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Back in the early ‘90s, circuit classes were all the rage. I’d troop along for my twice-weekly class and join other gymgoers in a circular quest for toned limbs. Guided by a ‘traffic light’ system, we’d move from station to station, using a variety of fixed weights to work different body parts.

Then circuits seemed to lose favour, replaced by the shinier, hipper Pump classes which claimed similar benefits .

Some twenty years on, circuits are once again finding popularity, particularly with time-poor women. I popped along to Contours in Belconnen to roadtest their 29 minute circuit.

Ok, so let’s get this out of the way first up. I’m pretty fit..I exercise about four times a week for an hour at at time. I admit I didn’t expect really expect a 29 minute circuit to test me. BUT. I was wrong…in fact, I was sore (in that good-sore-that-you-get-when-you’ve-worked-hard way) for two days afterwards!

So, what does the Contours circuit consist of? Like a traditional circuit class, there are fixed weight machines set around the room in a circle. There are also a few exercise bikes for warm ups.

Another smaller inner circle is made up of cardio stations, a series of slightly bouncy ‘rebounder’ boards which put a little extra spring in your step! Right at the centre is another cardio station, where the instructor on duty can give you ideas for cardio exercise when she’s not guiding you in your weight workout.

Essentially, during the circuit, you move from station to station – alternating weights and cardio – every 45 seconds. A soundtrack of upbeat, contemporary music plays, overlaid by a voiceover which tells you when to move stations and also instructs you when to stop and check your heartrate. This ensures you’re working in the correct training zone and lets you know whether you need to adjust your level of effort.

The workout combines weight bearing equipment with a cardio workout, so you’re improving your strength and your fitness at the same time.

The women-only studio has an intimate feel and overlooks Lake Ginninderra, which is actually kind of zen. The space is small and welcoming and, even though it was just me and owner Tammy onsite during my roadtest, I can imagine that there must be a lovely sense of camaraderie during peak times.

I asked Tammy if there’s a typical demographic that likes the circuit, but she says it’s for all ages and fitness levels. Their youngest member is 17 and their oldest in her 70s…every woman works at her own pace.

As part of the roadtest, Tammy gave me a complimentary BIOAGE® test: a measurement of a person’s ‘real’ or ‘biological’ age telling you how well you are performing for your age. It’s a great tool to help motivate you on your fitness journey.

The BIOAGE® test is comprised of a questionnaire on your lifestyle and stress levels; your height and weight measurements; a cardio endurance test (three minute step test); a flexibility test; core strength test and a lung capacity test. Phew!

At the end of all that, she put my results in the computer and it spat out that my bio age is 30! Woo hoo! Take that 38 year old body!

As someone who is already very active, I think the circuit is a great option for ‘toning’ days…I like the fact that you get a bonus cardio workout as well as strength-training. And my muscles told me that the weights did their job admirably.

If you live or work in the Belconnen area, why not give the Contours circuit a go – at 29 minutes, it’s the perfect lunchtime exercise option.

This month you can join Contours Belconnen for just $29 and receive your first 29 days FREE! As a special offer to HerCanberra Readers, mention this article and receive your own complementary BioAge Assessment valued at $39 (includes a comprehensive 17 Page report for you to keep).

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