Is Another Circuit Class Really What You Need?

‘Beasting’ oneself in every high intensity circuit class or bootcamp you can find is a popular method these days and not forgetting the ever present social media post following the session when crawling out of the gym dripping with sweat… what a feeling! I get it, honestly I do, its a pretty cool feeling knowing you’ve given your all!

I take my hat off to people for getting off their arse a doing something about their health and fitness goals… its awesome!

BUT… is it really what you NEED?

After a few months of this ask yourself these questions;

How do you feel?

How is your motivation?

The results… How are they coming along?

Final question… can you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life?

I’ll let those sink in for a moment

I’m going to guess the answers (I may be wrong so feel free to ignore me)

At first you felt so good for doing it (although you were nearly sick in your first session) you were excited to get to every session you made some adjustments do your diet too!

Results at first were brilliant, fast too! You lost a lot of weight in the first few weeks / months, the work pants are fitting better and you’re not out of breath putting the bins out any more. All good things!

But what about when its slows down… the weight loss has ground to a halt… you are smaller yes but you aren’t where you want to be… Maybe another bootcamp class your friend goes to is better? and its 50p cheaper!

As the weeks / months go by you begin to feel drained… fatigued… run down, its becoming increasingdifficult to ‘get up for it’. You are now struggling to fake the enthusiasm needed and if that trainer tells you to “keep working” one more time you are gonna lose it!

For some strange reason, you also find yourself a little resentful to those newbies who are starting out, coming in all happy and excited and getting all the attention just because they are progressing…

Remember those diet changes, are you still ‘on the wagon?’ or are you going to start back ‘on it’ again next week…

Lets face it, Its now become something you do to offset the damage from the binge drinking and eating at the weekend… Now you have an unhealthy relationship with training. It has become a punishment, its something you do out of guilt!

You keep telling yourself ‘I just do it for the banter’… its the ‘social side’… your gym buddies are now your drinking partners.

You can keep telling yourself this BULLS@*%T or you can think back to the reason WHY you started in the first place… Results… now you set a goal and you where well on your way but you have to understand that the 12 week challenge you signed up for is just the start!!! So why did you stop moving forward after the 12 weeks?

Ive seen it all to often and I’ll hold my hands up and say I’ve been a part of the problem… but if experience has taught me anything its that great things CAN be achieved in 6 weeks, 8 weeks or 12 weeks but whats more impressive is someone 18 months 2 – 3 years down the line with a body they thought they’d never have and approach to training that enables long term sustainability, flexibility and more important education so they can be in control of their own destiny. 

I like the minimal dose approach, start slow and build sustainable habits! When dealing with a new client at RM we usually suggest 3 hours a week. This beginning should form the foundations for a lifestyle of successful training… crushing someone and breaking them down in the first few weeks is a great way to boost your ego as a trainer getting them to shed pounds really quickly as everyone wants results yesterday, but its not sustainable.

Now… I’m all for a brutal session where you cant walk, your lungs feel like they are full of sawdust and your hearts gonna pop out of your chest… BUT… not every damn day!

Here are 5 tips to keep motivated long term…

1 – Strength is the foundation! For body composition and long term progression strength training should form the bulk of your training… take time to learn how to Squat, Deadlift, Overhead Press etc properly! Then focus on getting strong…

2 – For body composition, favour high intensity interval training over hours of cardio and circuit classes or add finishers onto your strength work 10-15 minutes at…thats all it takes. There’s nothing wrong with cardio and classes just mange the dose and if you are pushed for time choose strength. 

3 – FOOD FOOD FOOD… I cant stress this enough… address your diet and lifestyle choices… if you are really wanting to change then this is where you need to devote a lot of time and effort. Building a good relationship with food is paramount! Don’t aim for perfection but if you want to move forward then around 90% of your diet needs to be good quality real foods made up of animal proteins, good fats and sensible carbohydrate intake that match your needs and lots of nice veggies. The 10% should be the ‘naughty’ foods that will keep you on track long term and help you avoid falling into the yo yo trap… SPEND TIME LEARNING TO COOK, make your food tasty and interesting, maybe invest in a cool recipe book such as ‘The Paleo Primer’ by Matt Whitmore and Keris Marsden at Fitter Food London. Link – )

4 – Listen to your body… If your results grind to a halt think logically… something needs to change. Are you recovering properly? How is your sleep? What are your stress level like? Are you eating enough to support your training? Try making some changes to your lifestyle or nutrition and see what happens… don’t just keep doing the same thing and expect something to change!

5 – Set smart short term goals to create mini victories on the way to your long term goal. Give yourself time to reflect on how far you have come, its nice to give yourself a pat on the back every now and not always being bogged down with how far you have to go. Its a long journey with ups and downs… take time to enjoy the ups! Try not to lose sight of WHY you wanted to make these changes in the first place…

Getting in shape is actually quite SIMPLE… but this doesn’t mean its EASY… yet another circuit class isn’t going to make that much difference and may actually hinder your progress.

Sam (Team RMF)

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