Does it accomplish both Strength & Cardio Training, at once?
Guests at our NY resort at a station during our circuit class.
In the past few years, the concept of the ‘circuit workout’ has resurfaced in many clubs, and is actually the ONLY option offered in certain franchised gyms. Is this type of workout effective? Is it for you?
A circuit involves a workout designed for a specific set of machines that are all arranged in close proximity, and that each focus on a different muscle group. The group circuit class has gained popularity the past couple of years mostly due to its user-friendly nature. The fact that the workout takes no longer that 30 minutes, and the fact that the resistance choices are somehow pre-set (whether by the trainer or by the machine itself), causes it to attract a large market: all of those people who are pressed for time.
A traditional workout regime typically involves three components–cardio training, strength training, and flexibility training. The total time for even a trimmed-down routine would add up to about four and a half hours per week. The circuit workout promises the same results in about one and a half hours per week. This reduction of time makes the circuit routine very attractive to a busy individual. The question is: which workout is right for you? The fitness staff at Shane’s weight loss camps will help you find out based on the criteria below.
The circuit workout claims to be both a cardio and strength training routine, all at once. The promise of receiving a cardiovascular workout while going through the circuit is based on the fact that there are no 60 second “resting” breaks for muscle recovery, as there are in a traditional strength training workout; this requirement claims to cause enough constant movement of the client to produce an elevated heart rate that equals one produced by a traditional cardio activity. The question then is, are most clients actually in the ‘training zone’ while performing the circuit, thereby enabling them to kill two birds with one stone? The answer to that is directly related to the fitness level of the client.
A person just starting or re-starting a fitness routine will benefit the most from a circuit type of workout. This statement is true for two reasons. Firstly, the beginner is not yet conditioned to a high level of cardio work, so pushing that client through a circuit with no breaks would most likely cause that person’s heart rate to go above 120 beats per minute, putting them in the training zone. A beginner would very likely feel challenged in the lower end of the cardio training zone, which typically range from 120 to 156 beats per minute. Secondly, the unconditioned muscles of a beginner will be quite challenged from a one-set strength training routine on each machine, as long as the resistance choices are appropriate.
The type of client least likely to yield cardio benefits from a 30 minute circuit workout is the aerobically-conditioned person. Someone who usually does between three and five 45 minute workouts per week, and feels comfortable when the heart rate is in the upper end of the training zone, is not going to feel aerobically challenged in a circuit.
In addition, the person who’s used to doing a challenging two or three set strength training routine will not feel equally challenged by the one set routines that most circuits offer.
On the positive side, the benefits of a circuit workout for a starter or re-starter client are incredible. The circuit provides a solid conditioning base for strength-training, and at the same time, it does cause a beginner’s heart rate to push into the cardio training zone. Providing the circuit ends with stretching, in a mere 30 minutes, the beginner can accomplish a complete workout. The wonderful aspect of this is that if the beginner does establish the habit of exercising on a consistent basis, then the circuit has provided the perfect foundation for the next step: a more challenging, intermediate program.
A Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts, we find out what workout program is safe and best for your body. Any movement is better than no movement at all, but at Shane we strive to give you the biggest calorie burn for your buck and make it fun at the same time. The most important factor is to stay consistent and make it part of your routine.