Beginner’s Total Circuit – Review

There are some fantastic home workouts that have been developed and offered on the BodyFit site and app. If you are looking for beginner’s workouts that you can do at home or the gym, look no further.

You can read my review here: BodyFit App Review.

There is a FREE TRIAL period for the app. If you decide to sign on you can do so for as little as $2.99 per month.

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I just completed “The Beginner’s Total Circuit“. I’m not a “Beginner” but I still got a great workout from this plan! Check it out!

The Beginner’s Total Circuit

Although the name for In Home Workout #1 is named for “Beginners” it can serve Intermediate or Advanced Fitness enthusiasts. I will be explaining that as the article proceeds.

This workout will help you build muscle and strength, improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn fat. You will need a set of dumbbells. For men, the weight you’ll need will probably be anywhere from 10 to 25 pound dumbbells. If you are more advanced in your conditioning, just use heavier ones.

You can read my review of POWERBLOCK Adjustable Dumbbells by CLICKING HERE

This circuit workout will challenge and strengthen all your muscle groups.

It makes it so easy and fun to use the BodyFit app to track each exercise.

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The Exercises

Walking Lunge

1 set, 20 reps (alternating, 10 reps per side, rest 15-30 sec.)

Because you’re working your quadriceps, the largest muscles in your body, this exercise will challenge you more cardiovascularly. If doing this is easy for you, carry some dumbbells. That will increase the resistance helping you grow muscle and burn fat.

You might be finding already, that resting 30 seconds is not enough. It’s good to push yourself but use moderation. The importance is consistency. If you need to wait longer, do. I recommend you time your rests so you can

Push-up

1 set, 10 reps (rest 15-30 sec.)

Keep you body as parallel to the floor as possible. If doing 10 push-ups is easy for you, slow down. Use a slow 3-count on the down

Older man doing push ups
YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

motion and on the up motion. Hold position at the top and at the bottom for a 1-count.

Doing this will increase the “time under tension” for your muscles, especially chest, shoulders and triceps. Increasing time under tension with no rest significantly contributes to muscle growth.

Ab Bicycle

1 set, 20 reps (alternating, 10 reps per side, rest 15-30 sec.)

To perform this, lay on your back with hands locked behind your head. Bend and straighten alternating legs as if you were riding a bicycle. If you can’t do all 20 reps, rest then do some more until you get 20.

If this exercise is easy for you, slow down each movement to a slow 3-count. Hold at top and bottom for a 1-count.

Jumping Jack

1 set, 1 min (rest 15-30 sec.)

I’m sure you remember doing these in grade school or high school gym class.

Bodyweight Squat

1 set, 20 reps (rest 15-30 sec.)

Spread your legs a little more than shoulder width. Clasp your hands in front of your chest, almost chin-high. Keep your back flat. As you go down, push your butt out, maintaining the flatness of your back. Go down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold for a one count, then return to the original position.

If these are too easy for you hold a dumbbell in front of your chest, just below your chin.

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

1 set, 10 reps (rest 15-30 sec.)

  • With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing your torso), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist; as you bend make sure to keep your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor.: Make sure that you keep the head up. The weights should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.

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  • While keeping the torso stationary, lift the dumbbells to your side (as you breathe out), keeping the elbows close to the body (do not exert any force with the forearm other than holding the weights). On the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second.
  • Slowly lower the weight again to the starting position as you inhale

Plank

1 set, 1 min (rest 15-30 sec.)

Doing a plank with arms outstretched and hands on the floor is easier for beginners than a forearm plank.

Get into straight arm plank position. Hands should be on the ground directly underneath your shoulders with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure your back is flat and your head and neck are in a neutral position. Squeeze your quads, glutes, and core. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth—don’t hold your breath.

For the elbow plank: Get into forearm plank position. Ensure your elbows on the ground directly underneath your shoulders with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure your back is flat and your head and neck are in a neutral position. Drive your elbows into the floor, and squeeze your quads, glutes, and core. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth—don’t hold your breath.

Dumbbell Step-up

1 set, 20 reps (alternating, 10 reps per side, rest 15-30 sec.)

In addition to dumbbells, you’ll need a bench, box or chair for this exercise.

