Circuit class offers sweat soaked road to fitness

Euan Macleod, of the Lewis Sports Centre, runs the popular circuit classes.
Euan Macleod, of the Lewis Sports Centre, runs the popular circuit classes.

CLASS tutor Euan Macleod is grinning with glee as he watches me struggle through the final round of circuits with legs that had long since turned to jelly.

Taking great delight in leading me, and the rest of the class, through their sweaty paces with a gruelling circuit regime Macleod is the perfect taskmaster/inspirer hybrid.

As hard as I found my first ever circuits’ class I found it hugely beneficial and motivating and my body could feel the difference long before Macleod’s final whistle of a memorable 50-minute muscle sapping session in the Lewis Sports Centre.

Each of the major muscle groups, from the upper body to the lower body, and the core, are worked in 20-second bursts with an array of stations positioned around the floor in a circle.

Working in pairs, each station is worked for 20-seconds, followed by a ten second rest, before moving on to the next ensuring each muscle receives optimum focus.

It is no walk in the park and it only takes three stations before I feel the burning sensation of underused muscles in the back of my thighs.

I knew I needed to work on my fitness but this is an eye-opener as to exactly what extent.

Each loop of the circuit track finishes with a 20-second burst of sprints, which I assure you feels a lot longer, and it is here I feel my legs wobble for the first time as they try to make the switch to running following what felt like a lunge marathon en-route to the sprints.

It is the thighs which feel the burn the most, at least for me it was, but it is only those serious about putting the effort in to get fit that take up the challenge of circuits.

Of course I’ve also been paired with one of the classes elite, and most experienced, circuit trainers in quad racing champ John Neil Mitchell who does an expert job in both showing me the ropes and motivating me to try and keep pace with him, but failing.

Iron Man, as I have began calling him following the class, has been coming to circuit classes for some time and it shows as he barley breaks sweat while it is pouring down my head like a turkey which has wandered into Bernard Matthews’ garden.

Circuit training, which takes place in the Lewis Sports Centre every Thursday evening, targets different muscle groups with its short bursts of resistance, frequent repetitions and use of weights with a particular focus on form, technique and range of movement.

There is only a 10-second rest period between circuit stations because Macleod has designed the circuit in such a way that each following station switches between muscle groups.

This in turn speeds the heart rate up for the exerciser and maximises the benefits of the class.

At the class I attended there was an excellent blend of males and females with ages ranging through the spectrum and with each at differing levels.

There are different weights to choose from and while each station operates at 100 per cent intensity, that level of intensity varies hugely from athlete to athlete and changes week by week.

Lunges with weights, stepping exercises, press ups with and without weights, shuttle runs and lifts are just some of the exercises covered in the class with left its mark on me for days.

Following the class stairs became the enemy as my backside and thighs felt the benefits through the following day. It served as a reminder to me that I have a lot of work to do to reach my goal of fitness and I’ll be back tonight (Thursday) where I will try once again to put the brakes on Iron Man.