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High Intensity Circuit Training (Or, How to Turn Tracie into a Cabbage)

I believe I've mentioned that last year, I started a strength training exercise regimen. I bought some resistance bands and hand weights, and I started doing exercises with them every other day. Gradually I also incorporated some core exercises as well. The strength training was very effective, helping me to stay toned, and made a great contribution to my weight loss.

This year, I've noticed that the workouts haven't been quite as effective as they used to be. And frankly, they've been a bit boring for me. I've stuck to the routine, but not with the same results.

I was doing some reading online the other day, and I came upon an article about something called "High Intensity Circuit Training". Also called interval training, it's a series of mostly calisthenic exercises, done in quick succession, in short intense bursts. The idea is that you can get a lot of intense exercise in, in a short amount of time, while getting similar results to longer and slower periods of exercise. Interval training has been around a long time, but is getting more popular.

The article suggested the following series of exercises, done for 30 seconds or so at a time, with breaks in between of 30 seconds or less. You complete the circuit, and then repeat it up to two more times, and it all takes about 7 minutes per circuit.

1. Jumping jacks (Total body)

2. Wall sit (Lower body)

3. Push-up (Upper body)

4. Abdominal crunch (Core)

5. Step-up onto chair (Total body)

6. Squat (Lower body)

7. Triceps dip on chair (Upper body)

8. Plank (Core)

9. High knees/running in place (Total body)

10. Lunge (Lower body)

11. Push-up and rotation (Upper body)

12. Side plank (Core)

So this week, I decided to give it a try.  And let me just say - These exercises are not as easy as you may think.  In fact, they are dang hard. The phrase "KICKED MY TRASH!" comes to mind.  Although I must say that I'm grateful I had gotten in better shape over the last year, or I may not have lived to tell about it.  Forget proper form or technique, forget doing each move for 30 seconds - In most cases, I was only able to make it 20 seconds. After two circuits, I could feel the blood rushing to my head, and my face getting red as a beet.  Picture a red cabbage with brown hair, and that's probably what I looked like.  

But you know what? It did indeed give my routine a boost, and this middle-aged broad a sense of accomplishment, red cabbage or not.  I'm stiff, and I'm sore, but I'm unbowed. And thankfully I have two days to recover until I try it again.


Good job sis! So proud of you and all of your healthy efforts - you insprie me.... :)

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