Ever since I got my qualification as a gym instructor (almost a personal trainer!) friends have constantly asked me what they should do to get in shape. “Cat, how do I tone my bum?”, “How do I tighten my abs?”, “How do I get legs like Miranda Kerr?” To the latter I reply: genes! But to most other questions the answer is always eat well and exercise daily. For the most part you don’t need a gym membership to get fit, tone up and lose some extra kilos. Accidental exercise such as leaving the car in free parking and walking up to campus, getting off the bus a few stations before your usual stop or taking the stairs instead of the lift are a few great ways to supplement an exercise regime.
The best exercise regime is circuit training. It provides quick bursts of energy targeting multiple large muscles groups through a series of exercises, increasing both cardiovascular endurance and hypertrophy (a fancy term for saying muscle growth). I’ve designed below a short 5-7 minute circuit for any fitness level. It targets your biceps, pectoralis, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings and abdominals (the target areas many beginners want to tone) as well as increasing cardiovascular endurance.
2 min skipping: you don’t necessarily have to do it with a rope if you don’t have one.
10 push ups: Keep your head, chest and hips in alignment.
10 body weight squats: Stick your bum out like you’re sitting on a chair and keep your chest lifted.
1 min stair run: Run as quickly as you can up some stairs.
30 sec mountain climber: Get into a plank position on your hands and bring your knee towards the opposite elbow, alternating legs as quickly as possible without lifting your bum.
Repeat 3-5 times.
One set equals all 5 exercises.
If you are a beginner, take a 1-2 minute break in between each set. You should see results quite quickly if exercise is done in conjunction with a balanced diet. If you are more advanced, take a 30sec break between sets and use the circuit as part of your cardiovascular workout adjacent to a prescribed weights routine.
What I love about exercise is that not only is it a great way to get that gorgeously sculpted body, but it’s also a fantastic way of reducing stress. And who isn’t somewhat stressed in life with rent, work, uni and bills?