Lose More Weight with Circuit Training

28 Jul 2015

Over the past few years, I have tried every workout under the sun… yoga, pilates, strength training, running, HIIT, barre, spin, etc. I have also had personal trainers, I recently got yoga certified, and I have worked with professionals like Jillian Michaels and have gotten my butt kicked by all of them. As you can imagine, I get asked all the time which of these workouts I find to be the best and most effective. This is a great question, one which I am constantly asking myself, because nobody wants to spend time doing exercises that aren’t going to get results.

I usually recommend that you do as many different exercises as possible so that your body is constantly being challenged in new ways.  This can be expensive though, and can be difficult to keep up with. So I started doing some research, and found that the most cost- and time-effective way to push your body is through circuit training. This article is going to discuss the reasons why you will lose more weight with circuit training than with cardio or other types of strength training, so that you can decide if this exercise type seems like a good fit for you.

First, what is circuit training? As you’ll see in the workout I’ve included below, circuit training is a series of exercises (usually strength/resistance exercises with cardio components) done quickly back-to-back as a “circuit”, which is then repeated 2 or 3 times depending on fitness level. There are NO breaks taken between each exercise, but rather you break between each circuit repetition.

Circuit training is better for building muscle and losing weight than cardio because it shocks your muscles with high-intensity strengthening movements that will firm and tone your whole body all at once.  Studies have shown that doing coordinated exercises that strengthen multiple parts of the body at once are much more effective for building muscle than targeting single muscle groups. That’s why most of the exercises included in my workout below are full body and target multiple regions, such as planks and V crunches (legs and abs).

For those of you who have as hard of a time getting back into the gym as I do, or find yourself feeling bored or uninspired by the gym, I highly recommend trying circuit training instead.  Circuits are usually short (8-10 minutes), and are only repeated 2-3 times, so you are getting an extremely effective full body workout in 30 minutes or less. The exercises are each only done for a certain length of time, so you can say goodbye to staring at the treadmill timer for an hour and not seeing any results.

Studies that have compared cardio to high intensity interval training and circuit training found that people doing shorter spurts of high intensity exercises lose more weight and burn more calories than those doing longer sets of low or medium intensity cardio. Circuit training keeps you much more active during the entire workout, whereas your body adjusts quickly to cardio and will burn less calories the more you do it. This is also because circuit training has been shown to increase your metabolic rate much more than cardio in the 24 hours after you finish your exercise. So not only are you burning more calories while training, but you continue to burn more calories after finishing your exercise.

Finally, by strengthening your muscles during your exercise routine (as opposed to doing cardio just to burn calories), you are increasing your muscle mass, which is metabolically active tissue. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be, and the more fat you will burn on a daily basis.

I put together a 10-Minute Beach Body Burn circuit for you all to try at home to get your circuit training started asap! These exercises are very self-explanatory, and will challenge your whole body with no gym needed. To start, try the circuit 2-3 times, doing each exercise for 45 seconds, and then increase overtime, either by doing each exercise for 60 seconds, by not taking breaks between circuits or by doing more repetitions of the circuits.  You will start seeing changes in your body immediately, and will be able to challenge yourself more each time!

xo Nikki

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