The Plus Runner Circuit Workout

I’ll admit it – there are days when I am a fan of The Biggest Loser. 

Some friends hate the show – they say that it creates unrealistic weight loss expectations, makes it seem as if the only way to be fit is to go to a ranch for 18 weeks, etc. etc.  But we all agree on this: it’s inspiring. Those people are HUGE when they start (to be fair, maybe my size).  They look like us, and they work so hard and LOOK at what they accomplish after just a few weeks?

Who doesn’t aspire to be the woman or man who can lose 100 pounds in 18 weeks? 

I, for one, would love to do that. But realistically, it doesn’t happen like that for most of us.  Most of us lose one or two pounds a week, if we’re making a concerted effort.  We work out one hour per day, if we’re making a concerted effort.  But don’t you want to just TRY to work out that hard, sometimes?

Last summer, two of my girlfriends and I decided we did.  So we created our own Biggest Loser workout.  Now, we should probably rename it The Biggest Runner workout.  Or The Biggest Whiner workout (ahem.)  But if you’re looking for a way to make an hour go quick, this is my favorite cross-training workout. 

Where to start?

We go to Amundsen High School (Winnemac Park) in Chicago, which has a track and a short stadium, and a park, all in one block.  But you can do this anywhere.  There is no set order, and the amount of repititions we do varies, as we move through the season. 

Warm Up:  5 minutes, slow jog or walk.  Use the talk test (you should be able to talk when running/walking).

Exercises:  Walking Lunges, Two-Leg Squats, Single Leg Squats, Step-Ups, Modified Push-Ups, Tricep Dips, Bridges, Standard Crunch (50), Oblique Crunches.  And….we run the stairs – there are 28 flights at this location, and do at least 4 flights at a time, usually 3 repititions.

For the first 4 weeks, we do approximately 2 sets of 10, adding to 3 sets of 10, with a short break between each set.

In between each exercise, we jog for 1 lap around the track – 1/4 mile. 

What does a typical workout look like?

This is a typical sequence for us (which involves some running, occasional cussing, and loads of sweat):

Run – Lunges – Run – Tricep Dips – Run – Stairs – Run – Modified Pushups (we use a bench instead of a “full” pushup – Run – Standard Crunch / Rest / Oblique Crunches – Run – Squats – Run – Stairs – Run – Bridges – Run – Cooldown.

It usually takes us about an hour to complete the circuit, and when we’re done, we’re sweaty, but really, really proud!

For more information about how to do the exercises laid out above, or to select your own special set of core strengthening activities, check out the Mayo Clinic site, which includes video for proper form.

I’ll report back in after this week’s activities – let me know how your circuit training goes!

See you on the path!

2 thoughts on “The Plus Runner Circuit Workout

  1. Hahaa, I use Biggest Loser for motivation from time to time too. I can’t stand the show because there is a lot of controversy regarding health issues and if the results are realistic for the average viewer but the weight loss and the dramatic changes are inspiring.

    Circuit training is great for more experienced runners as it is more demanding compared to a regular anaerobic workout.

    I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners, but intermediate and advanced runners will be challenged.

    • Nehal –
      Glad to have you visiting! I’m by no means a trainer, but I think those who are looking for active cross-training might find it helpful – and definitely would enjoy doing this more than going to a gym. We plus runners sometimes avoid the gym like the plague, so if you can learn to do the exercises correctly, with or without a run in between, it’s still a work out. To me, that’s half the battle…

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