Weight Training Circuit Workout: Making Gains Hurts So Good

Posted byLori Posted onJanuary 19, 2011 Comments19

Alright, we’re talking fitness today! Yay. Since I’m now a professional, and all, right? Ok, well on paper I am anyway…

Lately, I’ve been sneaking in little bits of my workout program into posts and today is dedicated to filling in those gaps, or just explaining some of the things I’m doing in terms of fitness.

I’m excited to share with you the amazing workouts that fill my mornings… and since everyone around me is tired of hearing me talk about the world-of-weight training.

The Start of It All (well, besides CrossFit)

Katie sent me a link to Charlotte‘s amazing blog for a post about her experiences and experiments with weight training. From there I devoured all that I could with her numerous posts on weight lifting versus running, and the outcomes that she experienced. What really got me, through her trials and documentations, was that she had the most effective results for toning and losing body fat with doing minimal cardio.

She also did a month-long experiment with Rachel Cosgrove‘s book, The Female Body Breakthrough. The book I bought, read cover to cover, started the program out of, and am now loving. I took Charlotte’s advice and started at week 9 (of the 16 week program) since I had been lifting weights for a while now. Outcome: (again) I LOVE the program. Most of it anyway. And I’m making gains in my lifts and losing unneeded weight.

Cardio Vs. Weight

If you’ve done your research (or just read the countless articles out there confirming this piece of information), like I’m sure you have, then you already know that you should be weight training to maintain muscle mass and to lower body fat. You also probably already know that doing endless amounts of cardiovascular exercise will not reshape your body or help you tone up. And if you are like the old me, you are thinking, “Yeah right… there is NO way I’m stopping my cardio! I’ll blow up like a balloon.”

Alas, I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, since cutting my cardio sessions down to 2 days a week with no more than 20 minute intervals (HIIT to be exact), I’ve lost 3 pounds (hopefully just fat), a few percentages of body fat, and am waaaaaay more toned (with weight lifting). I’ve even cut my time in the gym down and upped my calories. Take that cardio.

Tiny Pink Weights you should avoid! GO BIG
Tiny Pink Weights you should avoid! GO BIG or GO BIGGER!


This is not to say that cardio work is bad. This is not to say that you should not go run your half marathon this weekend. But this is me saying to myself that I have had WAY more results with increasing  weight training and lowering my cardio.

The Routine

Now that I have gotten my little speech out of the way, here’s my workouts (oooohhh the best part!!):

  • Monday: Full-body (heavy) lifting- workout variation #1
  • Tuesday: 10-20 minutes HIIT
  • Wednesday: Full-body (heavy) lifting- workout variation #2 (from Rachel Cosgrove’s book)
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Full-body (heavy) lifting- workout variation #1 (from Rachel Cosgrove’s book)
  • Saturday: Optional HIIT
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: repeat with workout #2, etc…

Total lifting time never goes over one hour. All weights are pretty heavy and I try to increase the load (weight) (even if 2.5 lbs) each week. Oh, and I bring intensity with me each and every workout.

Want a sneak peak into one of the workouts that I absolutely love-hate-love so so so SO much? Sure ya do. (just don’t tell Rachel Cosgrove since it’s directly out of the book)

“Fine-Tune” Phase Workout B (or #2 as shown above)

Dynamic Warmup
1A Swiss Ball Crunch (repeat 2x)

2A Complex: High pull, Front Squat with Push Press, Back Squat, Good Morning (repeat 4x with 8 reps of each)

(Done as a circuit, do each move 5-10x, in order, repeating all four exercises 3x total)
3A Deadlift
3B DB Rotational Overhead Press
3C Single-leg Squat
3D Bent-over row

Make sense? Good. With this specific 4 week phase of the program, the reps and sets are changed each week, confusing the hell out of your muscles, facilitating growth. By far, this is my favorite, yet deeply hated, workout from the book… why? Because if you’re lifting heavy enough (but with good form!) it hurts so good. πŸ˜‰

My Motivation

Besides wanting to completely reshape my body, abs people, I’m talking packs of 6, I’d like to continue gaining strength. Oh, and this might be some pretty high ranking, kick-ass motivation.

And I also want to compete in a figure competition, as I have been researching the shit out of them. But no official plans yet….

Stay tuned for my “diet” changes… or just lifestyle changes. There isn’t really a set diet I’m doing, just little tweaks that have helped a lot. Stuff like these…

Protein, anyone?

