Beginner Bodyweight Circuit: Off The Sofa Fitness

Everyone has to start somewhere. Every professional was once an amateur. Every expert once a beginner. Clichés for sure, but that doesn’t make them any less true. I think they’re particularly pertinent when considering exercise. I often hear words like; “I’d love to start running, but I’m rubbish”. The majority of us like to do things we’re good at and find it demotivating if we aren’t perfect first time. When it comes to exercise- leave your ego at the door. It really doesn’t matter what level you perceive yourself to be; expert, beginner or anything inbetween. Work to YOUR ability. Push yourself as hard as YOU can. Achieve results for you. We all start somewhere. This could be your start line…

What you need:

  • A sofa, seat or chair
  • Empty floor space 2mx2m


  • 50x star jumps
  • 40x incline mountain climbers
  • 30x abdominal bikes
  • 20x sit down squats
  • 10x incline knee push ups


Complete the full number of repetitions for each exercise before moving on to the next. Take as much time as you need (but push yourself – it’s supposed to be hard and get you heart racing). Don’t worry about speed. It’s not a race. Don’t cheat yourself by doing incomplete reps. Feel free to increase difficulty of exercises if necessary (for example, if the incline knee push ups are too easy- try doing them off the floor). The minimum rounds to do is 1. There is no maximum (although I would suggest if you need to do more than 5 rounds the exercises are too easy and you should move up to a more difficult circuit).

Have a great workout!

For a more individual workout, tailored to your ability and goals, have you considered personal training? To find out if we have a mobile personal trainer in your area click here.

What’s the best exercise?

I’m often asked the question; what’s the best exercise? Simple question on the surface. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward and actually requires counter questions before it can even be discussed. Questions like;

What do you want to achieve?

How often do you want to train?

Do you have any physical/ mental/ social/ environmental/ financial restrictions?

Do you prefer training alone or with other people?

The list can go on and on…

I’m not going to go through all of these and get bogged down with hypothetical questions or assumptions. For me the answer really comes down to the balance of importance placed on two sides; Efficiency and Enjoyment. The 2 E’s if you will.

  • Efficiency – Can you do activity well, within necessary time scale and without waste to achieve desired results
  • Enjoyment – Do you need to enjoy exercising to do it

In my humble opinion, the importance of either is based upon the individual. Obviously, the ideal scenario would be an activity that gets the best results in the fastest time that is also extremely enjoyable. I would suggest that if an individual has already found that scenario they wouldn’t feel the need to ask for my help. For the majority of my clients, and people in general, I think the opposite is usually more prevalent – not getting results with exercise and not enjoying what they’re doing.

There does, of course, sit a middle ground here whereby you do an activity because you love it and the results are either not important or just a nice bonus. Or alternatively, you do something because you know if works, even though you hate it (a larger portion of my personal training clients if they were being honest).

Essentially, I believe it comes down to what is more important to you, or at least trying to find the right balance.

Let’s look at a few popular exercise activity examples and the estimated hourly calorie burn rate:

  • Jogging – 654 (10 minute mile pace)
  • Walking – 198
  • Circuit training – 756
  • Zumba – 546
  • Cycling – 612 (average speed of 13 miles per hour)
  • Housework – 246
  • Golf – 324
  • Swimming – 288 (front crawl 20 yards per minute) 522 (front crawl 45 yards per minute)

*Hourly estimates based on values calculated for calories burnt per minute for a 150 pound (68kg) person

As you can see, the most efficient calorie burning activity for an hour of exercise is likely to be circuit training. Great for me – I love circuit training. Not so much for those who can’t stand it. Zumba (or other dance focused classes) comes in burning around 200 less calories an hour. Hate circuits, but love dancing? Maybe Zumba is actually the better choice for you. Why? Because if you enjoy it, you are more likely to do it. Circuit training can boast all it wants about being the most efficient calorie burning activity on the list, but it doesn’t burn anything if you don’t do it!

