Cathy LeFrançois’ 6 Benefits of Circuit Training
Results from exercise and strength training take time. Typically 4 to 6 weeks of regular, consistent exercise is required to actually gain strength, stamina and start to see results in terms of dropping sizes or shedding pounds. However, you can increase your workout efficiency and expedite results with circuit training.
Professional bodybuilder and former Ms. International, Cathy LeFrançois has trained regularly for decades. Since her professional debut in 1995, Cathy has consistently modified her exercise routines and equipment to maximize results. But it wasn’t until she opened a private studio gym (Pro PowerCat Gym) in 2013, that she started to realize the benefits of circuit training.
Classes at Pro PowerCat Gym utilize full-body circuits to help members see results quickly. Cathy explains “Circuit training keeps people from talking in the gym; while at each station you’re on a timer so you must be focused… and as an added benefit you burn calories and get a cardiovascular workout while building strength.”
With circuit training, it doesn’t take long to see results. Because this type of workout asks your body to perform short bursts of intense effort, coupled with brief resting periods, your workouts are much more productive. Here are six basic benefits of circuit training and why you should try it.
What is Circuit Training?
Perhaps you’ve heard of circuit training but aren’t quite sure what it means. Simply put, circuit training is a fast-paced workout. It entails doing one exercise for several minutes and then moving on to another exercise station.
When done in an exercise class, it’s somewhat like the childhood game of musical chairs. Each participant starts out at an individual free-standing exercise station. Once the timer sounds, everyone progresses to the next station. Sometimes, these classes include stationary bikes or calisthenic activities that alternate with using weights or weight machines for strengthening muscles. In addition to classes, you can also do circuit training on your own, by timing exercises at different stations.
1. Challenges Every Part of Your Body
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably used different gym equipment in a workout session but failed to get a full body workout. However, when you use circuit training, every major and minor muscle group is targeted.
For optimal results, alternate between equipment. In other words, after using equipment that works the upper body, switch to lower-body equipment, so you hit each muscle group. Then, rest a few minutes before moving on to the next station.
2. Combines Cardio and Strength Training
You may prefer only weight training, but realize you also need cardio. On the other hand, some people would rather do cardio, while knowing they need to add weight training into their workouts. The good news is that with circuit training, you can get both cardio and strength training.
3. Burns More Calories and Promotes Weight Loss
A huge perk of circuit training is that it increases your metabolism, which can lead to burning more calories and weight loss. Your metabolism is significantly boosted because you’re lifting heavy weights and doing HIIT (high-intensity interval training). What’s more, it gives an afterburn effect, which is how many calories you continue to burn once you’ve finished your workout.
4. Offers Optimal Results in Less Time
Do you struggle to fit exercise into your busy schedule? Then, start doing circuit training as it provides maximum results in a shorter amount of time. Consider how you can include as few or as many stations as you prefer. Even if you only have 15 minutes to exercise, you still get a total-body workout.
5. Adds Interest to Workouts
When you keep doing the same workouts over and over, it’s easy to get bored, so you stop working out. Furthermore, repeating the same movement or exercise can result in a fitness plateau. This is a condition in which the body has grown accustomed to the same exercise, so it stops being effective. Thus, weight loss slows down or can even stop.
6. Less Chance of Injury
Another benefit of circuit training is that it’s an effective way to manage existing injuries, and prevent new ones. This is because circuit training involves doing different movements. Also, you can trade a certain movement that may worsen your injury for another one that’s safer as well as more comfortable.
Considerations and Warnings
- If you’re a beginner, start simple by selecting the easiest version of a movement.
- Since circuit training is fast-paced, it can easily cause muscle fatigue. Therefore, don’t choose exercises requiring advanced technical skills that can make you become discouraged and quit.
- If you’re a beginner, start slowly. For example, begin by doing three to five different movements. Once you feel more confidence, bump it up to as many as eight.
- Use variety when choosing equipment. In other words, there are a wide range of exercise combinations you can do by mixing up equipment, such as kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells and others.
- To make your workout more challenging and effective, have minimal rest time, combined with maximum effort and more exercises.
- Record your results, such as documenting workout time, the reps you’ve achieve, along with the type of exercises and resistances that were used.
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