Lee Bell BSc (Hons), PGCE, MSc, aka The Muscle Mechanic, is a UK based health, fitness and performance writer.
When he is not delivering university lectures on sport science programs, working for global fitness equipment suppliers, delivering master trainer workshops, or sitting on advisory boards – he finds time to write for sites such as this. Thank you Lee.
You can find out more about him and read his articles on his site – http://themusclemechanicuk.com
The anytime circuit is exactly that – it’s an intense but easy to perform workout that can be done literally anywhere. At home, in a park, on the beach.
Do it when you want, where you want.
Who’s this program for?
- If you’ve let life get the best of you over the last few years then this is the sort of workout that’ll fit right in with your lifestyle. Why? Because it’s short, sharp and best of it’s easy to do.
- You’re not a beginner. You probably trained hard once upon a time; but with your busy job, family commitments and a lack of time you’ve let yourself go a bit. It happens so don’t feel guilty about it.
- You might be at a point now where you drive to work, have no option but to grab a quick lunch, work long hours and struggle to find the time to get to a gym.
- You might even have a bit of a fear for the gym and just don’t feel confident enough to train on your own or even with a trainer. And without a training buddy you might feel that training in the gym on your own is a definite no go at the minute.
- You’re stuck and right now you just want a way out – to regain your confidence by achieving a better body.
What’s the solution?
A workout that you can do anywhere is the key for you to upgrade your physique. If you’ve got a short and accessible workout in your back pocket then you’re more likely to follow it right?
And if you throw in the added bonus of a workout you can do in the privacy of your own home then you’re onto a winner.
So what we’ve done is used our experience of training hundreds of people in your position to plan exactly that.
There are no frills, there’s no need for the sort of equipment that’ll set you back the best part of $100 from some seedy infomercial.
And no sessions that’ll swallow up a whole afternoon. You want to get fit in the shortest time possible? You’re in the right place.
Being able to work out in private allows you to build confidence in your own abilities. You’ll feel comfortable more, and because of that you’re not frightened to step it up a gear.
You can have your own music on whilst you workout, your own gear (hell, train in your underwear for us) and you can train both where and when you want.
What do you need
A stopwatch, a piece of paper and a writing implement.
The aim of the program
A lot of this depends on your starting point. We’re presuming that you’re injury free to a degree, but with your lack of activity for the last few years we’re also expecting that you might have a few niggles here and there – a dodgy knee or a tight shoulder for example.
If that’s the case then do what you can. Adapt an exercise or swap it for another if you really have to. The plan is pretty varied so you’ve got some wiggle room if you need it.
What we’re after here is dropping fat. And you’ll do this with a two-pronged attack – building some muscle and multiplying your fat burning component cells called mitochondria.
Why body weight exercises?
In order to drop body fat, increase fitness and build an athletic and toned physique you don’t have to lift really heavy. You don’t even need to hit the gym either. But you do need to work hard.
It’s all about intent. It’s all about attitude. Get a goal in mind and work for it by sticking to a program.
And that’s where this body weight circuit comes in.
Our ‘anytime body weight circuit’ is designed to be a portable workout. With such busy lifestyles we’ve seen a rise in anytime workouts because the fitness industry is finally realizing that not everyone can commit to long, drawn out workouts.
It might be okay as a young personal trainer who spends 8 hours a day in the gym; but not for you.
The benefits of bodyweight training
- Ability to shift from one exercise to the next with limited rest time. This leads to a greater metabolic demand and release of calories for energy
- Endless progressions and alternatives – if you get bored or you don’t like an exercise you can shift things around
- Builds muscle and shreds fat
- You can easily work around injuries
- You can train more frequently and in shorter durations
Is the workout getting easy? Well add more reps, sets or even cut down on rest time.
How long is the program?
We’ve given you 6 weeks on this program as it’s just the right amount of time to make some visible changes to your body.
It’s long enough for you to bump into a friend you’ve not seen since the start of your workouts for them to say “hey, you’re looking good – have you been hitting the gym?”.
Won’t it be easier second time around? Well no – because we’re asking you to complete as many reps as you can within a set time frame so you’re not restricted.
And when you come back to week 1 you’ll be able to see clearly how well you’ve progressed.
We know it’s difficult to find the time to train. That’s why we’re going for 3 sessions per week to begin with.
We’re all for more regular sessions if you can manage it, but it’s important to set realistic goals in the early stages. Eventually though we want 4 maybe even 5 sessions per week once you’ve built some good training habits.
The program is 6 weeks long. This gives your body enough time to lay down new muscle cells and shred fat.
You’ll feel fitter pretty much straight away but trust in the process – it’ll take just that little bit longer than 2-3 weeks to see the fat come off.
Each workout will follow a similar pattern. You’re targeting key areas – arms, abs and legs in each workout. But you’re hitting them with a different exercise each time.
Why? Because we want to chip away at your fat stores, but at the same time we want to build as much muscle as possible. And by incorporating circuits that add muscle endurance you’ll begin to ramp up your metabolism.
Each of the circuits will follow a set sequence – upper body, lower body, core. And you cannot stray from this pattern at all because it’s like this for a reason. If you do you might find that you don’t progress as quickly.
How is this workout different?
Rather than the hundreds of ‘complete x amount of reps’ program, the Anytime Workout asks you to complete as many reps as you can in a set timeframe.
You’ll notice that some of the exercises have a * next to them. These are the ones that you can add some weight to if you want.
So if you’ve got a small dumbbell, kettlebell or a even large tin in the pantry you can incorporate it into your workout.
To be clear though – if it makes it too hard to complete the sessions times and intervals then leave it out until you’re ready.
Each exercise is done for 60 seconds, followed by 60 seconds rest.
You have done a circuit when you have completed every exercise. Record the total number of reps for each round and record your total.
Complete 2-3 circuits for each round.
Weeks 1 and 2
A2. *Air Squat
A3. *Ab curl
B2. High Knee Marching / jog
C2. *Glute Bridges
C3. Mountain Climbers
A2. Air Squat Jumps
A3. *Ab curl reaches
B3. Plank reach / weight slides
C2. *Bulgarian split squat
C3. Spiderman plank crunch
Complete 3 circuits of each round
A2. Rotating squat jumps
A3. Plank balance / glute raise
B2. *Clock Lunges
B3. Reverse ab curls
C2. High step-ups
C3. Spider crawls
Record total number of reps for each round and record your total.
If you want to accelerate the changes to your physique then this plan will get you there in no time. But if you really want to see some progress then you should incorporate other elements too.
Again, it’s important not to set unachievable goals, but with these little lifestyle hacks you’ll take your progress up an easy two or three notches.
In order to burn fat, the most important factor is calories. Forget what you’ve been told about hormone imbalances and the pros and cons of organic foods – It’s as simple as burn more energy in a day than you put in your body and you’ll see the fat melt away.
So by dropping your calories slightly you’ll see some differences much quicker. Just don’t drop them too much as you still need sufficient energy going in your body to fuel your workouts.
You’ll be working out around 3 times per week on this plan – more often if you’re progressing well enough. But that’s not an excuse to drop a nail on other physical activities.
If you get chance to add in walking, swimming, cycling, gardening or even regularly ‘spending time with your partner’ it all adds up to calories burned. So any opportunity you get to burn a bit of extra energy make sure you take it.