As a personal trainer, the most important aspect of fitness for me is to enjoy whatever you are doing. If you hate running, but love zumba, for the sake of 100 calories it’s a no brainer?! Or better yet, if you love housework, I have a hoover (that I’ve been told works) and you’re more than welcome to push it around my house for an hour.

So, what’s the best exercise to lose weight? The exercise (or combination of exercises) that you enjoy enough to do regularly in order to achieve the results you desire.

How do you find that exercise? Now that sounds like a question your LiveandWorkout Personal Trainer can help you explore…

Fire up your workout with this warm up

You’re in the zone for a great workout. Having spent 30 minutes selecting the perfect combination of upbeat tunes to keep your motivation levels sufficiently high, you’re ready. Ready to sweat like a champion. Ready to show your body who’s boss and push the limits of physical endurance to a whole new level. “Watch out [insert name of super fit celebrity you idolise – The Rock?!] I’m coming for you” you enthusiastically proclaim. Time to make this workout your b*tch.

Read more

Why training with a friend is a great idea

  • I enjoy working out. In fact I love it. The rush of endorphins, the sense of achievement, the increased energy it gives me, the list is almost endless. But that doesn’t mean I always have fun working out. Going out for a jog on a cold wet evening isn’t fun. Running around playing football with friends, even on a cold wet evening, on the other hand – yes please. Exercising with friends can be a great way of merging calorie burning and socialising into a gloriously healthy lifestyle.

Read more

Pack a workout into your summer holiday

EASY demonstrated by Hudsons Core Fitness – Upright Rows / Supported Squat Thrusts / Elevated Knee Push Ups / Lunges / Reverse Ab Crunches
HARD demonstrated by LaW Personal Training – Frontal Raises / Advanced Squat Thrusts / Decline Push Ups / Overhead Lunges / Double Leg Raises

Summer is here! Yay that glorious time of year when the sun hides from the onslaught of school free kids and the only way to find it is to get on a plane and journey to exotic lands. You’ve starved yourself for the last 2 weeks preparing your beach bod and it’s time to show the world (and facebook) how great you look in your swimwear. You’ve worked hard, you deserve a break. You deserve to relax by the pool, to drink cocktails in the moonlight and to speak extra slow, shouted English so the bar staff can understand your order. You deserve it, you’re earned this break. But, that doesn’t mean you have to take a step back from your fitness goals. Not at all in fact.

I recently met up with our Solihull based personal trainer, Dan Hudson (Hudsons Core Fitness) and we devised this simple and effective holiday workout for those spare 15 minutes you have a day to help keep your fitness regime ticking over while away. We call it the suitcase hotel workout (name subject to change if we can think of something better). All you need is a suitcase and a small area of space -like your hotel room.

The workout is made up of 5 exercises. Complete 5 reps of each exercise back to back, take 30 seconds recovery and repeat 4-5 times. You will notice on the video that we have provided ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ options. Pick the appropriate exercise for your ability level (mix and match if necessary). And the best part is, as the holiday progresses it gets increasingly easier! Does the suitcase get lighter, or do you get stronger? Stronger obviously says the glass half full advocates.

Interested in training with our Birmingham and Solihull home training specialist Personal Trainers, Darran and Dan, click here

Eccentric calf raises for achilles tendinopathy recovery

I’ve recently had a couple of clients come to me asking for advice on sore achilles tendon*. It’s an area I’ve had a fair share of problems with myself. Achilles tendon injuries are often brought on by over exerting through exercise – namely running. Very common with long distance running. The continual stress running on hard surfaces has on your ankles can cause issues. In my case it was down to training two separate clients for marathons at the same time. I was essentially doing marathon prep twice over and the time on my feet running was too much and I ended up suffering with chronic achilles tendinopathy for nearly a year. Under the impression that the only way to cure the problem was through rest, I resigned myself to thinking I was just going to have to live with it – as rest isn’t exactly an option for a mobile personal trainer. Luckily, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Read more