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and place one foot on a bench or box, your knee bent to 90°. Keeping the other leg straight and firmly planted on the ground, push your shoulders back and chest out.
  • Push through your top foot to raise your body over the platform, your back leg suspended in the air. Push your hip back to lower your support leg back to the floor.

This exercise works me pretty hard. It may for you too. If you need to pause to catch your breath, do so.

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

1 set, 10 reps (rest 15-30 sec.)

While in standing position with feet a little wider than shoulder width hold a dumbbell in each hand. The starting point for the dumbbells should be just above the shoulders.  (You may find the exercise places less stress on your lower back if you perform it while sitting on a bench.  If you can lean back against support, you’ll find much less stress on your lower back.

If you experience any shoulder pain, try making the starting point of dumbbells a little higher, above the shoulders and reduce the weight.

Press both dumbbells up simultaneously until arms are fully extended. Then lower them back to the starting position. That accounts for 1 repetition.

Lying Leg Raise

1 set, 10 reps (rest 15-30 sec.)

Lay flat on your back with arms at your sides and palms facing down. With your knees slightly bent, slowly raise your legs until they are perpendicular with the floor. Hold for a one-count. Then, slowly lower you legs until just before your feet touch the floor. Hold for a one-count and repeat.

 

If you find this is too difficult, bend your knees more until you are able to perform the movement. You can also quicken the pace and NOT hold for a one-count at top and bottom. Another thing that can make it easier is to rest your feet on the floor for a one-count at the bottom of the movement.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

1 set, 10 reps (rest 15-30 sec.)

Begin standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, at your sides. The dumbbells should be parallel to each other. Slowly raise the dumbbells away from your sides to just higher thn shoulder height. Have your elbows slightly bent.

Hold the dumbbells for a one-count at the top of the movement. Then lower slowly back to the start position. Do not rest the dumbbells against your legs.

The bottom of the movement should be a few inches away from the leg so you can maintain the total time-under-tension. Hold position for a one-count at the bottom.

If the exercise is too difficult to perform for 10 repetitions, you can make it more achievable by either reducing the weight of the dumbbells, quicken the movement up and down, and eliminate holding the one-count at the top and bottom. of the movement.

Dumbbell Bicep Curl

1 set, 10 reps (rest 15-30 sec.)

Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms hanging by your sides. Ensure your elbows are close to your torso and your palms facing forward. Keeping your upper arms stationary, exhale as you curl the weights up to shoulder level while contracting your biceps.

Use a thumb-less grip. Place your thumb on the same side of the bar as your fingers increases peak contraction in the biceps at the top point of the movement. Hold the weight at shoulder height for a brief one-count, then inhale as you slowly lower back to the start position.

Side-to-side Box Skip

1 set, 20 reps (alternating, 10 reps per side, rest 15-30 sec.)

The side-to-side box skip is mainly a lower body exercise. It involves jumping side-to-side over a box or bench. Start with one foot on top of the box and one on the floor.

Jump laterally over the bench placing your foot that started on the floor to the top of the bench. At the same time you are moving your foot that was on top of the bench to the floor.

Keep your knees flexing, continuing the side-by-side movements until you’ve achieved 10 reps per side. This is primarily a lower body exercise but is also a good cardiovascular workout.

Single-arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension

1 set, 10 reps (left side, rest 15-30 sec.)

I recommend you perform this exercise in a sitting position on a bench you can lean slightly back on.  Bring the dumbbell to shoulder height and then extend the arm over your head so that the whole arm is perpendicular to the floor and next to your head.

The dumbbell should be on top of you. The other hand can be kept fully extended to the side, by the waist. Rotate your wrist so that the palm of your hand is facing forward and the pinkie is facing the ceiling. This will be your starting position.

Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head as you hold the upper arm stationary. Inhale as you perform this movement and pause when your triceps are fully stretched.

Come back to the starting position by flexing your triceps. It is very important that only the forearm moves. The upper arm should remain stationary, next to your head.

Do 10 reps then change arms.

Maximizing Your Gains With This Routine

I recommend you do the above routine 3 times per week for 4 to 6 weeks. Be sure to make a change to another workout after 4-weeks unless you feel you are still making significant progress. If you think your progress is slowing or you are beginning to plateau, it’s time for new exercises and a different workout plan. I will address that in my next blog.

