Article by Sai Gopalan
Pumping Up is a column about health, fitness, and how you can maintain it in boozy, greasy Xi’an.
Another month, another edition, another opportunity for you to get your sexy on! That’s right, Sai is bringing sexy back! When the weather turns cold, I receive many questions for alternative exercises you can do in the weight room that will also have a cardiovascular effect. The funny thing is Xi’an summer is just kicking in and I’m receiving the same questions!
Circuit training is one of the best ways to make a resistance and strength training workout that is also challenging for your heart and lungs. This workout is a 20-minute workout that will take you to your maximum physical effort as well as your maximum heart rate. The object of this workout is to not rest in between exercises. You will see that one minute of a particular exercise will burn out the targeted muscle group as well as increase your heart rate to a fat and sugar burning zone. Try the 20-minute workout below; if it’s not challenging enough for you try it again to make it 40 total minutes in the weight room. If it’s too challenging then have little short breaks, just long enough to continue but short enough that you still feel the burn! Remember, you know your body best; do what you are comfortable with.
There are an unlimited number of ways to organize a circuit workout.
The above workout is organized with upper body, lower body and cardiovascular exercises. By simply doing the above upper body and lower body exercises in such a way, you will be able to rest your upper body muscles while you work your lower body muscles, but you will never rest your heart. This is how you make the circuit workout challenging to your cardiovascular system as well as your major muscle groups. Studies have shown that mixing a resistance training regimen with a cardiovascular element will increase your metabolism, therefore burning fat and building muscle. The result is a decrease in body fat percentage.
So, if you are looking to lose inches and body fat, workouts like this coupled with 4–5 smaller meals and 3–4 quarts of water everyday will help you achieve your goal. The best thing about this diet program is that you do not need a single dietary supplement – just good old fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and other lean meats. The key is to burn more calories than you take in and this workout will help you with that. I promise. Again, if it’s too difficult to maintain the full required time, take it easy. Have a rest between exercises and, if you need to stop while doing your reps but your time isn’t up, then take a little breather. If you prefer you can even work with reps rather than time. Instead of performing the exercise for, let’s say a minute, maybe aim for 20 reps instead. You’ll still feel the burn and it will still work. Personally I like to use heavier weights and focus on reps rather than time. It’s up to you. Also, I recommend you do this workout every other day.
Just give this workout a try and I’m certain that you’ll see the results soon.
Saien Gopalan is a South African English teacher currently teaching at EF. He has been living in Xi’an for 2 years and enjoys his off days exploring the Xi’an nightlife and of course, going to the gym.