Pegah Olfat is a NASM CPT and Women’s Fitness Specialist, focusing on pre- and post-natal fitness. She is also a lead Indoor Cycling Instructor for a boutique cycling studio named Cyclebar. After working as an account executive for five years, she decided to take a step away, starting her business PEGACTIVE: FITNESS + FAITH. She is extremely passionate about nutrition. Having struggled with orthorexia for six years, she has a heart for women of all ages who have or has had an eating disorder. In 2015, she made peace with her body and decided it was time to make a change. Thanks to her faith and support of her loved ones, she overcame orthorexia, discovered self-love, body positivity, and balance. It is now her goal to help women throughout their specific health and wellness journeys.
Many people wait until the new year to make fitness goals, but why wait until 2018 when you can start a new circuit training fitness regimen now? Whether you perform your exercises at a home, outside, or in a gym, circuit training will provide numerous health benefits. Also, remember that everyone was a beginner at some point.
My top three reasons to start circuit training:
You are moving. You are getting your heart rate up and strengthening your muscles at the same time.
It is cost-efficient. It can even be free if you use exercises that use your own body weight (think push-ups, planks, and lunges).
You will have fun. If you get bored on the treadmill or elliptical, incorporating circuit training can keep things exciting. The exercise options are endless.
Common things to avoid:
Using too much weight. I always recommend starting lower than your expected ability and working up from there. If your form is suffering (like if you find yourself swinging the weight or using momentum instead of strength), you are likely using too much weight. In addition to poor form, too much weight can cause injury.
Not using enough weight. I always recommend playing it safe (especially as a newbie) but if you can perform 25 reps with a certain weight, it’s likely time to increase it a bit. I always suggest that my clients increase the weight no more than ~5% at a time.
Moving through repetitions too quickly. It is important to complete your circuit training workouts efficiently, but if you are just speeding through them, are you actually taking the time to target your muscles?
Lack of balance. I always recommend following the noted rest periods during a workout. Both resting too long and not enough can negatively impact your workout. Overall, I suggest 30-90 second breaks within a workout.
Supplies you will need:
15-20 inch step
Dumbbells (of your desired weight)
I always encourage my clients to warm-up with light cardio for 5-10 minutes prior to beginning their circuit training workout. My favorites include: jogging, biking or using the step machine at the gym.
3 SETS OF EACH
STEP-UPS: 15 steps each leg (DUMBBELLS OPTIONAL)
PUSH-UPS: 20 reps. (REGULAR or MODIFIED)
WALKING FORWARD LUNGES: 15 reps each leg, alternating (DUMBBELLS OPTIONAL)
Rest 60 seconds
3 SETS OF EACH
AIR SQUATS: 25 reps (DUMBBELLS OPTIONAL)
TRICEP DIPS: 20 reps
DONKEY KICKS: 24 reps
Rest 60 seconds
WALL SIT: 45-60 seconds (DUMBBELLS OPTIONAL)
PLANK: 30-60 seconds
RUSSIAN TWIST: 12 reps each side (DUMBBELLS OPTIONAL)
The amount of fitness and exercise information out there can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, I am here to tell you that it does not need to be complicated. Change does not come easily, but with hard work and determination, you CAN get there.