Circuit Training? = Fat loss?

Years ago the idea of circuit training was the new fad at the local Bally’s and other fitness clubs. The idea behind circuit training was that the trainee would move from machine to machine and perform one set at each station. This would result in doing exercises for every body part within the circuit. The circuit was then repeated 2-3 times. From a trainers standpoint this type of training was giving the trainee a full workout and an aerobic workout at the same time.

Some of this is true, but the reality was that the local fitness clubs make their money on memberships and the more memberships the happier they are. This results in a crowed club with little or no access to the equipment necessary for circuit training. The end result…frustrated trainees, with no answer to their frustration. Remember, the club wants to get you in and out as quickly as possible. Spend some money on a few sessions with our trainer, s/he will give you one of our cookie cutter workouts and see ya! Oh yeah…but remember to come back in 3 months for another $50 session with our trainer, for another cookie cutter workout.

The fact is that because we are all different, what works for me may not work for you. Cookie cutter workouts are the downfall of the newbie trainee and the revenue stream of the club owner. The trainee spends hard earned money for a session with a trainer and the trainer treats him or her like every other person s/he has met. The trainee becomes discouraged with the lack of results and feeling lost is the very confusing world of fitness. The result…another membership that is paid for, but never used. This is the perfect result for the club owner, revenue and no body to take up the floor space.

Let’s not forget that trainers within the clubs are not likely to create workouts that would require that you use equipment that is not available in the club. This means a cookie cutter workout is all that will be available.

I think it is clear that I don’t believe in machines for true fitness progress. Machines have been developed by people for years to make jobs easier. Working out is not supposed to be easy. Therefore in my logic, using machines to workout is cheating yourself. (Now I realize that you have to work with what you have, but let’s just say I prefer free weights to machines).

With that in mind, let’s get back to Circuit training. Circuit training does not have to be performed using machines only. In fact, it is rather easy to create a nice circuit for yourself using free weights. If you workout in a club you may actually find it easier to get to the free weights than it is to get to the Cybex machines.

The general idea of circuit training remains the same with free weights. The idea is to increase aerobic activity while still stimulating the muscles. This means that circuit training is not used for bulking up. Circuit training will help to maintain some strength and assist in weight loss. Circuit training will not help you to gain 10lbs of lean mass. Circuit training is a great substitute for those that really do not like to do aerobic exercises for fat loss. Ghile it can never completely replace aerobic exercise circuit training can have some of the same benefits.

Remember that the idea is to keep your heart rate up. This means constant movement. Therefore you need to consider all the equipment you will need for each set of the circuit before beginning. This will allow you to move quickly from one exercise to another.

The Workout

The workout is designed to help you shed some body fat while maintaining your current muscle mass. This is a difficult task. This workout is based on three days a week, as this may work better for those attempting to lose some fat. I suggest that you do aerobic exercise on off days or at the end of your workout if time permits.. You should perform 10-15 minutes of warm-up aerobic activity. (Break a sweat) The workout is designed to move quickly through the exercises. No rest (or minimal 10 seconds) between sets. You will need to reduce the amount of weight you normally use, as your muscles will tire quickly. I suggest for the first week you attempt to get through by repeating the exercises twice. If that is too easy, then move to three times for each session and graduate to four times. If you are successful at meeting all the reps within four sets then it is time to up your weight.

(Note: Yes, I know there are some exercises that require machines.)

Barbell Curls  1 x 12-15 Use a short barbell
Pull Ups  1 x 10- 12
Crunches  1 x 10-15
Dumbbell Curls  1 x 12-15 do not alternate arms
One Arm Rows  1 x 12- 15
Crunches  1 x 10-15
Concentration Curls  1 x 12-15
Lat Pulldowns  1 x 12-15
Crunches  1 x 10-15


Bench Press   1 x 12- 15
Overhead Extensions   1 x 12- 15
Front Raises  1 x 12- 15
Incline Dumbbell Press  1 x 12- 15
Push downs  1 x 12- 15
Lateral Raises  1 x 12- 15
Incline Bench Flyes  1 x 12- 15
Triceps Kickback  1 x 12- 15
Rear Lateral Raises  1 x 12- 15


Squats (w/dumbbells if necessary)  1 x 15- 20
Leg Curls (cybex)  1 x 12- 15
Calf Raises (dumbbells)  1 x 12- 15 per leg
Slight Incline Sit-ups  1 x 15- 10
Lunges  1 x 12- 15 per leg
Leg Press  1 x 12- 15
Seated calf Raises (cybex)  1 x 12- 15
Bicycle Crunches  1 x 15- 10


Feel free to let me know what you think.

Good Luck!

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