Lose Weight & Get in Shape with Circuit Training


by Nick Mistretta

When it comes to toning up and losing weight, there are a number of strategies you can employ. You can change your diet and eat more whole foods. You can consume foods especially talented at burning fat. You can choose a good cardio program. And you can (wait for it) build some muscle with circuit training.

Muscle burns more calories than fat. Having muscle increases your resting metabolic rate, which allows you to burn more fat and calories while your body is at rest. While this is certainly true, the numbers won’t stagger you. But every little bit helps. An extra 10 pounds of muscle burns somewhere around 50-60 extra calories a day. And while this may not seem like a lot, over the course of time it will add up. Much the same way the weight gain did.

What is Circuit Training

Circuit training involves performing resistance exercises back to back with no rest in between. Let’s say you’ve got 7 exercises that you’re going to do. You’ll complete all seven in succession with no rest, followed by a 1-2 minute rest period at the end. This constitutes one circuit. After the rest period, begin again. Do three circuits or more in total.

Because you’re moving through the exercises without rest, you’re also getting a fantastic cardio workout. Circuit training is the perfect combination of weight training, cardio and endurance exercise.

There are a lot of equipment options for circuit training. You can use machines at the gym, though performing a circuit requiring several machines while others are exercising can be a challenge. You can use dumbbells or other free weights, which I prefer. There are also resistance bands, which are nice in that they are extremely portable. Or you can simply use your body weight and perform exercises like push ups, dips, squats and chin ups.

Why Circuit Training

Think of circuit training as High Intensity Interval Training with weights. Meaning you’ll work harder and burn more calories in a shorter period of time. The upside is there’s no time to get bored. The downside? Maximum intensity will be required. But this is the key to any exercise routine.

By combining a high intensity cardio workout with a high intensity resistance workout, you’ll burn more calories during your workout and also during the hours following it. There is an afterburn effect that happens after intense exercise in which you continue burning calories for hours after your workout. But remember, the key is your level of intensity.

Circuit training works your heart by improving cardio endurance. So you will receive the same benefits as you do from any goood cardio program. Your strength and muscular endurance will also improve. And as I mentioned earlier, this will promote a little more fat burning even while you’re at rest.

Minimum time required. Perhaps this is the greatest benefit of all. You can easily complete a challenging circuit training session in 20-30 minutes. If you do two of these whole body workouts per week, your investment is under an hour.

Read the rest here: http://naturalhealthpub.com/lose-more-fat-with-circuit-training-2013-04-13/

Best Cardio for Fat Loss


From Natural Health

My girlfriend accuses me of being too efficient. As if that’s a bad thing. I work fast. I get things done and move on to better things. I don’t want to linger over tasks. I want them behind me. Which is why I’m all googly-eyed over High Intensity Interval Training.

I’ve got a few rules I like to follow concerning exercise. First off, get it done in 20 minutes or less. Whether I’m doing my morning yoga or resistance training or cardio, 20 minutes. No more. Secondly, in order to accomplish this, workouts need to be super intense. Which is nice because the time goes by faster. (Surprising considering the pain involved at times.) And third, and most important, the benefit has to be great.

You can go to the gym. You can crawl onto a treadmill. And you can jog and watch TV all the livelong day. But you’re not accomplishing anything. Other than fooling yourself into thinking you’re exercising. And watching a bit of TV.

HIIT: A Better Way

Let’s start with the benefits. HIIT, known more recently as Peak Fitness or Sprint 8, promotes fat loss/burning by increasing your resting metabolic rate and lowering your insulin resistance. Which means you’ll be burning calories long after your workout has finished, compared with other types of cardio. And not just calories. You’ll burn that hard to lose fat.

HIIT engages your super-fast muscle fibers. You have three types total: slow, fast and super-fast. Traditional cardio employs the slow fibers. Which in case you’re wondering, does little to nothing for your health. However, by stepping up the intensity, a lot I will admit, you can engage your super-fast muscle fibers, which may just be your personal fountain of youth.

The most amazing benefit of HIIT is the release of HGH that it promotes. Human Growth Hormone production declines after the age of 30, and it does so at a pretty fast rate. HGH is responsible for your energy levels, youthfulness, vitality. It is an anti-aging miracle worker. And the only way to get this benefit from a cardio program is to perform high intensity interval exercises.

The How

You can adjust this however you like, but here’s the way I do it. Warm up on the bike or treadmill for 2-3 minutes. Then alternate between an all-out 30 second sprint at maximum effort, followed by a 90 second period of low intensity or rest. You do 8 of these “sprints” then another 2-3 minutes to cool down. And you’re done. If you’re just beginning a cardio program, perhaps you’ll want to do fewer sprints and more warm up. Or decrease the length of each sprint if need be.

The beautiful thing about HIIT is that it’s tailored to your fitness level. Whether you’re super fit or not fit at all, everyone can benefit from this and improve their cardio endurance. The key is your level of intensity. If you’re a beginner, take it slow if you need to, but once your cardio fitness begins to improve, you’ll need to bring that intensity more and more and with each and every sprint.