I always try to get a couple of solid workouts in on the weekend and save my rest day for the week in case I’m busy with school and can’t make it to the gym. This morning I had a later start than usual because I decided to sleep in. When I woke up, I made a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, dried cranberries, shredded coconut, and a frozen banana (I forgot to snap a pic though – so the image below is some oatmeal inspiration from the internet), and planned out a full body circuit workout .
Before today, it had been a couple days since my last trip to the gym; since we’ve been having slightly warmer weather, I decided to go running outside this past week, instead of walking to campus for an indoor workout. Since I wanted to jump right back in and get my whole body moving, I put together a full-body workout, with a focus on combining strength moves with cardio intervals.
What You’ll Need
For this workout you will need a medicine ball (I used 15lbs), two small dumbbells (I used 7.5lbs), a larger dumbbell (eg. 15 lbs), and a skipping rope. Alternatively, you can just use the larger dumbbell in place of the medicine ball for the move that uses the medicine ball.
How it Works
The workout is made up of three circuits – one targeting lower body, one that focuses on upper body, and one that emphasizes the abs. Each circuit has 5 exercises, with the number of reps indicated in brackets beside the exercise. Set a timer for 5 minutes and begin with Circuit 1, moving through the exercises as many times as you can within that 5 minute period (you’ll likely be able to get through each exercise once, and the first 2 or 3 exercises a second time). The reason I often set up my workouts like this is that I get bored easily when I have to repeat exercises too many times. Once the 5 minutes are up, set a timer for 2 minutes and skip until the time is up. Next, move on to Circuit 2, again, performing that circuit for 5 minutes, followed by 2 minutes of skipping. Do the same thing for Circuit 3, ending with a final 2 minutes of skipping. In between each circuit try to rest for just long enough to catch your breath.
Beside each exercise I’ve included a brief description of how to perform the exercise, or a link to a page that demonstrates the exercise. If there is any exercise you’re confused about, it’s fairly easy to do a quick YouTube search and see someone doing the exercise.
Circuit 1 – Lower Body
- Medicine Ball Squat and Press (15 reps) – hold medicine ball in front of chest and perform a squat. As you return to a standing position, raise the medicine ball above your head.
- Split Squat Jumps (10 each side – 20 total) – this one is easier just to watch someone perform, so here is a video showing this move.
- Glute Bridge w/dumbbell (20 reps) – lie on back with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Hold your larger sized dumbbell across your hips. To perform the move, raise your hips as high as you can and squeeze your glutes at the top, before lowering to the ground again.
- Jumping Squats (15 reps) – perform a squat, but as you stand up from your squat jump in the air. Land softly, sinking down into your next squat.
- Fire hydrants (15 each side) – Here’s another that is easiest to watch – link. Do not alternate between legs – perform 15 on one side, and then move on to the other side.
Circuit 2 – Upper Body
- Walk out push-ups (10 reps) – from a standing position, reach down to touch the ground, and walk your hands out until you are in a push-up position. Do a push-up, and then walk back to the position you started in.
- Burpees (12 reps) – I think most people know how to do these ones…they’re a killer. If not, just do a quick Google search. There are a few variations, but I do mine without a pushup.
- Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension (15 reps) – see this webpage for a demonstration of how to do this exercise. Perform this exercise using your larger dumbbell.
- Commandos (10 each side – 20 total) – this video shows how to perform this move.
- Bent-over Dumbbell Row (15 reps) – check out this page for pictures of how this exercise is performed. Use your two lighter dumbbells for this move.
Circuit 3 – Abs
- Spidermans (15 each side – 30 total) – start in a high plank. Bring your right knee up towards your right elbow, then, return leg to plank position. Next, bring your left leg toward your left elbow; return to plank. Continue to alternate.
- Plank Jacks (20 reps) – in a high plank, jump legs out to both sides, then jump them back into the centre (a jumping jack movement with the legs).
- Jack Knives (12 reps) – lie on your back with your arms extended above your head and your legs extended out straight. Raise your legs off the floor and simultaneously raise your arms, reaching your hands towards your feet. Here’s a video that demonstrates this move: link.
- Mountain climbers (20 each side – 40 total) – this one is fairly common, but in case you haven’t heard of it before, here’s a video.
- Bicycle crunches (20 each side – 40 total) – this is another exercise that’s fairly well known. Here’s a video.
When I got home from the gym, I made this delicious mixture:
It looks a little random, but the combination of flavours is amazing. I started off by boiling some broccoli and sweet potato. Then, in a frying pan I heated some coconut oil and cooked a clove of garlic and a quarter of an onion. To that I added some cabbage and kale mixture, plus the sweet potato and broccoli I had previously boiled. I stir-fried that for a few minutes, adding a little pepper and garlic salt. Then I put the mixture onto a plate and topped it with with two poached eggs, some goat cheese, a few dried cranberries, and some cilantro. I also had an apple on the side.
Then for dinner, I brought this bowl with me to work:
Included: poached chicken breast, cabbage and kale mix, spiralized zucchini with tomato sauce, the rest of the sweet potato I boiled earlier in the day, and some tahini for extra healthy fats. Another strange mixture (I realize the tahini looks a bit odd) – but it was good! Random bowls of nutritious foods are one of my go-to meals, especially when I’m taking food on-the-go.
Now that I’m home from work I’m headed off to bed so I can have an early start and get some school work done tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
In case you want to pin my workout for later:
Note: This workout is quite challenging and might not be suitable for everyone. If you have any health concerns, make sure to talk to your doctor before starting High Intensity Interval Training.