Q: Should I do circuits or just reps at the gym?
A: Thank you for a great question!
In my ‘world’ or the way I train, and train my clients, there is no either/or but both and everything all smooshed into one!
Each mode of training and overload (the paces you put your body through) has its individual benefits, but the true trick to a well balanced, responsive and functional bod, is to spice it up!
The body is very very clever, the minute the stimulus is too ‘regular’ the body adapts and gets comfy! This comfort zone makes for very stubborn adaptations and results! The real clincher is to keep the body guessing. Don’t do the same workouts week in and week out, same day, same workout. Same workout, same week, month after month. Your body will know, and soon so will you when you think you have reached Olympic fitness level only to try something new and be brought down to earth with a thump.
I’ve seen it far too often, people start with sessions and naturally I need to know their fitness level in order to know where to start. So I ask. They are super fit, train 6 days a week. Always in the gym. Until their first session and introduction to what I like to do aka spice it up. Suddenly not so ‘all round’ fit anymore.
To be completely ‘fit’ one must cross train. You need to provide your body with various stimulus often in order for it to adapt functionally to all of them. I can vividly remember hockey season in high school. I walked off that field after the last game of the term, thinking, extreme fitness galore! Swim season here I come! Only to realise two lengths in that I was ‘field’ fit, not water fit. Gasp, splutter!
So this is what I recommend (and do). Split your week up into days, say Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On these days do circuits, but mash them up! If the gym is empty, start your warm up and then do last machine first. Double up on time spent on a machine on some days, run steps twice occasionally. If the gym is full and the circuit is like peak hour gridlock then do the circuit as planned but increase the weight or move faster on the steps etc. If you attend a circuit class, change instructors. We all have our own unique style of teaching, so changing instructors will mean new stimulus and some new ideas!
On the in between days, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday you add full body workouts with reps. I try not to divide my week into body parts (that sounds creepy, but you understand). I do full body workouts everyday but in different ways. This way even though you are training your entire body daily, it never knows what is coming so it can’t prepare and adapt. Sneaky assault.
One day use medicine balls, then kettle bells, then stability balls, boxing, yoga, pilates and so on! You can even alternate days, circuit/reps/circuit/reps. You get the idea, i’m sure.
Never get stuck in a rut. You will experience boredom, which leads to lack of enthusiasm and under performance as well as lack of results due to adaptation and comfort. A vicious cycle, so keep it SPICY!
If you need a hand with some ideas, stalk a trainer at your local gym (kidding! hehe or am I), trawl pinterest for some fun home workout ideas or for something more personalised get some help for an individualized program. Make sure the trainer understands and supports the NO BOREDOM policy.
HAve fun! Spiiiiiicy!