In recent years, a new type of training methodology has come into vogue. Popularized by celebrities, Navy SEALs, YouTube exercise gurus and even fitness centers, high intensity circuit training to burn fat is seen as the new way to workout.
A few franchises have even sprung up offering circuit training routines such as Crossfit, but the principles are the same no matter who is teaching or coaching.
You will need a basic level of fitness to attempt these formats, but no special skill is required. But, your big question is does circuit training really help with weight loss? Let’s find out!
Circuit Training Methods
Circuit training has been used for years by weight lifters to create cycles of repetitions that allow one to break down and then build muscle fiber. Each circuit becomes more difficult as muscle energy is depleted, but that is where the real workout takes hold.
Typically, circuits are performed with a great deal of rest between sets of repetitions, to allow maximum effort and muscle growth. Different parts of the body are isolated on alternate days for overall fitness. However, the cardiovascular and fat burning effects can be limited.
So, let’s look at the intensity circuit training that does burn fat.
Maximum Intensity Circuits for Fat Burning
Using these principles, the new workout regimes have been designed, but with modifications. The goal is fat burning and stamina rather than sheer strength, and to that end the rest between exercises is limited to around one minute.
Also, the entire workout can be completed in 30-40 minutes, which can seem like a long time when there is limited recovery for the muscles being worked. The types of exercises can vary, using weights or kettle bells, core training apparatus, medicine ballsand floor mats.
A short warm up on a treadmill is a good idea, and then you can launch into the program and maintain a very high heart rate throughout the workout. This combination with the muscular work to create a high intensity experience creates noticeable effects.
Leg exercises are especially important since they are the largest muscles and can work the hardest, pumping more blood and taking the entire system to another level of fatigue.
If the goal is to have nice abs or lose weight, working your leg muscles are the key to achieving this, along with other muscle specific exercises for tone and definition.
This video shows how you can do a great 20 minute circuit training program you can even do a home.
Assisting the Metabolism
In addition to the obvious strength and stamina benefits, the high intensity circuits provide a boost to the overall metabolism that can last for many hours. What this means is that the body is burning more calories than normal.
The big bonus for you is that the fat burning process continues on long after the workout is finished. So, you would get a double effect for weight loss, and you wouldn’t have to spend hours at the gym or on a treadmill. In effect, the body’s engine is tuned to run at a higher rate, so it will burn more fuel all of the time.
There are some who question the traditional cardiovascular exercise approach for weight loss and fat burning, since some of those exercises may not have the desired effect. The difference is that with a running or walking program, the body burns more calories only during the exercise period.
With high intensity circuits the caloric burn is increased for many hours of the day, even while the body is at rest. Combined with a good diet, results can come quickly and in some cases a shorter amount of time invested.
Have you thought about giving Circuit Training a try? What would be the main motivators for you to incorporate high intensity training into your routine? Or, are you the Crossfit or circuit training guru and have helpful pointers for those us considering this fat burning workout?