Not one to say no to anything with “Free” in the title, I foolishly accepted the offer to join a “free after work casual circuit training session” held by a local personal trainer. With it being my first week at the company I was keen to impress and turned up ready to perform.
Having been running now for a good few months I was under the impression I had some reasonable level of fitness. I can run comfortably for 30 minutes, so how hard can it really be? Little did I know what I had actually agreed to. It was soon clear that these misguided preconceptions were far from reality…
The way the session works is that you partner up with someone and once you’ve done the exercise it’s their turn and vice versa until you’ve completed the required number of sets. Easy right? Wrong.
Starting with a brief five minute warmup that involved; running, sidesteps, squat jumps and lunges, I was already out of breath! After a short break for a few stretches, it was time for the first station. Press-ups. Not just any old press-ups though, 10-1 press-ups. Now if, like me, you have no clue what that means, then let me enlighten you. Doing an exercise 10-1 means you start with ten repetitions in the first set, go down to nine in the second set, then eight in the third etc. all the way to the final set of just one, so in total you’re doing 55 repetitions. Oh and you have a time limit of two minutes to complete them all between the pair, which works out at about one press-up every second! I managed about 18 before I collapsed under my own body weight…
The press-ups were followed by a few more weight based stations which left my arms in a wobbly mess and we were only 15 minutes into the session. Not a great start, but next up was cardio. Surely my time to shine? Wrong again.
The cardio started with sprinting around the four corners of half a tennis court and stopping to do star-jumps in each corner. First time round you would do two star-jumps in each corner, then four, then six and finally eight. With the only break being how long it took your partner to go around once you came back, it was truly knackering work.
This was then followed by another sprint station that involved sprinting from the baseline to the net and back in the format 1-5 and 5-1. Similar to before, this means you would increase the number of times you sprinted to the net and back from 1 to 5 and then back down to 1 i.e sets of 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 repetitions for a total of 25. Needless to say I was shattered and on the floor gasping for breath by the end.
After yet more press-ups (this time walking press-ups), it was time for the cool down and stretches, before the session was concluded and I was finally free to hobble back to the car and go home. It was now clear why that of an office of 21, only 4 turned up…
Although incredibly hard work that left me unable to raise my arms above my shoulders for the next three days and walk with a limp, it was also enjoyable. It’s clear to see how unfit I actually am and I’ve now got plans to join a gym and start doing some basic weight training, which will also benefit both my running and cycling.
I’m now three weeks into the job and I’m still attending the “casual circuit training”.