Finding an Efficient Work Out: Work Smarter, Not Harder, with Circuit Training

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Okay,  you’re ready to work it out.  We now know that we need to combine cardio, strength training, and stretching to make our exercise program effective.  But what kind of exercise are you going to do?  I used to run around 30 minutes before I hit the iron and lift some weights, targeting specific areas in the upper and lower body, for another 1 hour.  Then some core exercise before cooling down and stretch.  All in all, two hours in the gym for a complete workout.  This routine,  however, was not sustainable.  I simply couldn’t spend too much time doing boring reps and countless sets of lifting dumbbells and pulling at machines.  Then I stumbled upon circuit training and I was hooked.

What is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a total boy workout combining cardio and strength exercises.  It consists of multiple exercises on various target areas in a row with little rest in between exercises.  Usually, one set of every different type of exercise is performed before returning to an exercise for the second time.  Thus, the term circuit training.

Circuit Training Benefits

  1. It burns more calories, burning even after the workout is finished.  A typical circuit can burn around 30 percent more calories than a typical strength training workout.  In certain cases, it can burn around 500 calories in 30 minutes.  How’s that for efficiency?  Circuit training is a type of interval training. Interval training is a great way to increase the body’s ability to burn calories when it is at rest. The exerciser’s heart rate goes up very high, returns to a lower, but still elevated, state, and then goes up very high again. At no point during circuit training does the heart rate return to its resting rate. Circuit training, and interval training overall, increases the amount of oxygen that a person consumes post exercise, and therefore, increases the number of calories that a person burns throughout the day.
  2. It offers more cardio benefits.  Separate cardiovascular training is not necessary.
  3. It maximizes total exercise volume completed in a period of time.  Exercises are completed in a row, and therefore, the time spent exercising is condensed.


Due to the lack of rest that circuit training demands, exercisers maintain elevated heart rates for the entire period of exercise. The combination of weight training and increased cardiovascular effort makes circuit training a beneficial type of cross training. The exerciser gains muscle through the resistance training and  increases  cardiovascular endurance during the slightly elevated heart rate that is maintained in between sets and throughout the overall program.  All good ingredients for weight loss.

For a busy working mom, this program is the way to go.  I am so glad that our office gym offers circuit training class 2x a week.

Picture courtesy of


4 thoughts on “Finding an Efficient Work Out: Work Smarter, Not Harder, with Circuit Training

  1. Pingback: Self Practice: How to Do Circuit Training | mygreenjuice

  2. Pingback: How to Measure and Monitor Your Weight-Loss Progress: Fat vs. Muscles | mygreenjuice

  3. Pingback: Why Busy Executives Should Make Time to Exercise | My Green Juice

  4. Pingback: Work Smart: Doing More with Circuit Training | My Green Juice

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