It’s MUCH better to use lower weights and better form than to be concerned with maximizing the weight you use. If you feel you could be using more weight than the dumbbells you have, slow down your reps to a slow 3, or 4-count. Pause at the top and bottom of each movement and concentrate on the “mind-muscle connection” to get the most from every rep.

If you are more intermediate to advanced in weight training, you can:

  • Increase the weight
  • Slow the motions to a HIIT rate, (slow 4-count)
  • Pause at the top and bottom of each movement
  • Maintain 100% time-under-tension
  • Perform the entire circuit more than once.

 

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Time-Under-Tension Explained

 

 

 

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If you are someone who wants to improve your fitness, health and overall quality of life, there are many benefits available at BodyFit.  If you wish to learn more, you can read my review at:

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Conclusion

I have been training with weights for years. I’m well beyond “beginner” level. Having now performed this “Beginner’s Total Circuit“, I was challenged and got a great workout for muscle growth, strength development and cardiovascular fitness.

Whether you are looking for beginner’s workouts, intermediate or advanced, check out the FREE TRIAL for the BodyFit App.  Just click on the picture below.

I welcome your comments and questions below.

Wishing you all the best until my next article!

Glenn-at-the-gym
Glenn at the gym

What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

Measuring your body fat content is recommended as one of the most important indicators of health and fitness. You can learn many things about your fitness and changes in your fitness if you measure and monitor your body fat and weight on a regular basis. It’s easy to do.

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There is a truism: “Winners Keep Score”. If you want to “win” at managing your body fat % you will need to “keep score” by measuring it regularly.

The chart below will help answer the question, What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage? After that I’ll explain what to do with that knowledge to help improve you health and fitness AND how to easily measure your body fat.

Measuring Bodyfat

Body Fat Percentages for Men

Ranges and Rating

Rating                                                     20 – 39 yrs                                                        40 – 59 yrs                                               60 – 79 yrs

LOW                                                            <8%                                                                       <11%                                                         <13%

HEALTHY                                               8 – 20%                                                                 11 – 22%                                                  13 – 25%

OVERWEIGHT                                  20 – 25%                                                                22 – 28%                                                  25 – 30%

OBESE                                                       >25%.                                                                      >28%                                                        >30%

You can’t tell by weighing yourself and comparing that to a height-weight chart, to know what your % of body fat is. And so, you can’t tell if you have too much or too little fat, or, just right. The charts don’t consider muscle development. The only way to know the amount of fat you have is to measure it

Before-and-After-Fat-Loss
Look Better, Feel Better, Be Better

In addition to knowing the amount of body fat you have, there are other significant benefits to measuring % of body fat and weight.

Probably the most important knowledge you get from monitoring % body fat is knowing the changes in your muscle tissue over time.

Once you know % of body fat you will also be able to determine the % of muscle, bone and organs.

For example: If you weigh 200 pounds and are 25% body fat, then 50 pounds of you are fat. Everything else is referred to as “lean mass”, which comprises 80% of your weight, or, 150 pounds.

Of the lean mass, the component that can change the most is muscle. So, if you monitor changes in your weight and % of body fat they can also determine their changes in muscle tissue.

Muscle tissue can increase or decrease depending on your diet, activities, exercise and lifestyle.

Sadly, most Americans don’t get enough exercise coupled with a healthy diet. What happens for most men over 60 is they gradually lose muscle tissue as the get older.

You can actually weigh the same at 60 as you did at 20 but have more fat and less muscle.

Farmers, tradesmen and laborers who get a lot of exercise in their work may not gain as much fat or loser as much muscle. This is especially true if they eat a healthy diet.

The rate of change can be modified with changes in lifestyle. Those who exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet can maintain, and, even gain muscle and lose fat.

Changes in body composition happens for most, starting at age 20. By age 25, if someone does not have a lifestyle that includes exercise and a healthy diet, they will have more fat and less muscle than they did at age 20. They might weigh the same when they step on the scale.

If you monitor your % of body fat regularly you will be able to detect small changes and take corrective measures while they are slight and easy to correct.

