As a former personal trainer and a fitness enthusiast, people are always asking me how they can get in shape and drop pounds quickly with limited time. The first thing I say is that nothing is “that simple”. Anything worth having, like great health and a better physique, comes with dedication, time and hard work.
I have seen, studied and tried several different styles of exercise. Running, weight lifting, popular classes such as Zumba and hot yoga – the list goes on. Every style of exercise certainly has its benefits and appeals to a certain crowd. When it comes to a good, all round fitness program that incorporates activating most muscle groups and includes cardio and weights, I am partial to circuit training.
What Exactly Is Circuit Training?
Circuit training is a form of exercise that incorporates both your cardio and your weight training into one workout. There are several different stations set up where you spend anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes at each station and switch to the next with short or no rest periods. Your goal is to get your heart rate up and maintain it at the optimal rate for fat burning throughout the entire session. Just like any other exercise program, you will want to leave time for a warm up and cool down period. It’s important to not skip these parts of your workout in order to avoid injury and to allow your heart rate to slowly come back down. Circuit training can seem very intense for some but the good thing is you don’t have to do it for as long as many other forms of exercise. You can easily start with 15 minutes and work your way up to 45 minutes. Then tag your warm up and cool down time outside of that.
What Are The Benefits Of Circuit Training?
There are many great benefits to circuit training. It’s incredibly effective, combines both your cardio and weight training in one and allows you to keep your heart rate going at the optimal rate. It’s also a form of exercise that will keep you engaged; therefor, you will never be bored!
Circuit training can be done most anywhere. It can be done at the gym or from the comfort of your own home or backyard. You can combine the use of smaller and inexpensive equipment such as resistance bands, jump ropes, steppers, dumbbells, kettle balls or use simple calisthenics. Set up several stations, alternating between intense cardio and strength training exercises. Plan your workout in advance so you aren’t spending time trying to figure out what to do next thus allowing your heart rate to go back down. Set a timer in between each station and go!
What If You Are Just Starting Out?
If you are newer to fitness, you want to be sure you are cleared by a doctor for intense exercise. Then, start out with 30 second exercise intervals with 15 to 30 second rest periods in between each. One of the great things about this form of exercise is that you can tailor it to meet your specific needs, likes and dislikes. Remember, it may seem hard at first but if you stick with it, you will find it’s a very effective and efficient way to get you great results!