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I do circuit training at least 5 days a week (30 minutes). It is without equipment combining, running, mountain climbing, burpees, jumping jacks, pushups, squats, ab exercises, etc.

I also walk for 45 minutes in the evening. It is fast walk, covering 2km. Typically carrying my 2 year old son. We walk to a park 1km away. He plays for 15 mins. Then we walk back. This I do all weekdays.

Besides that my life is mostly sedentary except for chasing after my son :)

  1. Am I overdoing it on the exercise part? I prefer not to change my walking schedule. Do you think I should cut back on circuit training? What is the optimal number of times I can do circuit training in a week?

  2. Is circuit training without equipment an effective strength training routine?

  3. Last week I couldn't go for the walk and followed only the circuit training routine. I gained back almost a kg.

My aim is to reduce my post-pregnancy weight gain. I have been moderately successful in that I have lost 10 kg. But I still have a long way to go, at least another 10 kg. I mostly eat only healthy food. But there are times when I have extra portions and also once or twice a week, we eat out. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Thank you,

Sharmila

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Hi @Sharmila, I suggest adding what kind of food you eat and your habits (portion size, frequenct, etc.) to your question. That will give people a better of idea of what suggestions they might have for you. –  Matt Chan Jan 3 '12 at 14:46
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Good luck in your weight loss goals. Here are a few thoughts...

  1. Circuit training without weights is an effective way to gain strength.

  2. Weight gain or loss should not be measured day to day but rather week over week. Look for consistent momentum in the desired direction. 1 kg is such a small number that can be attributed to water retention, stool retention, etc. Also, muscle will weigh more than fat so consider body fat percentage as an alternative measure of fitness.

  3. Doing the same thing over and over without changing a stimulus will make the body stale and gains will stop. I suggest making the following changes.

    • Day 1 - 45 min walk, weight training
    • Day 2 - 60 min walk a little slower than normal, no weight training
    • Day 3 - 45 min walk, start slow for 10 minutes and slowly increase your pace; weight training
    • Day 4 - 60 min walk alternating 10 mins easy and 10 mins faster; no weight training
    • Day 5 - 45 min walk, weight training

    Additionally, you can change your weight training by adjusting the number of reps, the number of sets, the amount of rest and/or the intensity. To lose weight, try higher reps and less intensity. Ideally work at 75-85% intensity.

  4. Finally, it is important to continue to eat but also try to eat healthy. The body needs fuel to create muscle and heal. Try to avoid processed food and increase vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats (nuts, avocado, etc).

Best of luck!

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A quick answer--

  1. The walking isn't too much. Five days a week of half an hour high-intensity circuit training might be too much, but if it's working for you, it's working. If you feel lethargic, aren't sleeping, or see other signs of overtraining, it might be a good idea to see if cutting back helps.
  2. Circuit training is great. It will get you stronger and dramatically increase your work capacity.

    For optimal strength gains, you'd want to add weights or a gymnastics progression so that you're increasing your load over time. Doing more air squats is just not the same as adding weights to your squat.

For situations like yours, I am reminded of the routine in Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution. He recommends a program very similar to yours to start out, but adds dumbbells and pull-ups when you're able. That way you remain challenged with regards to strength development.

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