Make your workouts more intense by adding circuits. I like to tack them onto the end of my free-weight workouts.
A few simple movements done at a quicker pace will supplement the day's training. On cardio days I'll make my circuit longer or do two of them.
My clients also see good results from circuits. Pants fit better, legs get leaner and arms look more defined. The results also show up in a person's endurance. The body loves to adapt and it does so quickly. If you need the extra "oomph" to finish the last round on your circuit, the body will make sure you have it after a few weeks of practice.
Keeping the body guessing is one of the keys to circuits. Doing the same circuit day in and day out can lead to overuse injuries. Using a variety of movements will make you a well-rounded athlete.
When you attempt a circuit, I would wait at least a week before repeating it. In the meantime, do a different circuit or continue with your weight or aerobic training.
Circuits are even a good way to see if you're eating the right things. Most people won't eat a grease-burger with curly fries and a large soda before trying a circuit workout. The body will teach you that it prefers healthful foods with a violent gastrointestinal lesson - often in the middle of your workout.
My rules for circuits are to scale them to your abilities, rest as needed, and finish. Scaling a circuit will make sure you can complete it. For example, today's circuit calls for a quarter-mile elliptical sprint. This exercise can be easily scaled to fit you. If moving fast is something your body is not ready for, then take it slow. If a quarter-mile is too long of a distance, then go only 2 minutes.
Resting is crucial. Take rest when you need it. During rest, let your heart rate recover. Your rest length may be a few minutes long in the beginning. With time, the length of your rest periods will decrease. That means that your body is reaching new levels of conditioning.
Finish your circuit. Don't give up. Make it to the end. Some people like to time their efforts and others just prefer to complete the task. My guideline is, when you finish your circuit, then time how long it takes you to complete the next one.
Today's circuit is 10 dumbbell shoulder presses, quarter-mile elliptical sprints and 20 stability ball crunches, completed four times. Remember the rules; scale, rest and finish. Good luck.
Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.