Well this week flew by… and since I was away for part of it, I’ve been kinda slacking with studying and gym visits. So I’ve told myself that come Monday it’s time to get out of lazy mode and back into my routine. And my Monday routine always includes a visit to the Hart House Fitness Centre, where I usually do the Hart House Circuit.
If you’ve been to the gym at Hart House, then you might have noticed the big sign hanging on the wall between the two stairwells leading to the track. It outlines the eight different stations and the number of reps to complete for each level. There are signs up at each station around the track as well. Since the day that I discovered that these plaques and tried out the circuit, it’s been my go-to workout. It’s perfect for days when I can’t make a drop-in class and don’t really have a workout plan in mind.
There are lots of things I really, really like about circuit training. First of all, the whole concept of the circuit – doing a bunch of different exercises for short intervals – keeps me from getting bored. It’s a lot more interesting for me than just doing laps or sitting on a bike for a while. The variation is also good because it means that my whole body is getting a workout: a little bit of stair-running here, some push-ups there, sit-ups for the core… all the bases are covered!
The other thing is that circuits are extremely flexible – you don’t have to follow it exactly. If there’s an exercise you want to swap for one you don’t like, or you want to switch up the order, go for it! No one is watching to make sure you followed it perfectly; you can just use it as a guide to build your own personal workout. Like for me, I cut out the chin ups because I simply don’t like those, and I do triceps dips on the wooden block instead of dips on the bar. I’ve sort of made it my own thing based on the kinds of exercises I am comfortable with and like to do.
If you haven’t given the Hart House Circuit a shot, it’s a really great workout to try. You can even pick up a Circuit Training Handbook from the athletics desk near the changerooms, which explains the different stations and alternate exercises for each one. You can also use it to track your progress.
After getting through it several times, you’ll find that you’ll start to remember all of the stations and how many reps to do for each one. This is a bonus – since the circuit doesn’t require any fancy machines, if you know it then you’ll have a workout that you can always fall back on no matter where you are!