Waaaaaay too much of these (if that is even possible! I love them!)

And some of these guys, which is chicken if you can’t tell. πŸ˜‰

What are some of your motivations for working out, exercising, or just staying healthy?

Any exciting plans or news you want to share???

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19 People reacted on this

  1. I want to THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this site. Over the last 3 years I have lost over 110lbs (with the help of my awesome trainers, and a total overhaul of my diet — gluten free and lower carb). Recently I have been in a bit of a workout rut, so we started with some crossfit (AWESOME!!). I have also, secondary to crossfit, started looking into a Paleo diet, which is basically what I already do, but with a few tweaks. Anyhow, I stumbled across your site today and literally have been glued for the last 2 hours, I find your workout outlines to be totally motivating and your recipes look super yummy!! Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!!

  2. […] may remember my time spent with Rachel Cosgrove and the Female Body Breakthrough workouts. Love them. The basis of Cosgrove’s workouts are full body, three days of lifting per week. […]

  3. thanks for your comment!
    oh my gosh your food looks incredible! congrats on becoming a trainer!
    it took me a long time to kick the cardio to the curb but i am SO glad i did.

    my motivation is when i see my clients work hard through their workouts and then tell me that i kicked their ass..it makes me want to hit the gym hard and kick my own!
    .-= Erika´s last blog ..Weight Lifting FAQ Part One- Starting out! =-.

  4. Okay, I’m just now getting to commenting as your post inspired me to go workout right away yesterday! I did a killer arm workout … definitely sore from it today, but just a bit.

    I’m so with you on the weights over cardio. I did P90X strictly, which is a weight-focused program (I didn’t add any cardio, just regular walking) and it transformed my body in a great way! (husband’s too). I then tried Insanity (all cardio), and gained 3 lbs and my body fat percent went up. I was immensely dissappointed. I’ve gone back to a weight based program, and success is happening again and I never feel tired from being over-worked out (as cardio can do for me, especially at altitude!).

    Great post and congrats again on the PT!!
    .-= Alisa Fleming´s last blog ..Other Places … =-.

  5. Love that picture of Gerard..and your little caption there lol!

    I love Charlotte’s blog..and I’m reading her book right now which is awesome..lots of info and lots of laughs!

    Okay you’ve sold me..it’s time to get Cosgrove’s book!!
    Oh I am working on getting those “little packs” to show themselves too…it’s one of my goals for this year:)
    I used to be a cardio junkie and totally avoided the weights..so I had to start at square one when I learned slow cardio is doing nothing to really get me into shape! I couldn’t even do a single regular pushup! Now I can and seeing progress is very motivating.
    My new favorite thing is kettlebells…they look so innocent but they’ll have you breathless within seconds lol!
    Love all the eats!! Goji’s are so amazing!
    Some of my motivations for working out are : It helps me realise I can do so much more than I think and this transfers to other parts of my life, endorphins:), and just overall giving my body what it needs. I have a desk job and so I know sitting around all day isn’t great!
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..Gentle Barn =-.

  6. Well said girl! We used to be cardio junkies!!! Crazy how times change, I sometimes cannot believe I do not have a gym membership. I love HIIT the most, but hope to try new things like added weight. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and so excited to hear how you progress!

  7. This is really self-affirming for me right now πŸ™‚ Weird as this may sound, I’ve been ANXIOUS about how much less cardio I’m doing on P90X than usual. I’m on week 3 and haven’t lost any weight yet…but I just hope SOMETHING’s going on in there. But I still can’t even do one pullup πŸ™ I feel like I have a long way to go…but hopefully I’m on the right path.
    .-= Amber Shea @Almost Vegan´s last blog ..P90X Week Two- getting into a routine =-.

  8. Consider this choir preached to. I love it and am with you 100%. Nah, 200%.

    I still do love my cardio though. I am doing more than I was a few months ago, but I am in the “maintenance” phase, so I have some cushion. Not that kind of cushion though. πŸ™‚
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..One-upping Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread Alternate title- How NOT to roast eggplant =-.

  9. Great to hear you sounding so stoked about your gains (and losses) and so inspired! It’s awesome to discover that a belief that you held dear (like cardio) can be replaced by something even better, isn’t it?

    I’ve never been much of an endorphin junkie–but I do love to be outside and I do love to see beauty, and those are pretty good motivations to stay in shape. It’s useful to be strong, living here, too, so that’s another one.

