The 30 Minute Workout is great, but it had come time for me to say goodbye

I've been going to Planet Fitness for a couple of years now. In my 40s and realizing that I need to get back in shape, Planet Fitness seemed like the perfect idea. It was inexpensive and since I just wanted to do some simple workouts and have access to cardio equipment, it was worth it.

Almost everyone who goes to Planet Fitness is familiar with their 30 Minute Workout circuit. In case you don't know about it, it's a circuit training setup that has about 10 workout machines lined up in a circle and for 30 minutes you go from machine to machine. 

Well that's what I started with when I came to Planet Fitness, I didn't want a complicated workout regimen because I just wanted something I would stick with and which was simple. The 30 Minute Workout is simple, you don't have to think about it.

I would normally do the 30 minute circuit, changing machines each time the big traffic light changed, and in between sets I would go on the step platforms and step to keep moving and keep my heart pumping.

I lost a lot of weight too, and it seemed I was building muscle again. The workouts kept my heart pumping and I was in love with the efficiency of getting a good workout in such little time.

After about a year though, that got kind of old, and my joints were hurting from doing the same movements over and over. I've long known that changing exercises, even using a different machine for the same exercise, would result in my joints not hurting, and it wouldn't be boring anymore.

So I basically said goodbye to my friend the 30 Minute workout, but I transitioned into a workout that was modeled upon the efficience and sequences of exercises of the 30 Minute Workout.

Life after the 30 Minute Workout

What I'm doing now (It's still 30 minutes)

Now I don't venture into the 30 Minute Workout circle anymore but what I'm doing as far as workout intensity and muscles covered per workout is the same. 

For reference, the sequence of machines in the 30 Minute Workout goes like this:

  1. Ab exercise machine
  2. Triceps machine
  3. Biceps preacher curl machine
  4. Shoulder Press machine
  5. Row machine
  6. Lat pulldown macine
  7. Chest press machine
  8. Leg Curl machine
  9. Leg Extension machine
  10. Leg Press machine

All exercises are completed twice in 30 minutes.

Now I work all of the same muscles in 30 minutes, but I will use a combination of free weights (dumbells or pre-loaded barbells) and machines thoughout the Planet Fitness facility. Here's what it looks like now for me when I work out:

  1. Ab machine (one of two machines available)
  2. Triceps pushdown with the cable machine
  3. Alternating hammer curls with dumbbells (or barbell curl)
  4. Dumbbell shoulder press (or shoulder press machine)
  5. Cable rows
  6. Lat Pulldown with cable
  7. Dumbbell bench press
  8. Leg curl machine
  9. Leg extension machine
  10. Leg press machine (any of three kinds of leg press machines available)

And that's how I do it now that I've moved on from the 30 Minute Workout. My workout still takes about 30 minutes and I cover all of the muscles that the original 30 Minute Workout would. The difference though is that I use the types of machines or exercises that I prefer and I can avoid machines if they make my joints hurt. 

Also I don't step in between sets. I try to keep the workout at around 30 minutes and now that I'm walking around the gym to go to the different exercises, I don't have time for steps because my travel around the gym takes up all of that time. 

I still do two sets of each exercise in the approximately 30 minute workout.

I'm happy with how this is going. 

Also, I do 15 reps per exercise. I know a lot of people say that's too many reps and that I should keep it at around 8 to 12 reps per exercise, but 15 reps is what I've found works for me. Occasionally, I will do a workout with 8 reps, 10 reps, or 12 reps per set, but with added weight to encourage an increase of strength, and then when I go back to my 15 rep workouts, I will increase the weight slightly if I can.

Are you ready to move on?

Have you been doing the 30 Minute Workout for a while and are ready to try something else? Maybe what I did in transitioning out of the 30 minute purple circle could be the way for you to go also. The 30 Minute Workout provides great benefit but it can get boring and stale, and maybe your joints hurt like mine did from doing the same movements over and over. Just go out into the other areas of Planet Fitness and adapt what you did in the 30 Minute Workout to the many other machines and equipment. I think you'll like the change.