Circuit Training at Home

We are always advising our clients about exercising at home between personal training session. Even performing some low intensity body weight exercises in the morning will be enough to jump start the metabolism for the day and allow you to burn more fat. A great way of upping the intensity of these workouts at home and stop them becoming too repetitive is to create your own circuit training routine.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is a form of body conditioning that combines resistance training with high intensity aerobics. It is designed to increase strength, muscle tone, improve muscular and cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. The exercises are performed at a high intensity with very short rest periods between stations. These factors then increase stress on the body, and yield better all round results than just performing exercises in a conventional fashion.

How to build your circuit?

A circuit can have anything from 4 to 12 stations, and can have a variety of different exercises. You choose the exercise based on what your goals are. F
or fat loss and all round toning, circuits made up of full body movements will be best. For those trying to work on specific areas you can build your circuit for just the upper body, legs or core. The best way to build your circuit is to write down the exercises you want to include, and order them in a way that gives each muscle group a rest between stations. So if you are doing squats on one station, it’s best the next station doesn’t directly work the same muscle. Once you have your stations laid out, chose how many times you want to repeat the circuit, then it’s time get started!!!

How to perform your circuit?

Your main consideration is do you want to perform your circuit based on repetitions or time? This means do you want to set a time limit on each station or have a set amount of reps to perform? Personally we would chose to do time. Having a time limit on each station means you will be able to push as hard as you can for every exercise, and not cheat yourself if the reps are set too low. A good starting time would be 30 seconds on each station, this can then be changed as you improve. Start your watch and begin the first station, perform the exercise with good form for the entire 30 seconds. When the time is up, move as quick as you can to the next exercise. Its important to take little to no rest between each station to maintain the intensity. Perform each exercise until you reach the end, then take your rest. Your rest depends on how long the circuit took. A good rule of thumb is about a third of the time it took to do the entire circuit. Once your rest is over repeat the circuit again. You can repeat the circuit anywhere up to 5 times, starting with 3 laps is normally a good starting point.

How to change your circuit over time?

After performing your circuit for a couple of weeks, you will begin to adapt. Its good to make a note of roughly how many reps you perform in the time limt, this will show you how well your progressing. Below is a list of things to change to maintain the intensity of your circuit.

  • Add stations
  • Increase station time
  • Decrease rest time
  • Perform reps quicker (maintaining good form)
  • Add weight to certain exercises
  • Increase the amount of laps
Things to consider
Make sure your perform each station with good safe form, when under a time limit its easy to start cheating, so don’t break into bad habits. Its also important to maintain the intensity, so if you ever feel the circuit is becoming easy, make some changes and keep the body guessing! You don’t have to be limited to the house, you can take your circuit to the gym, the beach or the park. This will help you throw in some new stations, like some hill runs, or jogging on the sand or taking on some stairs. The main thing is to enjoy it and set yourself some goals, this will give you more of a boost to keep going when it gets tough. Below we have provided an example beginners circuit, take a look and give it a go!
30 seconds per station – 1 minute rest – 3 laps
1. Squats
2. Push ups
3. Walking lunges
4. Dips on a chair
5. Burpees with a jump
Try it out and feel free to tinker with it so it suits you! For more exercise ideas check out the rest of our blog or book in for a free Personal training taster session at

Meal planning : A simple guide to success

Planning meals in advance can be tough at times but is a real indicator to success.  Whatever your health and fitness goals are sufficient planning will go a long way to determining how well you do.

Going shopping for food, planning meals and going out to eat should be enjoyable but also in line with your goals.  Use this guide to ensure you stay on track, particularly if trying to boost energy levels or lose weight.

Consider the following at every meal time, especially main meals:

1.       Food choice

This is really where the battle is won and lost.  Ingredients should be as natural as possible coming from vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.

Use lean protein as the main part of any meal.  Avoid fast releasing foods like cereals, breads and processed foods as much as possible, as well as all other high fat and high sugar foods. They cause a massive rise in blood sugar levels, inhibiting weight loss and wrecking energy levels.

2.       Portion size

No matter where you are eating, portion size is absolutely essential.  Even a highly processed meal can be damage limited if you reduce portion size.  Ideally use a small plate or bowl to control portion size.

Along the same lines, eat your food slowly chewing it well and stop eating before you feel full.  This tends to increase energy levels and reduce calories very effectively.

3.       Always include lean proteins

This includes lean meats like chicken and turkey, fish, dairy, nuts, peas and beans.  These foods are lower in fat and higher in protein which ensures a slower release of energy.

4.       Stay keep starters and extras to a minimum

A perfectly balanced meal can be ruined by adding bread from the bread basket, alcohol and dessert.  If you have to, have  something more natural as an extra.

5.       Eating out

Eating out can mean starters, side plates, desserts and alcohol.  Foods are often fried or cooked in creamy sauces or high in fat.  Look out for these and choose wisely.  Lean protein and vegetables is the best way as always and remember to keep portion size right down.

You have to be determined in order to achieve true results.  How you eat has a huge impact on life and means the difference between success and failure!


About us:  We work from BourneFit Personal Training Studio in Bournemouth.  Visit the website for more information and see how we can help you achieve your health and fitness goals.