Circuit Training For Fat Loss

By Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN

Let’s get it off our chests: traditional methods of steady-state cardio are down right boring. You want to burn fat and boost your metabolism, but you don’t want to lose your mind when doing so. A great alternative to the standard hamster-wheel cardio routine is circuit training. Circuit training for fat loss allows you to work every muscle group, while building strength and boosting your metabolism.

Understanding circuit training
When referencing circuit training, I don’t mean take out your gym-issued clipboard and moved through each cable machine on the yellow brick road paved by your gym owner.  Machines sort of take away the purpose of training because they do not require you to utilize your muscle stabilizers by actually making the exercise easier for you to perform.

A good circuit-training program involves use of free weights and high intensity intervals that work to improve your cardiovascular endurance and muscular development. Remember that every person is uniquely designed, as should be your training program. What works for one person, may not work for you.  So, when setting up your circuit-training program, it is best to experiment a little at first to really understand what your body needs.

Circuit training basics
You have two goals when setting up a circuit-training program: fat loss and muscle mass. Whether you want to increase your muscle mass (highly recommended) or maintain your current muscle, it is not an easy task when trying to burn fat.

The key it to perform full body workouts 3 days a week for 1 hour or less. This allows your body adequate time to rest between workouts. Rest is essentially because it allows your body to repair damaged muscle fibers and grow new muscle on top of repaired fibers.

Here are your circuit training essentials:

  • Perform 10 minutes of warm-up activity including dynamic stretches, light cardio, and functional movements
  • Work each muscle group in every workout by using complex and compound movements
  • Rest minimally, between sets, less than 10 seconds
  • Determine a your number of sets and reps, along with how many times you will complete your circuit, before you begin your workout

When beginning a circuit program, you are best to attempt the full circuit twice in one workout. You can determine your endurance and move on from there. If it is too easy, up the circuit to 3 your next workout.

Exercises for circuit training
You want to use a variety of compound and complex movements to stimulate more than one joint at a time. Olympic lifts and bodyweight exercises work really well in circuits. Here are some exercises to use when building your training circuit to burn fat and build muscle:

  • Pull ups, push ups, and chin dips
  • Presses, snatches, cleans, and jerks
  • Deadlifts, lunges, and squats
  • Rows and lateral raises
  • Abdominal exercises including Russian twists, handing knee raises, planks, and sprinter sit ups

START BURNING FAT LIKE AN ATHLETE TODAY!

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