It is the number one excuse given for not exercising – “I just don’t have time”. Whether it is due to long work hours, family commitments, a busy social life, or all of the above, no one seems to feel like they have enough time in each day. If you, like everyone else are feeling time poor and as a result are neglecting your fitness, circuit training could be the answer.
Circuit training is picking several exercises and performing one set of each of the exercises in succession. Then repeating another set of each exercise until the chosen number of circuits have been completed.
Training in this way offers a time efficient workout as it involves moving from one exercise to the next without a break, instead of performing simple sets where you do one set, rest for a minute and repeat the same exercise up to 3 times (and rest 3 more times) before moving onto a different exercise. This literally halves your exercise time by removing idle gym time.
The exercises you include in the circuit affect how hard you work out. Choosing multi-joint movements like squats, will work you harder in a shorter amount of time, compared to exercises that only use one muscle group, such as bicep curls. In order to keep moving through the burn, you could follow an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise, then another upper body exercise followed by an abdominal exercise. This offers muscles recovery time without you actually taking time out of the workout to rest.
Create an even more challenging and time efficient session by choosing 4 exercises that involve your whole body, such as clean and press or burpees. Circuit 3 sets of 20 reps of each exercise without stopping. Essentially all the muscles in your body will be working continually, in different ways, improving overall endurance and recovery. 15 minutes of whole body exercise circuits 3 times per week will get you great results.
Circuit training also allows you to achieve an intense workout without having to lift heavy weights or exercise for hours. If your main goal isn’t to increase muscle, you may not want to keep pushing up the amount of resistance you lift. If you are already feeling time poor you definitely don’t want to continually increase the number of sets and end up spending more and more time in the gym. With circuit training you can achieve an intense workout with a moderate weight by performing higher reps and moving quickly between sets. This way your only rest time is the time it takes to transition between exercises.
The combined effect of whole body exercises, moderate weight, high reps and minimal rest, is a workout that gets your heart and lungs pumping and your muscles burning. You get fitter and stronger, all in the same time efficient session. Still not got time to circuit?