Artist, actress, dancer, singer—Alex Silver-Fagan did it all. But when life took over and her myriad passions started to feel like jobs, the one thing she found she could still lean on was fitness.
Going to the gym and sharing her journey on BodySpace kicked off Alex's journey toward becoming a trainer. She competed onstage briefly, but these days, she's fully focused on exploring and teaching the full spectrum of fitness. Look around online, and you'll see her alternately doing yoga, moving barbells or dumbbells, blending bodyweight strength training with rowing, and plenty more.
As Alex says, there's no way you can't feel good about bettering your body and improving your health. Check out her story.
Now that you know her better, try her tough City Circuit Workout. All you'll need is a park bench, determination, and a water bottle to keep you hydrated.
The workout starts with a quick dynamic warm-up, after which you'll l go through two rounds of two different circuits, each with a cardio "burst" as a finisher. "The best part of this workout? You can customize it to fit your needs," Silver-Fagan says. "If you have time in your schedule for a longer workout, repeat it 2-3 times all the way through. Find yourself short on time? Go hard and give one round your all."
Exercise Techniques and Tips
Also called an "inchworm," this is a classic move where you walk your hands out until you're in the plank position with your shoulders right over your wrists. Keep your legs straight as you walk your feet back.
Standing solid, drive your knee into your chest, giving a little stretch to your glute, then switch sides. Looking to get some extra bang for your buck? Add a calf stretch by coming up on your toes.
This exercise is also known as the "toy soldier" because of the marching motion it mimics. Keeping your legs straight and torso upright, take your left hand and reach for your right foot in front of your body. After each rep, reset and switch legs.
Walking lunge with twist
This move will engage your legs and core while also stretching your hip flexors. Start with a forward lunge, making sure your knee doesn't lunge far past your toes. At the bottom of the lunge, bring your hands out in front of you, and twist toward the side of your bent leg. You should feel the stretch in the hip flexor of the leg that's behind you.
High knees are a great way to get your heart pumping, and they'll be the finishing movement for your warm-up today. For high knees, focus on driving your knees into your chest quickly. "Pay close attention to form and the quality, not just quantity, of your movement," Silver-Fagan says. If you can't get your knees all the way up, slow down.
Reverse lunge to step-up
Your first circuit exercise is a reverse lunge to a step-up. Facing a bench while standing on the ground, perform a reverse lunge by bringing your left knee as close to the ground as you can. Then, drive up with your right leg, stepping onto the bench and lifting your left knee to your chest.
Incline single-leg push-up
Bring your hands toward the bench and come into a plank, placing your shoulders over your wrists. Make sure your butt and hips are in line with your chest so you work your lower abs, too. Lift your right leg off the ground slightly, and lower your body to the bench to do a push-up. After 5 reps, switch legs.
Decline knee tap
Place your feet where your hands were during the push-ups, and put your hands on the ground. Drive your knee to your chest as you pick your right hand up off the ground, and tap your left knee, then alternate sides. You should definitely feel this movement working your core.
Lateral bound cardio burst
From a standing position, lift your right leg off the ground and hop to the right, landing and balancing with your left leg slightly off the ground. Then, do the same motion to the left. "If elevating your opposite foot makes it too hard to maintain your balance, it's fine to gently tap your foot on the ground after each rep," Silver-Fagan recommends. "During this 30 seconds of hopping side to side, try to get as high and far as you can."
Box (bench) jump
You may have heard of versions of a bench jump where you jump over a bench, either facing to the front or the side, but this version is basically just a box jump done on a park bench or other raised surface. Find a bench that's sturdy, level, and can support your weight. Hinge at the hips, sitting your butt back. Use your arms to explode and jump onto the bench, landing softly to protect your knees and ankles. Step back down softly, reset, and do it again.
Place your hands behind you on the bench, with your fingers pointed toward your toes. Bend your knees, or for an added challenge, keep your legs straight. Push through the palms of your hands as you keep your elbows tucked tight behind you—not flared out to the side. By keeping your butt as close to the bench as you can, you'll be able to keep the focus on your triceps.
Start in a standing position, then lunge to the right with your right leg, pushing your butt back and keeping your knee over your toes. Sit all the way into that hip, then push off the bent leg to come back to standing. Repeat on the other side.
Burpee cardio blast
Your final cardio burst for this workout comes in the form of 30 seconds of—get ready for it—burpees. No need to count; just get as many reps in as you can to make this a true finisher. Don't worry; for these burpees, you don't have to complete a full push-up. The goal here is to get down to the ground and back up as quickly as possible. Start from a standing position, then place your hands on the ground, bring your chest to the floor, pop up as fast as you can, and hop at the top.