One of the most common question I get is ” what is the best way to lose fat and tone up “? The answer? Circuit training.
Circuit training is a method of resistance or weight training that maximizes the amount of work done in a short period of time. Circuit training is a perfect option for people who are interested in weight loss, muscle gain and overall strength increases.
Circuit training squashes common excuses that people use for not exercising because it can be tailored to be done in as little as 10 minutes or as long as an hour. It is varied to relieve boredom as well as maximize results and does not need to be done every day.
Circuit Training Basics
Circuit training consists of performing multiple exercises on multiple body parts in a row with little rest in between reps and sets. The two most basic types of circuit training are horizontal training and vertical training. In horizontal training, all sets of one exercise are performed before a person moves on to the next exercise. In vertical training, one set of every different type of exercise is performed before returning to an exercise for the second, third, fourth time or as many times as the circuit is designed.
The amount of weight that a person lifts during a circuit training session can vary between sets. A person can start with light weights and work up to heavier weights (increasing pyramid) or can start with heavy weights and regress to lighter weights (decreasing pyramid) or can simply maintain the same weight for each individual exercise throughout the circuit. The most important component of circuit training is to take little rest in between reps and sets, whether of the same or different exercises.
Circuit Training Benefits
Due to the short rest periods that circuit training demands, individuals maintain elevated heart rates for the entire period of the workout. The combination of weight training and increased cardiovascular effort makes circuit training a supremely beneficial type of cross training. The individual gains lean muscle through resistance training while shedding body fat due to higher than normal cardiovascular endurance promoted by the continual rapid pace of the activity.
Apart from being a convenient way to exercise, circuit training maximizes the total exercise volume (number of sets, repetitions, and amount of weight) completed in a period of time. Exercises are completed one after the other, and therefore, the time spent exercising is condensed. Separate cardiovascular training is not necessary. All body parts are trained in one session, and therefore, individuals do not need to work out every day to still obtain real results if they choose not to. In fact as little as 3 x 20 minute circuit sessions per week can promote amazing and ongoing results if performed correctly.
Long Term Benefits
As circuit training is a type of interval training it is a great way to increase the body’s ability to burn calories when at rest. The individual’s heart rate goes up very high, returns to a lower (but still elevated state) and then goes up very high again. At no point during circuit training does the heart rate return to its normal resting rate. Circuit training, and interval training overall, increases the amount of oxygen that a person consumes post exercise, and therefore, increases the number of calories that a person burns throughout the day. This results in an increase in lean muscle and a reduction in body fat.