as few as three exercises to upwards of 15. The goal of this training is to complete the circuit to boost your body's strength and endurance.
After each circuit, you'll need some downtime to recover. The optimal rest time between sets for you depends on your fitness goals and your physical condition.
Why Do Circuit Training
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) reports circuit training is one of the leading fitness trends. Circuit workouts are gaining popularity because they aren't as time consuming as other workouts but are still highly effective for enhancing physical fitness.
Strength circuits alternate between upper and lower body exercises so one portion of the body can rest while the other is in motion. In general, rest time is minimized as much as possible. The typical circuit training session takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Short rest periods allow for a highly efficient workout that frees up time for additional exercise. Because of this, most people take about 20-30 second breaks between sets. Taking a longer period of time to rest somewhat defeats the purpose of circuit training. After all, circuits are designed to maximize your workout time.
Why Rest Is Important
The amount of time you rest between circuits plays a significant role in how you feel and how much your workout changes your body. If you don't rest long enough, you burn out quicker. If you rest too long, your workouts lose their intensity. Studies have shown that growth hormone and testosterone are generated in higher levels when you rest for moderate to short periods of time. Rest will also give the body a chance to build muscle.
The bottom line is your muscles and your body's central nervous system require time to recover from work. Failing to rest will reduce your ability to lift, push, run and move freely. Insufficient rest will also reduce your rate of recovery and affect your performance in later exercises.
How Long Should You Rest?
In general, you should give yourself a minimum of 15 seconds and maximum of 60 seconds between circuits. That said, there is no perfect number that applies to every single person. You need to rest as long as it takes to catch your breath and move to the next station with energy and confidence. If you feel like you aren't pushing yourself hard enough, shorten your breaks. If you're overheating, extend them. Just remember to always have some break between circuits.
Rest may not seem like a big deal, but it has the potential to make or break your workout. Don't attempt to teach yourself all the ins and outs of proper exercise and fitness. Get a specialized trainer to help you build the body you've always wanted.
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Aerobic and anaerobic exercises sound like the same thing, but they each have different pros and cons. So which is better for losing weight? And which should you add to your workout routine?
Here's a breakdown of the benefits of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, and which is better for losing weight.
Aerobic is best described as exercise that makes use of oxygen to generate energy. These exercises are meant to boost the efficiency of the cardiovascular system to absorb and transport oxygen.
Aerobic exercise usually lasts a minimum of 20 minutes. Anytime you workout on a bicycle, treadmill, elliptical machine, running track, or stepper, you're doing aerobic exercise.
Aerobic Exercise Pros
The benefits of aerobic exercise include weight loss, improved circulation, enhanced cardiovascular health, and a boosted immune system. Aerobic exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and specific types of cancer.
Aerobic Exercise Cons
Aerobic exercises are great for burning fat, but they don't build much muscle. Add in the fact that some people can't handle exercising for 20 minutes or longer and it is easy to see why many prefer anaerobic exercises.
Those who have chest pains or any sort of discomfort in the chest should avoid intense aerobic exercise. This style of exercise will also prove unsuitable for those who often experience breathlessness when working out. Those who take medications for a heart condition, high blood pressure or stroke should go easy on these exercises.
This style of exercise involves physical activity without relying on oxygen to produce energy. Instead, the body generates energy that stems from glycogen, also known as carbohydrates.
Examples of anaerobic exercise include high-intensity interval training, resistance training and weightlifting. These exercises typically last a couple of minutes at most.
TRY IT: 30 Minutes Anaerobic Workout
Anaerobic Exercise Pros
The benefits of anaerobic exercises range from muscle development to improved bone density, improved cardiovascular health and the reduction of body fat. Every workout routine should include some sort of anaerobic exercise to help tone your body.
Anaerobic Exercise Cons
With anaerobic exercise, the focus is primarily on building muscle rather than improving endurance. If you're looking to boost your stamina, burn lots of fat and get in shape for something like a marathon or a team sport, anaerobic workouts won't help you reach your fitness goals.
