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Gym Fitness

Circuit Training 101

Published: 3/24/15

Are you looking for a way to amp up your workout? Circuit training may be the answer. There are many benefits of circuit training – it brings excitement, energy, and RESULTS. Best of all, you don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to do it. Even those who are just beginning their fitness quest can reap the benefits. Circuit training is a fun, challenging way to push your body and get fit.

Circuit Training Defined

Circuit training typically involves 8 to 10 exercise stations. Each station has a different exercise and you get little or no rest as you move from station to station. Circuit training can involve muscular strength, cardio, endurance, or a combination. The stations can include machine exercises, floor exercises, and weights and can last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. One circuit is usually completed within 30 to 60 minutes. Some people will do two or even more circuits in a session.

Circuit Training Advantages

One of the most common complaints that people have about working out (and a very common reason they abandon their fitness routine) is boredom. Circuit training keeps things interesting because it is so fast paced and you don’t stay at one station long enough to get bored. It is flexible, creative, and fun. Most of all, though, it really boosts your muscular and cardiovascular fitness. If you are looking to lose weight, this is an awesome way to do it. It is very effective at getting the weight off.
This type of workout is also very flexible, allowing you to mix and match your exercises. You can switch up the different stations to suit your fitness needs or mood. It is a great way to meet your fitness goals in a way that is fun and really works.

Cicuit Training at Home

You can set up your various stations outside or inside or both. Turn your stairs into a cardio station by walking or running up and down them. Jog in place or jump rope on your patio. Incorporate your home exercise equipment into the session. Create strength stations by doing pushups, lunges, or planks which use your own body weight for resistance. Bands, dumbbells, and Kettlebells are also great tools to use at stations. A fitness ball is also great to include because it can be used in so many different ways. If you need more ideas for stations you can find a circuit training DVD.

Circuit Training at the Gym

The gym is one of the best places to do circuit training. See if your gym offers classes. If you are new to this type of training you will find it especially beneficial, but even if you are experienced it is still good to work with a trainer and exercise in a structured environment. Some gyms even have a special section of machines and stations exclusively for circuit training. However, you can create your own circuit even if your gym does not offer classes. A certified personal trainer can help you set up a circuit that will best help you meet your fitness goals. Keep in mind that peak gym hours may not be the best time to do circuit training because other people will be using the equipment. It may work better for you if you go during times when the gym is not as busy.

Crank Up Your Workout

If you are looking to turn up the heat on your circuit training workout, there are some things you can do to push and challenge yourself more.

  • Increase the intensity – If you feel that you aren’t being pushed enough during your strength sets, try increasing the weight or resistance. Alternatively, you can change to a more intense exercise that works the same muscle group. If your cardio isn’t challenging, try adding another aerobic exercise or speed it up.
  • Decrease the time intervals – If your cardio intervals are now 3 minutes, try cutting them by 30 seconds or 1 minute. This will cause you to move through the circuit faster which means that you hit more stations during the session in the same timeframe.
  • Do the circuit backwards – If you always do your circuit the same way, in the same direction, switch things up a bit. Start at the other end or move some stations around. This will challenge both your brain and body in a new, exciting way.