Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Updated Gym Routine + Circuit Training Ideas

los ángeles rooftop yoga
Shop my gym kit - leggings online here / top online here / shot at Loews Hollywood hotel / 

Hello hello! Today, I thought it was about time I talked to you about my updated gym routine and no, sadly it doesn’t always include working out on the top of a helipad in Los Angeles (I wish - read my Instagram guide to Los Angeles if you missed that though). One of the questions I get asked quite frequently on Instagram and Twitter is ‘what do you do at the gym’ so I thought I’d write down an update of what I’ve actually been doing. If you follow me on the gram (@emshelx) check out #EmsBootcamp because I regularly upload fitness videos there and also on my YouTube I have a whole fitness section with workout videos. If you’ve read any of my health and fitness posts you’ll know I majorly struggle to get into a routine as I’m here, there and everywhere. I truly feel my best when I’m in a good routine with my exercise but that can’t always be the case for many of us. My biggest tip? Try and make working out part of your routine and lifestyle, so it feels weird not working out, for example, if you don't have a gym - work out in your hotel room, if you're stuck in meetings - walk between them rather than getting a tube! I'm slowly getting better at finding alternatives when I don't have a gym near me or quite frankly, the time to workout! Let’s look at my updated gym routine today and I'll answer some frequently asked questions too! 

Side note: crazily EmTalks has been shortlisted as 'blogger of the year' in the Blogosphere blog awards, I would love it if you could take a second and vote for me here, thank you so much! 
Infinity Workout Bra sweaty betty
PS. Ignore my blister plasters, real life for you!!! I'm certainly not gonna start editing out my cuts and plasters haha.

How many times a week do you work out? On average since January 1st I’ve been working out 3x per week, I got a diary and have been ticking every day I’ve been working out and really trying to keep track of it. For some reason, by ticking it off, it inspires me to work out/ensure I'm training 3x per week and also means I'm not beating myself up for missing a day because I can clearly see if I've done my 3 per week, it allows me to be kinder to my body. I saw something on Twitter and someone was saying how she works out 7x a week for 2-3 hours per day. I know everyone is different but for me, I find I'm way more productive and push way more in shorter workouts. For me, it's about quality rather than quantity with my working out. Look at The Body Coach, for example, he swears by doing his 15 minute HIIT sessions. I’ve had a few weeks off from the gym and some weeks I’ve only been once per week, whereas some weeks I’ve been 6 times. It’s the nature of my job, some days I’m in Leeds, some in London and some across the world so I'm not too strict with myself, I try to fit it in 3x per week minimum and if I can't? So what. I just focus a little bit more on my eating or, realise that life is for living and realistically, a week off the gym isn't gonna hurt anyone, in fact, it's good for your body to rest so please don't beat yourself up for missing a workout. I think the three pillars of 'health' are sleep (which I need to get more off), good nutrition and exercise so if you can nail the sleep and the nutrition, that's good for your wellbeing and not working out for a little whilst isn't gonna harm you. I always say, I'd rather get my sleeping pattern back to normal than wake myself up after 4 hours at 6am to go to the gym, it's counterproductive.  Read: Diet culture and exercise guilt plus my healthy living tips. 

banana moon halterneck bikini
Shop the bikini online here / Follow me on Instagram @emshelx

My body: Albeit oiled up with sun oil and stood in a posed position, I certainly don't look like this most of the time (I spend half my life feeling bloated from goodness knows what intolerance) but this was a day where I felt proud of the body I've worked for in the gym and proud of the body that carries me but also, happy, because hopefully it shows that you can eat pizza and still have definition (not that definition is the be all and end all by the way and it certainly doesn't equal health). I've posted this because I want you guys to know that we all have different goals, different body ideals AND different genetics. I find people to inspire me but it took me a long time to realise I've gotta work with what I've got and stop comparing myself to others. I do think it's important to love our bodies though, they carry us, so I try to be kinder to mine now rather than talking about what I don't like. 

Which gym do you go to? I train at David Lloyd Leeds/Kensington, depending on where I am. David Lloyds Leeds is one of the best gyms I’ve ever come across and is more like a country club and spa. I feel at home when I walk in. It takes serious commitment though as it takes me about 40 minutes to get there in traffic but I wouldn’t change my membership for the world, my whole family go there and we all love it, it also means we work out together which takes the chore out of working out. It isn’t a testosterone filled, intimidating gym, it’s a really friendly place with so much space and perfect for people who don't actually like the gym (my Mum is a prime example but she loves it now). I regularly mix up personal training and classes to keep me on track. If I’m not in Leeds and not at events, I try to work out at the Kensington Harbour Club or Notting Hill. The best thing about David Lloyd membership? You can use it at all David Lloyd clubs so it’s perfect if you are always on the go. Sometimes if I'm in central London I'll pop to a random class if there's an event on, but apart from that, I tend to stick to my personal gyms as I feel like I know my way around. I know so many people resent the gym, but I think it's all about getting there and familiarising yourself. My Mum really hated the idea of gyms but once she found her feet, started to feel familiar and comfortable and started classes, she saw a different side to the gym. My brother is sadly still ill and unable to work out but he still continues to go to David Lloyd from a well-being point of view, whether using it as a social space, an office or, to hop in the outdoor pool. For me, the gym is what you make of it. I can go to clear my mind in a yoga room or I can go to smash out my stress on a spin bike. 

