The 30-minute circuit workout; perfect for anyone/everyone


Last updated 9/27/2007 at Noon

All exercise is beneficial – when it’s done in a safe environment, and performed correctly. If you wake up each day and move, just move, you’ll be ahead of the game. Whether you workout at home, in a gym, at a park, at your office, or at the beach, proper exercise done consistently will help you function, feel, and look better as a human being – always.

If you’re like a majority of Americans though, and you wake up already conceiving reasons (excuses) not to move – not to exercise on a given day, it’s probably wise to get enrolled in Medicaid ASAP, because you’ll be needing those federal dollars to support the caregivers who will be tying your shoes, preparing your meals, and wiping your chin for you once you are unable to do so on your own.

I’m often asked if the in-vogue “express workout” gyms such as Curves, Cuts, Slender Lady, Club Paradise Express, and others hold any value in achieving one’s fitness goals. The basic concept of these efficiency gyms is that a person get in, get out, and get on with their busy lives. By proving a structured format where a series of cardio vascular/cardio respiratory exercises are intermingled with a series of resistance (strength training) movements, a rigorous and beneficial workout can be had in 30-40 minuets. Relative to a person’s goals, my answer to this question is usually this:

”Circuit training gyms such as these are as effective in attaining your goals, as you are willing to push yourself hard during the workout, and do so consistently from week to week and month to month.”

It’s that simple. Like business, like relationships, like academia, and like faith, you get out of it, results which are proportionate to the efforts you contribute – no more, no less. In that sense, if every man and woman in this country engaged in a reasonable workout in one of these gyms, with reasonable intensity, and with weekly consistency, we would be the most fit nation of Earth. We are not the most fit nation on earth though, because a majority of us do not exercise regularly enough or rigorously enough to offset our TV watching and our junk-food habits – which are atrocious.

I ask myself often why people don’t exercise more – knowing as we do, the benefits which are aligned with regular exercise; why don’t we all do a little more of it? Especially in this age of the 30-40 minute express workout gyms. These gyms are popping everywhere, and are as common as convenience stores in most communities. The Fallbrook/Bonsall area has at least several such facilities, and they are inexpensive to join. Still, not too many people are willing to give up just 30-40 minutes per day for some rigorous exercise which will improve their lives, their longevity, and their appearance.

Some benefits of regular exercise include:

• Increased bone density

• Decreased blood pressure

• Enhanced flexibility

• More strength

• Greater balance

• Better endurance and stamina

• Heightened resistance to infections, viruses, and injuries

• Lower cholesterol

• A better looking body

• And much more…

Wow, this exercise stuff looks to give back some pretty fruitful dividends for a 30-40 minute investment. Why then, don’t Americans exercise more?

Fear and misinformation mostly. Fear of a pain and agony within the scope of the workout; a by-product of the 1970s bodybuilding renaissance. And the misinformation that exercise need be long in lasting – hours long, in order to be effective. Also a by-product of our meatier-than-necessary fitness ancestors. Neither of these assertions are true. The masses who, once fueled by the “no pain, no gain” mantra, and the two hour workout of the 1970s and 1980s gym bodybuilder, gave up on exercise when it became more chore than benefit – more plowing and planting than reaping and picking.

My belief and experience suggest that exercise only need be challenging and consistent to make a difference – and supported with good eating choices. Practice 30-45 minutes in the gym, 3-4 times per week and that will be enough to make a dent in all of the above. Remember too that there are 168 hours in a week. Should you exercise rigorously for 2-4 of those hours, you will still have over 160 hours to undo all those efforts with poor eating choices. To maximize your efforts in the gym, reasonable eating choices are an absolute requirement.

Relative to one’s goals and time constraints, a lot can be accomplished in one of these express gyms – as it relates to the benefits listed above. But key here is truly understanding an accepting that improved fitness and better health are your goals, not becoming a champion bodybuilder. Accept with pride what you can accomplish from your workouts in these surroundings, and be grateful for the progress you make. Don’t set yourself back by setting unachievable goals. Long not for the unattainable body of a fitness model – most of us never will have that. Rather, strive to look and to live as a model citizen, exercising regularly – for the benefit of your family, your friends, your community, and of course, yourself.


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