 

Body Fat % and Body Composition

A beneficial use for % body fat measurements is important for many aging adults. The person who has the correct weight according to a height-weight chart or even underweight according to the charts. They may look fairly fit and may think they are quite healthy. And yet, they may have too much fat. Their underdeveloped muscles are why their weight aligns with the charts.

Another situation is with a strong, muscular person. Their weight may be well above what a height-weight chart would say they should be at. This person may think they need to go on a calorie-restrictive diet to lose weight to conform with the charts. If they did this, they would be losing muscle mass.

Measuring body fat % would reveal the truth, that that person does NOT need to lose weight. Neither a chart nor a scale will reveal this. Only body fat measurements will show it.

Another common situation is when someone starts a resistance training program. When they step on the scale, their weight may not be going down. This can happen even after months. Without knowing what body fat PERCENTAGE and muscle tissue PERCENTAGE they won’t know if the reality is they are losing fat and gaining muscle.

over-60-weight-training
You can gain muscle and lose fat in your 60’s and beyond

 

If someone becomes discouraged after a few months of working out because they haven’t lost weight, they could quit without knowing they have been gaining muscle and losing fat. Measuring body fat % reveals the truth about the gains from the workout regimen.

Almost everyone can benefit by measuring and monitoring their body fat %.

How to Measure Body Fat

There are several tools designed for measuring body fat. I’ll review them so you can make your own decision. I’ll also make a recommendation and tell you why.

Bod Pod

The Bod Pod is something you stand in for a few minutes. It measures your body fat by air displacement plethysmography (ADP). It is very accurate. There are some doctors, physical therapists and health clubs that have these. You can find one near you by just doing an online search. The machines cost around $50,000. To go for a testing will cost you between $100 and $200 per visit.

Bod-Pod
Bod Pod

Underwater weight (hydrodensitometry) test

The underwater weight test is considered as accurate as the Bod Pod. Again, you can do an online search to find a doctor or facility that has the equipment. Prices vary so you may wish to call more than one.

Handheld devices

These are devices you hold in front of you. They are inexpensive and easy to use but not considered nearly as accurate.

Skinfold Calipers

These are devices that are inexpensive and easy to use. They are not as accurate as Bod Pods or underwater weight tests, but they are not far off. If you are some type of fitness professional, it may be worth it to get your body fat measured regularly via Bod Pod or underwater test. Having said that, there are many fitness professionals that use calipers.

If you’re like me and want to measure body fat as one of several ways to monitor my fitness trends, and you want to keep costs low, skinfold calipers are for you.

To use them, you pinch the fat on certain parts of your body and use the device to measure the fat as you pinch it. It’s quite simple. If you purchase one, detailed instructions will be included.

Skin-Fold-Caliper-Body-Fat-Percentage-Testing
                                                                                                                            Using Skin Fold Calipers

How to Know if You are Gaining Muscle and Losing Fat

It is quite simple to tell if you are gaining, losing or remaining the same with both muscle and with fat. If you are doing some type of resistance training designed to gain strength and burn calories, armed with your skin calipers and a scale, regularly measure your weight and your % of body fat.

You are gaining muscle and losing fat if:

  • Your weight remains the same but your body % is decreasing
  • Your weight is increasing but your body fat % is decreasing
  • Your body fat % is decreasing at a greater rate than your weight is decreasing.
    • For example: Your starting weight is 200 pounds and body fat is 25%. If you lose 10 pounds of weight, you’ve lost 5%. If your body fat % measures at 18%, you’ve lost 7% of body fat. You will have gained close to 2 % of muscle.
    • Another way you can tell if you are losing fat and gaining muscle is:
      • You lose weight, but you are able to train with more weight in your exercises. For example: if you lose ten pounds of body weight and you increase your bench press, squat and dead lift exercises by 10 pounds each, you know you’ve gained muscle.

Conclusion

I hope that now you are confident in answering the question for yourself, “What is healthy body fat percentage?”.

It is easy and inexpensive to measure your body fat % using skinfold calipers. If you do, you will be better equipped to monitor your progress in achieving your fitness goals. And, one terrific goal to have is to aim for “Healthy” body fat % for your age as listed in the chart above.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions in the comment section below.

Wishing you great fitness and health!

Glenn-at-the-gym
 Glenn at the gym