sweaty Betty Union Jack gym kit
Do you have a personal trainer? In December I got some personal training vouchers for my birthday and I’ve never looked back. I find personal training quite scary because it’s something that really pushes me out of my comfort zone but that’s why people get results. I bought 10 sessions and then bought another 5 because I love it so much. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with going to a personal trainer but never regret the feeling afterwards, I feel like I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life after seeing Lois at David Lloyd Leeds and it’s well worth pushing my body for. I would never push my body so much. I am learning so much too, so when I am away, I write down what we did and I copy it. I know I can push my body harder.  When I'm not away, I see Lois just once a week and will continue to do so as it makes me feel incredible and really keeps me on track. Personal training is expensive because you're paying for first class, top notch advice but as I said, I learn so much and push my body in ways I'd never imagine. If I had the money and time, I'd love to train with her 3x per week but sadly, my schedule changes every week so I can't always commit. If you're someone who's lost in the gym, I always recommend getting a personal trainer for the first few times you go, even if just to familiarise yourself with equipment etc. It's daunting but it builds your confidence so quickly. If you’re looking for some ideas of what to do at the gym in circuits by yourself, see some of the stuff myself and Lois have been doing below (have a look online if you need to see videos of the moves etc). 
CIRCUIT IDEAS: We often do the below circuits in the gym and mix them up, each circuit is usually done for 3x minutes and then you rest and repeat 4x through but it’s totally up to you, they give a great mix of cardio and weights and you can do say 3 of these circuits to make up one work out or if you don't have the time, do one of them. I recognise these will not make any sense whatsoever if you don't understand the names but I'm hoping for those advanced gym-goers you'll know what these moves are. I will try film these at some point for my YouTube and Instagram so keep an eye out! 

IDEA 1:
  • Do 3 minutes on a watt bike: 
  • After, go behind the bike and do this circuit (no rest for 3 minutes, as many rounds as you can)
  • Walk down crawls from plank (plank then crawl your hands back until they hit the feet and back down til you're straight again) 
  • Burpees
  • Squat jumps 
  • Mountain climbers 

IDEA 2:
  • Hold a plank and pull a core bag across through the arms (so you pull it from right to left thn from left to right) 
  • Core bag squats
  • Dumbbell burpees 
  • Box jumps 
  • Run with the weighted sledge 
  • (3 mins through with no rest, rest for 30 after and then repeat x4) 

IDEA 3:
  • Run with the sledge on track 8x forward and back (I have 25kg on the sledge) 
  • Box jumps (x10) 
  • Booty bridges with weight held on the pelvis and hold your heels up (x10)
  • Booty bridges with one shoulder on box and foot crossed over (x10) 
  • Dumbbell step ups on the box (x10 each side)
  • Dumbbell lunges on the box (x10 each side) 
  • Goblet squats (x12) 
  • 12kg in each hand squats x3 sets of 10x 

IDEA 4:
  • Watt bike 1 min as fast as possible 
  • then do 30 seconds on a higher level 
  • Move to the floor and do 10x burpees
  • 10x single leg lunges
  • 10x ball squat throws
  • 10x core bag squats
  • Repeat x4 rounds 

IDEA 5:
  • Go onto the treadmill and do 20 seconds on as fast as you can then 20 rest, then 20 on,  then 20 off - repeat as much as you can, I usually do this for 15 minutes. I was always told you should blast HIIT out so hard that you can't do any more after 10-15 minutes 
los ángeles helipad

IDEA 6:
  • 5 min as many reps as possible: 
  • Tyre pushes (push a tyre forward and back)
  • Tyre burpees (burpee onto the tyre) 
  • Tyre dead lifts (stand in the middle and deadlift with it)

IDEA 7:
  • Box, x10 jump onto it
  • Step ups with 8kg dumbbell in both hands, x10 each side
  • Kettlebell squat x10
  • Reverse lunges x 10 each leg 

IDEA 8:
  • 6 mins on a timer, ARAP (as many rounds as possible):

Circuit 1: 
  • Box jumps x10 
  • Step ups onto a box x10 with 8kg weight in each arm 
  • Tyre push x10 

Rest for 30 and move to:

Circuit 2:
  • Type push x 10
  • Burpees onto tyre x10 
  • Arm dips x10 


Rest for 30 and move to:

