This time of year is when I usually get back to my fitness routine. Why? You guessed it: young windsurfers are in school on weekdays and adults are back into “workweek mode”, so I can make time for myself during the week. My favorite form of exercise when I want to improve my general stamina and muscle endurance before setting any specific goal is circuit training. Here’s why:
It’s enjoyable. The biggest challenge for me when I return to a regular fitness programme after a long break is maintaining motivation. A circuit training format helps me add variety and design every session with a different goal or a different body part focus. It’s hard to get bored when you can play with your workout!
It helps me see which muscle groups I need to work most on. Windsurfing works the upper body disproportionately more than the lower body, especially in my case which is coaching beginner and intermediate level sailors. I spend most of the summer in non-planing conditions, just standing on my board, in the water, or coaching from the rescue boat. My thighs feel like jelly when I start training. So does my chest and triceps. Putting exercises together back to back helps me pinpoint weak areas that I need to work on!
Combination of strength and cardio. I find that when getting back to fitness after summer I can barely devote 30’ x 3 times a week to it. With a circuit training format I can easily combine both resistance and cardiovascular training in a short amount of time and get a good workout done.
Adaptability. I know that my body and skills plateau if I do the same type or same order of exercises time and time again. I love mixing up exercise selection or the order of the exercises and switch from strength to stamina focused workouts and vice versa.
I can easily monitor my improvement. If I am able to achieve more repetitions, complete the sets in less time or have a lower heart rate at the end of each set, this means I am doing better!
I always start with non-equipment exercises and play with intensity: number of exercises and number of repetitions or set duration. I start with not more than 4-6 exercises doing 8-10 reps or 30’’ for each one with 15’’ in-between exercises. I gradually increase number of exercises in the circuit along with number of reps or set duration and also decrease recovery duration when I want to work on my stamina.