    .-= Ela´s last blog ..Guest Post on Bitt of Raw- Overcoming Restrictive Eating Patterns =-.

  10. Are those goji berries?!?!? So yummy πŸ™‚
    .-= Monique´s last blog ..Week 3- Attend a Phoenix Suns game =-.

  11. Katie:
    Wheew! That’s a lot and EXACTLY how I feel. So yeah. lol It’s hard and I know you want a sexy, muscular, CUT body cause it’s exactly what I want! πŸ™‚

    Seriously, I had a HARD time cutting all my cardio. I was doing way way way too much. But after a week or two it felt… right? Better? It just helped my lifting workouts. I can progress faster since I have enough time for my body to rest. It’s all about listening to your body and LETTING it rest. Yeah, I felt fine with all that I was doing but I wasn’t losing an ounce, nor was I upping my weights (especially not in CrossFit) which was so frustrating.

    You could try out not doing spinning. Or you could try cutting down to one day. You could try all sorts of things- but the key will come with consistency. Seriously. Like a lifting routine, you have to give it time- like 4 weeks time- to notice changes. Sucks but true.

    I tried BFL workouts and didn’t really like them. I LOVE Cosgrove’s. But it’s about personal preference too. The more I’ve been reading the more I come to understand that it’s completely based on dedication: you have to show up, do your workout, and be consistent. Ok, add in nutrition and it’s complete… make sense or am I just rambling now? lol

    If you like the style of BFL, I say stick with it but up those weights and maybe think about cutting some of the cardio. HIIT is great but I don’t do any more than 30 minutes (I actually don’t do any more than like 15-20 but I’m lazy with it. lol)

    Good luck and keep me updated!

  12. Yummy protein! I love animal protein! I never thought I would say that this time last year! Funny how things change.

    Gahhh, Lori. What to do. What to do. I want to get six pack abs and awesome muscle definition, but I feel like what I am doing isn’t going to be enough. πŸ™ I am pretty much doing Body for Life workouts and eating style. I am definitely seeing some great changes in my body, but I am still spinning 3 times a week. I really like it. And, I can’t see myself not being active 2-3 days out of the week (when you rest from lifting). I get too antsy and I love fitness/activity too much to not workout. That’s why I love the balance of lifting and spinning. But, spinning is probably preventing me from getting “cut.” Am I right? πŸ™ I have thought about doing HIIT instead, but I would miss spinning. Guhh, it’s so difficult. I want this rock hard, sexy muscular body, but I also don’t want to miss the fun I have in spin. I LOVE lifting heavy though. What are your thoughts on the pyramid style of lifting from Body For Life? I looked at Rachel Crosgroves book the other day. I think I may try that after I give BFL a try (it’s a 12 week program). The BFL eating style is sticking though. I can tell that by balancing my protein, carbs, and fat in a 40/40/20 ratio is doing my body well.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..breakfast challenge =-.

  13. The smoothies look great and wonderful information here. My motivation is taking care of myself, blowing off steam and boasting self-confidence. I’m training for another half-marathon and jumping into yoga this year in addition to my regular workout schedule.

  14. Your eats look so delicious, and I love the structure of your workout routine!!
    .-= Christin@purplebirdblog´s last blog ..Not Mushy! =-.

  15. those eats look amazing!! and I’m so glad you are certified!!! WHo did you get certified by?
    .-= salah@myhealthiestlifestyle´s last blog ..Guest Post- Heather’s Dish – aka Big Scissor =-.

  16. You are so motivating you know that?!! I really wish I had access to more gym equipment, cause I would love to start lifting more! What are you favorite exercises with hand weights?

  17. those weights crack me up! might as well just lift water bottles. I can’t wait to see how your strength progresses. Looks like an awesome week of training. Remember, progress pics!
    .-= Lindsay Cotter´s last blog ..The Weekend Update =-.

  18. Your weekly workout schedule looks so awesome. I actually used to do something VERY VERY similar back in the day.
    Now, I’m more laid back about my workouts and not so rigid. I loved the rigidity of it then, but in this season of life, I’m about going with the flow.
    I would love to be able to do that routine again, but it’s just not in me right now! LOL!

    my motivation for working out nowadays-keeping my heart healthy, my weight stable, and my mood elevated. bring on the endorphins baby!
    .-= Heather (Perspective Is Everything)´s last blog ..a very special Music Monday =-.

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