One of the most important disadvantages to this style of exercise is that it causes the accumulation of lactate within the blood. These ions irritate muscle tissue and contractions. They also create a burning sensation within the muscles that causes muscle fatigue and, in some instances, muscle failure.
Which Is Better For Weight Loss?
In terms of overall fitness, neither of these forms of exercise is superior to the other. Aerobic exercise is best for immediate weight loss. If you have a lot of excess fat, you'll want to incorporate cardio-boosting aerobics into your workout regimen. However, you'll also need anaerobic workouts for toning and to prevent those pounds from coming back.
Aerobic and anaerobic exercises ultimately work best if done together. If you want to lose weight and tone your muscles, the best way to do that is with a balanced workout with both.
Though you don't have to perform aerobic and anaerobic exercises every single time you work out, you shouldn't just do one or the other. Instead, try alternating the two. Do thirty-minute aerobic exercises every other day and thirty-minute strenuous anaerobic exercises on the day in-between.
Work with your personal trainer to find the right mix for your fitness goals.
Build up your tolerance of higher impact exercises. Try my 30-Day Toned Arm Challenge below for free.
If you feel stressed out, you're not alone! Just about everyone experiences stress, especially when the temperature is soaring and other life events ramp up in intensity.
Stress is normal, yet it can be alleviated through exercise. Physical activity decreases the human body's stress hormone known as cortisol.
Exercise also spurs the release of endorphins within the body. These are the “happy chemicals” that help your mind and body relax. Incorporate the exercises outlined below in your workout and you will feel a liberating sense of relief.
Enjoy a lengthy run and you will undoubtedly feel better. Your run will take your focus off the issues or stimuli that are stressing you out. If possible, go for an outdoor run. Running outdoors is optimal as connecting with nature helps to calm the brain and melt that nasty stress away. If it is too hot to head outdoors, hit the treadmill or run in place.
Kickboxing is a fantastic, on-trend means of eliminating stress. It is best defined as a combination of traditional boxing and martial arts. This intense workout burns calories much faster than most other forms of exercise. It also helps to maintain a high metabolic rate.
Kickboxing decreases stress as it forces you to learn nuanced breathing techniques during intense physical activity. Commit to regular kickboxing sessions and you will feel more relaxed and confident in your ability to defend yourself. This means you won't stress out as much about potential physical attacks when venturing outside on your own.
This ancient Chinese martial art provides wide-ranging health benefits including stress reduction. Tai Chi combines specialized breathing techniques with flowing physical movements.
It enhances muscular strength, boosts immunity, improves flexibility, relieves pain and promotes a sense of internal peace. This is exactly what you need to unwind after a stressful day.
Most people don't think dancing does much but provide an outlet for music-lovers to move to the beat. Dancing relieves stress, tones the muscles and maintains flexibility.
Turn on your favorite music, shut the door and dance your heart out. This is your chance to express yourself, be creative and eliminate all that built-up stress.
Dancing boosts your confidence and helps you establish a healthy mindset that you can carry forth for the rest of the day and beyond. Studies have even shown that dancing boosts heart health, builds muscle, strengthens bones and spurs weight loss.
Mix yoga into your workouts and you will feel an empowering sense of inner calm and balance. Yoga boosts flexibility and strength while promoting mental and physical relaxation. Give yoga a chance and you will learn all sorts of different poses, mindfulness and controlled breathing.
The Mayo Clinic reports the benefits of yoga include decreased stress, a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.
The best part is that yoga can be performed by anyone in just about any environment. Yoga requires minimal space and has a very short learning curve. All you need is a yoga mat and a few feet of room. It takes a mere 15 minutes of yoga to reduce your stress and boost your physique.
Get into shape and reduce your stress this summer with my summer slim-down workout package. Download it below for free!
Walking as a form of exercise is often thought of as ineffective or too easy, so many fitness buffs add weight to their walks to experience more drastic results.
But is this the best way to make the most of your stroll through the neighborhood?
