Peran Clemence | BSc Sports Performance & Coaching
RAW Circuits Manager
Circuit training is often mistaken by the general public as a boot camp type scenario; drill sergeants bellowing orders at their inferior recruits and exhausting each and every participant within the circuit, however this is not the case.
Circuit training has been ranked very highly in recommendation to a great workout, building muscle, burning fat etc. Although it is a brilliant social exercise experience, it is simply another advanced method of training that is needless of a personalised workout plan.
The circuit stations/exercises are previously dispersed around an indoor or outdoor facility providing a numerous selection of workouts from cardiovascular, muscular endurance and strength training using either body weight, free weights or resistance equipment.
Below highlights just five health benefits of circuit training!
#1 Cardiovascular Health
Regular cardiovascular activity can improve your body’s respiratory system as well as improve muscular function and strength.
✓ Improving your body’s respiratory system, such as your maximal aerobic capacity (VO2 Max), can increase aerobic physical fitness and allow yourself to exercise for longer or if proceeding at the same intensity it can cause less stress with regards to your breathing pattern.
✓ The heart, even though most forget, is one large condensed muscle (Cardiac muscle). The stronger the heart grows and the more powerful it becomes, the greater stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped from one beat); which therefore reduces the beats per minute, thus reducing the heart rate.
#2 Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance training is predominantly favoured by endurance athletes. This type of training typically provides energy efficiency through muscular activity for a prolonged period of time compared to movements requiring short bursts of power.
✓ Muscular endurance and aerobic exercises would favour the type lla muscle fibres; these muscle fibres manufacture and split ATP (Transportation of chemical energy) at an accelerating rate by utilising both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism producing fast, strong and rapid response muscle contractions, however they are more prone to fatigue compared to type llb fibres.
✓ Increasing the efficiency of these type lla muscle fibres will increase your body’s endurance performance.
#3 Strength Training
Strength training, if carried out correctly, can significantly improve posture, increase type llb muscle fibres resulting in an increase in power.
The type llb muscle fibres produce ATP at a much slower rate than the type lla fibres.
✓ Type llb produce ATP by anaerobic metabolism and break it down very quickly resulting in short, fast bursts of power but unfortunately creating a rapid fatigue.
However, these muscle fibres can be consistently trained and converted to type lla muscle fibres, this can be seen as a positive change by reducing the risk of fatigue.
#4 Friendly Environment
One of the major benefits of circuit training is the enjoyment of exercising with friends. Circuit training is a group exercise activity, there is no reason to be shy or attend a session alone and feel excluded from the group.
✓ If confidence is one of your weaknesses then convince a friend to attend alongside you and build an exercise companionship together. Motivation is key when trying to pursue any obstacles in life, if there is no motivation present many people will find it hard to progress,
✓ There are no other decisions to be made; the stations will be set up previous to arrival, displayed in order of the next station ahead, simply turn up and complete the circuit, this method of training could not make it any easier of the inexperienced participant’s interest.
#5 Body Composition
Through the sheer determination and exerted effort throughout circuit training sessions, positive body composition adaptations will occur. Carrying out consistent weekly exercises will surely burn a certain amount of calories per session, however the harder you push through each station within the current circuit, the more calories you will burn and the greater physical and visual benefits will follow.
✓ A common phrase that has been lingering throughout the fitness world for many years applies within any exercise carried out ever… “You get out, what you put in”.
Nutrition will also play a very large part of the body composition changes you desire, eating more calories than you burn will not benefit you positively if you are looking to lose weight.
✓ Keep track of your food, possibly create a food diary, and help yourself out by making sure you do not exceed your recommended Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or in other words, your daily maintenance calorific intake.
Take Home Message
Circuit training can be seen as beneficial from many different perspectives.
Personally I will always promote circuit training to any person who is looking to lead a healthier lifestyle.
The reasoning behind this recommendation would be:
✓ The stations are provided for you.
✓ All areas of fitness are targeted.
✓ Muscle building alongside fat burning.
✓ Stations provide an order. As a result, there is no confusion.
✓ An instructor should always be over looking for immediate help if necessary.
I hope this article has helped refine a personal decision to attend your local circuit session!