No, it's not electricity but circuit training, which will whip you into shape and leave you energized! Circuit training is a tough fat-blasting workout that gets your heart pumping and your body sweating. Circuit routines are usually eight to 10 exercises for each part of the body done in rapid succession. Each exercise is done for a specific number of repetitions followed by a brief rest period before starting the next exercise. Your rest for only 30 seconds to one minute after a set of one type of exercise. A typical circuit routine will include three to four exercises for the upper body, core, lower body and a whole body aerobic circuit. If you are a beginner or out of shape, see your doctor before you try the high intensity of a circuit workout.
Choose four upper-body exercises that you know how to do properly. If you are working out at a gym, then you will have a lot of options. Bodyweight exercises are great options if you are working out at home without equipment. After you warm-up with some light exercise, such as jogging in place or jumping rope, get on the floor and give me 20! Push-ups are a powerful upper-body exercise that works your arms, chest and upper back. If you can't do 20 push-ups, don't worry. Do eight repetitions of each exercise. Your core also gets a good workout. As soon as you finish the push-ups, give your triceps, biceps and shoulders an intense workout with triceps dips followed by dumbbell curls. If you don't have dumbbells, a 2-quart juice or milk bottle filled with water will work.
By now you are probably heaving for breath and sweating, but you aren't done yet! You don't want to forget your hips, thighs and butt! Start out with some powerful squats to get your butt and thighs in shape. If you're tired at this point, do wall squats. Lean against the wall with your back and lower your body to the squat position. Push your body back up the wall. As soon as you finish four to six repetitions of the squat, rest for one minute and get on the floor for some leg kickbacks. When on your hands and knees, kick one leg back and extend it straight out. Bring your knee back to the floor and repeat with the other leg. Finish your lower body circuit with some lunges.
Time to work those abs! Thank goodness you get to sit on the floor for a few of these exercises. The abdominal crunch works your abs and lower back to help you build a sexy, toned stomach. Stay on the floor and rest for a minute and then do some ab sit-backs. Sit with your legs stretched out in front of your body and stretch your arms out from your shoulders. Slowly recline until your upper body is at a 4-degree angle to the floor. Slowly return to an upright position. Now that your abs are burning, stretch out into the plank position.
If you have any energy left, it's time for some cardio. Cardio, or aerobic exercise, is the best way to blast fat from your whole body. Stand up and do some jumping jacks for 1 to 3 minutes. Rest for 1 minute then jump rope for another 1 to 3 minutes. If you are in a gym or have a home treadmill, run as fast as you can for the remaining 1 to 3 minutes on a treadmill or go all out on a stationary bike. Remember to cool down with some light exercise, such as a brisk walk, until your heart rate slows down.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.