Benefits of Walking
Despite popular opinion, walking is a highly effective workout—when done properly. According to Art Weltman, an expert in exercise physiology, “Fast-paced walking, when combined with healthy eating, is hugely effective for weight loss.”
It also benefits your overall health, reducing your risk for everything from depression to heart disease. Additionally, studies have shown that women who walk at a high-intensity level for 30 minutes at least three times a week burn more belly fat than those who walk at slower paces more often.
Weights or No Weights
The trick to making your walks more effective isn’t adding weight, as some might believe. In fact, added weight may actually have a negative impact on your health.
Today, many trainers don’t recommend walking with added weight (think: arm bands, ankle weights, hand weights). That’s because doing so causes fatigue to set in more quickly, which means your form suffers. As a result, you compensate for certain movements, leading to low back pain or even injury.
Separate is Better
Instead of adding weight to your walking routine, try amping up your speed. Power-walk for thirty minutes a day, three times a week. Or turn walking into a HIIT workout by strolling for a minute, power-walking for two, then strolling again until you’ve reached the thirty-minute mark.
As far as strength training goes, don’t neglect it—just do it before you walk. Exercise physiologist and trainer Michelle Lovitt suggests, “Do one thing at a time as intensely as possible, and then move on to the other.”
Unless you’re an athlete in training for a competition, the only time adding weight to a walk is acceptable is if you’re only going to be walking for a short amount of time, like five minutes.
Even then, most experts recommend using a weighted vest so that your balance doesn’t get thrown off and affect your form.
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Unless you work out for a living, you likely have a limited number of hours to devote to working out each week.
Regardless of the amount of time you devote to exercise, it's tough to figure out how to split your time to maximize results.
For most people, working out three to five days a week is ideal if your goal is to improve your fitness and stay in shape.
If you're used to a very active lifestyle and work out six days a week, you can stick to six days. Otherwise, you don't need to push past five.
For a five-day workout, plan on three days for strength training, two days for cardio training, and then two days of active rest.
Strength train up to three times per week, with each session lasting between 45 and 60 minutes. Allow time for foam rolling and a five-minute warm-up as well. Warm-up exercises allow you to work on coordination with patterns (i.e. crawling) and non-linear movements.
Don't stress about going too hard on the machines; dumbbells, kettlebells and bodyweight moves (i.e. squats) are also great strength training workouts.
Cardio train up to two times per week for a total of 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity per week. Cardio helps you maintain endurance and keeps your circulatory system working at its full capacity. The type of training you're doing will dictate how you split up that time. Your heart rate and the length of the exercise determine whether or not an activity is cardio.
Active Rest Days
An active rest day means not hitting the machines at the gym or taking a long run but still doing something to get yourself moving, such as walking or restorative yoga. Aim for two active rest days per week with a 30-60 minute activity per rest day. Some people like to take off the whole weekend while other people prefer to break up the weekly routine.
Ralph Roberts Training helps clients determine the best number of days to work out per week and advises specific routines for each day at the gym. Contact Ralph Roberts today to get a comprehensive workout in line with your fitness and overall health goals.
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Wouldn't it be great if you could burn calories without having to constantly work out? Well, you can. Of course, this doesn't mean you shouldn't still spend time exercising, but it's good to know that many of your everyday activities are burning those calories.
What Activities Burn Calories?
It's summertime, and that means that you are naturally more active. You may be getting to all those outdoor chores and projects that you have been putting off, such as getting your yard in tip-top shape for entertaining or tackling home improvement projects like painting. These activities not only burn calories, but also improve your cardiovascular health.
Here are some typical activities that help burn calories and keep you active and fit, as well as how many calories are generally burned.
Even fairly low-key activities such as planting flowers and pulling some pesky weeds burns between 200 and 400 calories an hour. That's not bad at all. Mowing the lawn is comparable, but if you really want to up the burn, try more intensive yard work like raking. If you really get going, you can burn between 400 and 600 calories PER HOUR.
Are you thinking of painting? It's a big job. Three hours of painting can burn over 1,000 calories, so break out those color swatches and get busy.
Cleaning, mopping floors, dusting and organizing closets are a few more house chores that can make you sweat.
