Circuit Training... what's the big deal?
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
I. Hate. Cardio.
I do. It's the truth. As a former collegiate basketball player (and ball is life, in general), running was our punishment for not doing something right. Why would I want to do this if I didn't have to? Or, *gulp* for fun (unless it's on the beaches of San Diego, could do that all day). No disrespect to those who love running, there's a place for you at FitKinect as well. But still...it turns out I'm not the only one that feels this way.
When you think of workouts that "crazy" people do, like Crossfit, boxing and other boutique gyms, they are centered around doing multiple workouts in succession with minimal rest in between...aka circuit training. The bottom line is that circuit training enables you to kill two birds with one stone by keeping your heart rate and muscle oxygen demand at a level that continuously places demand on your lungs to deliver more oxygen, and thus improve circulation and respiratory efficiency. This demand for oxygen is a result of the demand for energy. This demand for energy (ATP in science talk) is achieved by breaking down your energy stores to provide for it. This is how you lose weight. This is usually the goal many people have in mind when they decide to run. Of course some just like the "runners high" and other parts of the running routine, that's different. I myself did get into it for a little bit, but that faded. I found circuit training to be much more efficient, effective and, in my opinion, fun. For more of the science around this, keep reading...
Studies have shown that circuit training (commonly referred to as HIIT or HIFCT for High-Intensity Functional Circuit Training) is more effective for both strength and cardiovascular performance, in a shorter amount of time! compared to traditional, volume oriented training (like running for mile on top of mile). (1) Specifically, and among other things, studies have shown circuit training to improve body composition, peak oxygen uptake, strength, and motivation to exercise more than traditional workout methods. (2,3) Yes, you read that right, working out makes you more motivated to workout. Might not happen after the very first workout when you can't feel anything but pain, but stick it out for one week and you'll find yourself happier and more motivated to challenge yourself and consistently improve your physical and mental performance. Especially if you are working out with a partner who is feeling the same. Or with a trainer. Trust me on this one. It doesn't get much better than when research supports what you already know from personal experience!
Even when doing only body-weight workouts (which I do frequently) and even in already "fit" individuals (I like to consider myself part of this cohort). HIFCT is superior. (4) Sound too good to be true? Well, this is one of the very few situations where it's not. Whether it be to improve mentally, physically or emotionally - circuit training is the best - and that's why we do it.
If you don't have a workout planned, FitKinect provides workouts that are slightly modified versions of circuit training. Organized in a way to make them more sustainable, accessible and efficient for those working out by themselves or (hopefully) with a partner!
So stop letting the obstacles to running (weather, not enjoying it, safety, poor performance, etc.) stop you from being in great cardiovascular shape. Young or old. Weights or bodyweight. Make it efficient, make it challenging, make it fun. Make it high-intensity functional circuit training. Make it a FitKinect workout.
Still not convinced? Check these out!