If you are working hard in the gym, but are either plateauing, or not seeing the results you are looking for, it may be time to add circuit training workouts to your routine.
Circuit training involves completing a series of workouts-- usually a combination of high-intensity cardio with some sort of strength training-- and not truly resting until each circuit, or interval is completed.
Circuit training versus logging miles on the treadmill, or spending hours on weight machines, has incredible benefits. So many benefits, in fact, that we decided to base an entire class schedule around it! But the best thing about circuit training is that it is so flexible-- you can create your own routine with limited equipment, or participate in a variety of group fitness classes based on circuit training with tons of different equipment. Not convinced? Here are some specific benefits of circuit training workouts:
1. They are Efficient
Because circuit training combines cardio and strength training, you can fit in a complete workout in record time. You can get the best of both worlds when you mix intervals of high-intensity cardio with lifting weights and short periods of active rest in between.
2. They Increase Endurance
Circuit training workouts include intervals of exercise with a short period of often active rest in between. Because you don’t take long breaks (after all, efficiency is the goal!), you maintain an elevated heart rate, increasing your endurance and, of course, burning calories!
3. They Are Good for Your Heart
Speaking of an elevated heart rate, this type of muscle varying workout is great for your heart! For example when you complete an exercise with your upper body, blood will flow to that muscle group as a result of the stress and energy usage that muscle is using. When you switch to the next exercise, for example to your legs, the blood will be forced away from the upper body into the legs. This natural phenomenon is what causing the heart rate to increase at a high rate as opposed to regular, single-muscle group strength training. This is known as peripheral heart action and provides multiple heart benefits.
4. They Can Inject Some Variety into your Workout
Variety in workouts is good for both your body and your mind. Besides the obvious benefit of reducing boredom, circuit training can add variety in the equipment you use and the exercise moves you do. You could find yourself working muscles that you have never been able to work before, adding definition to your body and impressive results.
5. They Will Give You that Coveted “After Burn!”
Have you ever heard of those magic workouts that cause you to continue to burn calories even after you are done for the day? They’re not magic. The simple science of circuit training causes the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or (EPOC) that makes them so rewarding. The key is in the limited rest in between intervals. After a circuit training workout, your body has to work harder to return to its rest state, and while it is working, you continue to burn calories!
No matter where you are in your fitness journey, adding circuit training workouts into your routine can have positive effects. The combination of endurance work and strength training is great for all athletes including weight-lifters and runners. Check out some popular circuits online or join a local fitness class to see for yourself!