Whether you're running around the air conditioned mall or getting groceries, you are burning calories. You can burn a good 500 to 600 calories during the course of a three-hour shopping trip. Maximize this by parking as far from the entrance as possible, and moving around in a brisk fashion.
This summer, in addition to your normal exercise routine, be sure to keep in mind that working around the house and running errands can burn calories, too. Knowing this may make your activities more purposeful and effective.
Can A Personal Trainer Help Me Reach My Goals?
If you are struggling to lose weight and get fit, a personal trainer can help. By creating a custom health and fitness plan, tailored to your lifestyle and body type, a personal trainer can be your coach, fitness partner and can keep you motivated and on track. Ralph Roberts works with clients of all shapes and sizes to help them achieve their goals. Contact Ralph today for a free personal training session and see what you think.
Wondering how fit you are? Download Ralph's FREE Fitness Level Body Challenge and find out!
Your life is busy enough — you work, you raise kids, you’re on the PTA and you sometimes get stuck in traffic coming home from work (or going to it, for that matter). It becomes easy to say you don't have enough time for other things, such as exercise, no matter how important they can be. But most of us can spare at least 20 minutes.
Studies have shown that walking for just 20 minutes a day has a variety of health benefits, and could very well help you prolong your life.
In fact, one study in the United Kingdom showed that a sedentary lifestyle was responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity. When you think of it that way, carving out 20 minutes of your crammed schedule doesn't seem that hard, after all.
7 Benefits of Walking 20 Minutes a Day
1. Longer Life
It's worth repeating that even brief amounts of exercise - like 20 minutes of walking - can help you to live a longer life, while inactivity is responsible for a large amount of deaths.
2. Weight Loss
Twenty minutes of walking a day can help trim your belly and burn calories. It also helps to reduce visceral fat, a dangerous form of fat that presses against your body's organs. The U.K. study showed that simply having a body mass index (BMI) lower than obesity lowered mortality by nearly four percent.
3. Better Mood
Want to improve your mood after (or before) a long day? Research shows that even a moderately-paced walk can release endorphins that help trigger a positive mood.
4. More Energy
People who walked just 20 minutes a day reported feeling less fatigued and more energetic. Walking increases your blood flow, which increases the body's ability to create energy.
5. Less Risk of Heart Disease
The U.K. study showed that walking 20 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by eight percent. By doubling the walk to 40 minutes, your risk of heart disease is lowered by 18 to 20 percent, the report said.
6. Decreased Risk of Diabetes
Taking a walk after a meal will lower your blood sugar and lessen your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
7. Better Memory
Through walking and exercise, people have a larger hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Moreover, it can lower your risk of getting dementia.
Working with a personal trainer like Ralph Roberts can help you better attain your fitness and health goals. Contact Ralph today to schedule a free personal training session.
Looking for other ways to stay in shape, but on a tight schedule? Download Ralph Roberts' FREE 2 Weeks of At-Home Workouts!
There’s a lot of controversy around the term “bikini body” these days, especially on social media. But, bodies, just like bikinis, come in all different shapes and sizes.
So how do you get a perfect bikini body? Well, a perfect bikini body isn’t defined by having Britney Spears’ abs, Carrie Underwood’s legs and Kim Kardashian’s rear end.
A perfect bikini body should be about being healthy, comfortable and confident. Don’t strive for perfection. Strive to be happy and healthy. Strive to be the best version of yourself.
That’s my goal at Ralph Roberts Personal Training — to make you feel good about yourself in a swimsuit this summer.
My FREE Summer Slim-down Package includes a variety of low-impact and high-impact exercises that will work every part of your body. What’s so great about these exercises is that you can pick and choose which ones you want to do. Many of them you can even do at home.
Do these exercises at your own pace, but challenge yourself! Grab your significant other, a group of friends or even your coworkers and work out together. After all, the buddy system is one of the most successful workout methods.
