circuit training, park, fitness, exercise, weight loss, fit mom, run, pull ups, weight training, motivation

How China Influenced my Circuit Training

many minutes of my life have been spent devising plans on how i can better grasp an understanding of this big wide world that surrounds us. there are 196 countries in the world, each with its own subset of cultures, people, lifestyles, and lessons, waiting to capture our attention and influence our lives.

every new country and culture i’ve experienced has forced me to become more open-minded. i take away new ideas on how i can better my life with each new experience.  one way to define each of those lifestyles, is through the methods of activity in each country. and china was no exception to that rule.

their life is a chaotic one, full of paradox, and a lot people. in many ways it was one of the more advanced cultures i had ever witnessed with the influence of technology, and the sea of sky-scrapers.  in others, it was dramatically behind with drastic hygienic hurdles to overcome, and socioeconomic difficulties.

i spent a month in China many years ago, and i was instantly struck by the degree of activity in their daily life. Americans arguably go to the gym more than most societies around the globe, but it could also be said that our amount of daily activity is far less.  i recently read one article summarizing a study on an international pedometer test.  the results showed that Americans are thousand of steps behind other countries when it comes to daily physical activity.

The study tracked the steps of 1,136 adults around the United States who wore pedometers for two days in 2003. The results were compared to similar pedometer studies in Switzerland, Australia and Japan. The data collected showed that Americans, on average, took 5,117 steps a day, far short of the averages in western Australia (9,695 steps), Switzerland (9,650 steps) and Japan (7,168 steps).

~ New York Times article The Pedometer Test: American’s Take Fewer Steps

China was not a part of this study, but from my experiences there, i would undoubtedly say that their stepping number trumps that of ours.  years ago, as i wandered around the streets of Shanghai in my first week of arrival, i immediately noted how active the Chinese are. they walk, they exercise in parks, and what little open space they have is filled with outdoor work out equipment.


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what is even better than the fact that these exist, is that they are constantly in use.  (i wonder if we were to build equipment like this in the U.S. if anyone would ever use them?)

last week China came to mind as i was planning my daily workout.

it has been 100+ degrees hot.  so the options were either the air-conditioned gym, or the(veryveryvery)first2hours outdoors, before temperatures were unbearable. i couldn’t help but wish i could combine the two, into one outdoor gym workout, as the Chinese do. and so i did what any person would do… i headed to the playground.

it turns out, we do have built in workout equipment in our parks, and the only people who use them, are kids. but i decided to change that for the day. and i may be making this a habit.

i left my house early and started off my workout with a 15 minute run.

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this is a short trail in my neighborhood, but one that i take as much as possible because it is so picturesque


that run led me to the playground in Kleiner Park, where i set up a circuit on the “workout equipment.”

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my circuit consisted of dips – 15 each round

alternating park bench toe touches – 25 touches per foot

and pull ups – 5 each round


it wasn’t the easiest bar to do pull ups on, because it was so wide around, and it was tilted side ways as you can see in the photo.  but i wasn’t going to let those details stop me.

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i completed three rounds of the circuit, until every muscle group was feeling the burn.  and then i backtracked my steps and jogged 15 minutes home.

perhaps i will have to channel my inner-nomad, and start doing other workouts that are influenced by places i have traveled.  this China-influenced circuit was a great start!


What unique workouts have you witnessed along your travels? 

What are the most active countries you have traveled to?



One thought on “How China Influenced my Circuit Training

  1. Looks like a good workout! I can’t wait to try it. I haven’t yet mastered a pull up…ever…in my entire life, but I’ll get there.


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