Circuit 3:
  • Dumbbell back lunges x10 each leg
  • Renegade rows x10 (I use 1x 10kg dumbbell in each arm, lay in a plank position and then row your arms up) 
  • Squats with dumbbells held on shoulders x10 

Rest for 30 and move to:


Circuit 4: 
  • Small step and hold kettlebell 12kg like goblet then lunges pulse x8 each leg 
  • Goblet squat x8 
  • 10x squat jumps 
  • 10x jump lunges 


I hope this gives you some good ideas, Google/check YouTube for the moves to ensure you’re getting them right from a personal trainer before you try them. This isn't me saying it's right or wrong, it's just me giving you ideas of circuits I personally do at the gym. 

sweaty Betty gym wearWhich fitness classes do you do? Since Christmas, I’ve been doing my personal training circuits (as seen above) once a week and have been mixing it up with either spin, Blaze classes or my own circuits (coping what myself and Lois have been doing).

Spin classes: I’ve been doing spin since I was at University and haven’t really ever stopped. I love my spin classes at David Lloyd and try to do at least 2 per week mixed up with my personal training. I’m asked about spin a lot, so I’m going to try and explain why I love it. No matter how many spin classes I go to, it never gets any easier. I leave the bike dripping with sweat and with the most insane endorphins ever (half of the reason I work out is for my mind). I feel in my comfort zone though because I’m sat in a bike in a dark room, so, if you want to take it steady or take a breather, you can. You can take spin at your own pace or equally, it's a great environment to challenge yourself against the clock in front of you if you wish. It's totally up to you. The classes I go to are basically big on HIIT, so we would do a mixture of long sections and then break them down into sprints for example. It’s incredible for building your endurance and also HIIT for burning fat. When I was studying I'd do 4-5x spin classes per week, 45 minutes and you're done!

Blaze: Blaze is a new class they just launched at David Lloyd and something I am obsessed with. I’ve been doing at least 1-2 sessions per week. Blaze is basically a mixture of martial arts, strength, cardio and boxing and it really does work muscles you didn’t know you had. I see it like a personal training session, without having to pay for a personal trainer. It’s a small class with about 18 people in it and you each have your own stations, at first, I worried people would stare but everyone is so focused on their own station, no-one looks at you. I really get nervous in group exercise classes and that's why I like spin, it's dark and I can keep my head down haha but the atmosphere in Blaze is amazing and everyone is working towards their own goal. It’s like a modern day circuit class. You can do a 45 minute or a 55 minute class, so depending on which class you do, each section is 3 or 4 minutes long. So you’d do boxing for 4 minutes, then without a break move over to the treadmill and do 4 minutes of an exercise, then you move straight over to the strength section for another 4 minutes. You then get to rest, the instructor mixes up the moves and you start again. Eventually, you’ve done 3x rounds of intense exercise. It really is intense but it’s so worth it and it really shows me that I can push my body.

I personally try to sign myself up for classes because I feel like I smash it way more and push myself more in a class than I do when taking myself to the gym for hours and hours. I love how quickly they're over (usually I stick to 45 min classes) and because someone else is telling me what to do, it takes my mind off the exercise and I can let my mind wander. I'd say I get the best results from classes because I push my body harder. It also teaches me how far I can push my body and, teaches me moves and techniques so when I'm in a hotel gym for example, I know what to do. 
sweaty Betty infinity work out
My biggest struggle with the gym is actually finding the time, when I’m at home for a week it’s perfect but when I’m in another city with a packed out diary from 6am-midnight it’s more important to sleep. If you’ve read any of my wellbeing posts you’ll know I’m a big believer in looking after your mind, body and soul. As much as exercise makes me feel incredible, banishes my stress and looks after my body, it’s not the end of the world if you miss a week of working out and I cannot stress this enough. Sleep first and then figure out your exercise routine. It’s something I’m trying to practice more: not beating myself up for missing a workout. 

Watch below for my current workout and more info:

Below is a what I eat video:


To conclude with my routine: 3x a week is a really good minimum for me when it comes to working out and this would usually be 1x Blaze class and 2x spin or a PT session. 5x per week is exceptionally good for me and when I've got the time, I will do this if I know I'm gonna have a busy following week for example.  This blog post may also help you out, my top fitness and workout tips. 

I hope this helps if you were wondering what I’ve been up to at the gym, you can follow the hashtag #emsbootcamp on Instagram as I have fitness videos on there for you to copy, click the button on the right and save them then copy them in the gym. When I’m working out alone and it isn’t a class, I like to have something to copy off otherwise I don’t work effectively or do the moves properly so hopefully, that will help you. You can also find some home workouts on my YouTube channel here and more will be coming soon. 

Do you work out? Do you go to the gym? Let me know if you'd like more work out videos! 

Follow me on Instagram @emshelx

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Side note: crazily EmTalks has been shortlisted as 'blogger of the year' in the Blogosphere blog awards, I would love it if you could take a second and vote for me here, thank you so much! 

Lots of love, Em x


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