Pair this Summer Slim-down plan with a nutritious diet of lean protein, vegetables and good fats to see the best results. Whether your goal is to lose weight, tone up or just feel good about yourself this summer, this workout package will make sure you blow everyone out of the water.
Download my FREE Summer Slim-down package today!
The right pair of athletic shoes can save you from painful injuries when working out. Whether you're exercising inside a gym or running on outdoor trails, your shoes need to be replaced periodically to ensure your feet are being properly supported. Follow our guide below to decide when it's time to find your next pair.
Gauge Your Activity Level
The amount of time that a pair of athletic shoes will last depends on a few factors. Typically, a pair of shoes will hold up to 500 miles of walking or running. However, those who exercise outdoors may have to replace shoes more frequently. Those who weigh more or have a heavier step may also find that their shoes become worn out more quickly.
Give Your Shoes a Once-Over
Start by simply looking at the shoes to check out the wear and tear. Look past dirt and scuffs. You want to look for parts of the shoe that look stretched out and worn down. Often, worn out shoes will plainly show they're past their prime. Pay special attention to the insole. If you can see a deep indent from your feet, the insoles have started to flatten out which means your feet are getting less cushioning when walking and running.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Your body will help to let you know when it's time to upgrade your gear. Take note of any aches and pains while you exercise. Pain in the legs, hips, back, and feet can all be indications that the cushioning in your shoes isn't doing its job. Blisters and rubbing are also signs that you should consider purchasing a new pair of shoes.
Rotate with a New Pair
When you're comfortable with your go-to pair of shoes, it might be difficult to recognize the signs of wear. A good way to judge the condition of one pair of athletic shoes is to compare them to another pair. Pick up a new pair of shoes and rotate the two. It won't take long to notice the difference between the old and new pair. As a bonus, rotating between pairs will help each to last longer and will allow one pair to air out while you wear the other.
Just like the right shoes, the right trainer will make all the difference in ensuring you get your best workout. To learn more about customized workout plans and making the most of your time spent training, contact Ralph Roberts to try a free personal training session.
Exercise trends come and go more often than fashion trends. But the way the human body works doesn’t change. Here are eight common cardio mistakes to avoid.
1. Focusing On Cardio More Than Strength
Cardio is an important part of a fat loss program, but it’s not the only part. Strength training builds lean muscle, which boosts your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will be able to burn.
2. Exhausting Your Energy Supply Before Strength Training
If you spend all your energy on an intense cardio workout, your body won’t have anything left to give for strength training. Consider splitting up your workout routine: cardio and weights on alternating days.
3. Aiming For A Specific Number Of Calories
Another common cardio mistake happens when you rely too heavily on the number of calories burned. The numbers on machines don’t always give you an accurate picture of your workout. A better way to measure the success of an exercise is to focus on intensity.
4. Staying In The Fat-Burning Zone
Most cardio machines have a “fat burning” zone indicator. But it’s actually not beneficial to weight loss to stay in that zone for the duration of your sweat session. Instead, work in intervals, from low to high intensity.
5. Working Out On An Empty Stomach
Your body needs food for energy. Exercising on an empty stomach is like driving a car with no gasoline. For the best results, have a light, healthy snack about an hour before your workout. Fruit and yogurt with granola is one great option. Here are some other ideas.
6. Training For A Race Without Mixing It Up
When you train, your body becomes accustomed to the exertion (this is how you gain endurance), meaning you burn fewer calories with each session. So instead of focusing only on running, include various types of workouts in your race day prep.
7. Routinely Splitting Up Cardio And Strength
We mentioned earlier that cardio and strength should be done on alternating days, but this applies to intense sessions. Performing low to moderate intensity cardio in the middle of your strength workout burns more calories.
8. Eating Everything In Sight
Some people (incorrectly) believe that as long as they’re doing cardio every day, they can eat whatever they choose. But weight loss is about expending more calories than you consume. If you burn 300 calories, but eat an extra 500, you won’t see a drop in body fat.
Support is vital for weight loss goals. Ralph Roberts focuses on creating plans that work with your lifestyle to get you real results. If you’re ready to take control of your health, give us a call.
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