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How to Properly Rest from Your Workout

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Rest days are an essential part of training. While they may seem like you’re slacking and make you worry that you won’t build strength or increase speed or lose weight, time off allows your body and mind to fully recover and grow. (Find a variety of

Think about how you feel after a poor night’s rest: Your cognitive skills are fuzzy and your body starts to fall into a catabolic (breaking down) state, which can skyrocket stress, sap muscle strength, and cause mood shifts.

The same fatigue happens on the body when you don’t allow it to recover from high-intensity exercise. Never taking a day off sets the body up for a breakdown. You become more susceptible to severe muscle soreness, a suppressed immune system, improper sleep, a decrease in strength and performance, and injury. Rest days also benefit your mind: Scheduling a mandatory break from training will help you get excited to jump back into your program.

How Often Should I Rest?

If you are starting out with a new exercise program or are a beginner exerciser, rest every third day (that is, exercise two consecutive days and rest the third). More experienced exercisers should remain inactive or take an active recovery day once a week. In addition, every eight weeks include a week where you de-train, or decrease your training load.

RELATED: The Active Recovery Workout

What Constitutes “Rest”?

How inactive you are on your rest day depends on the intensity of your workouts leading up to it. For example, if you are killing it in the gym day in and day out, your rest day should be a day completely off from taxing your body. You might go for a casual walk at most, but no great effort to do more physical work than necessary should be made (read: no gym!). However, if your workouts have been light to moderate intensity all week or you’re a beginner exerciser, you can take a more active recovery day. That might include playing a sport outside, taking a yoga class, or going for a longer walk.

During your de-training week every eight weeks, decrease the intensity on your training load and incorporate more stretches into your program.

And don’t forget that any activity you do on your rest day should also help your mind take a break. Whether that’s yoga, a walk in the park, or taking the dog out with your spouse, do whatever clears your head and stops you from thinking about counting reps or reaching your goal. You’ll be ready to get back in the gym once you’ve had your time off.

The Body You Want: 5 Reasons to Take Group Fitness Classes

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While groups can influence us to do the worst things (remember high school?), they can also influence us to be our best. This is especially true when it comes to getting in shape. Group fitness classes are having a moment and they are hotter than ever. But you shouldn’t take group fitness classes because they’re trendy, you should take them because they are a very effective way to change your body. Here are five reasons why group fitness classes get you in shape.

1. Classes are cheaper than a trainer

Are you that guy on who streams Netflix from your iPad while running on the treadmill? Do you not wipe off the weight bench because you haven’t worked up a sweat? Does your post workout protein consist of the cheese on your pizza? Then you are probably the kind of guy who desperately needs a personal trainer to really achieve any sort of fitness goal. But trainers don’t come cheap. In fact, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a personal trainer costs somewhere between $50-$100 an hour. So, group fitness classes are a way more affordable alternative.

Many gyms like Equinox and Crunch are even known for offering top-notch classes. So, don’t be afraid to pick up a schedule next time you check in at the front desk. Or you can sign up for ClassPass, which costs between $79-$125 per month depending on what city you live in. ClassPass offers access to unlimited group fitness classes from a network of boutique studios, replacing the need for a regular gym.

2. You’ll have better form, fewer injuries, and a more effective workout

Having good form cannot be stressed enough because it makes your workout more effective. One of the benefits of having an instructor is that they will demonstrate proper form and correct yours, if need be. Remember, it is in the best interest of the instructor that no one gets hurt.

3. Groups help you stay motivated

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First of all, you’re less likely to slack off when you are with a group of people. But perhaps even more so, classes can bring out your competitive side. After all, if the guy next to you can do 20 reps, so can you. Spin studios such as FlyWheel even encourage friendly competition by displaying real time stats on a class leaderboard.

4. Group fitness is designed to be fun

You know what it’s like to work out on your own. You try to use a machine like the elliptical while staring at CNN on a small screen or watching Dancing With The Stars on mute. That’s no fun. When you take a class, it is actually part of the instructor’s job to make exercise fun. Whether it’s with a great playlist, a funny story, or a larger than life persona, group fitness instructors want to keep you entertained almost as much as they want to work your body. It’s also their goal to help you meet your goals. A fun, positive experience will keep you coming back for more.

5. It’s easier to mix it up

When your body gets used to particular exercises, it’s simply not as challenged as it once was and your results will ultimately plateau. In order to keep achieving your fitness goals, you have to mix it up. Group fitness makes this a snap. If you want a new challenge, all you have to do is sign up for a different class. If you don’t find your muscles are as toned with spinning as you would like them to be, why not try TRX? Is your current routine leaving you sore? Throw in some yoga. The possibilities for change and new challenges are endless.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet:

  • Want to Get in Shape? 5 Fitness Habits to Pick Up
  • 10 Bizarre Things That Happen to Your Body When You Exercise
  • Want to Lose Weight? 6 Ways NFL Players Stay in Shape

Fat-Loss Workouts: Four Circuits To Blitz Your Belly

If you want to shift your spare tyre, it’s sometimes tempting to over-complicate matters by trying to be too clever with your training. But as with most things in life, simplicity is the secret to getting real results. And that’s the case with these fat-burning circuits – a 20-minute and 15-minute barbell complex, a three-minute finisher and a 12-minute kettlebell circuit.

20-Minute Barbell Fat-Loss Workout

If you want to get the maximum fat loss impact from a barbell, you want to make the metal move. The bigger the range of motion, the more work your body is completing. That’s why the moves in this circuit will see you shifting the load from low down to high above your head. The lower-body moves start with a squat, move on to a unilateral move and finish with another squat variation. For the overhead work, you use two versions of the behind-the-neck press, which means the bar can stay on your back throughout the circuit, and then finish with a move that’s much more subtle but will hit a new muscle group (and target your grip strength too). The good news is that you get to drop the bar once you’ve finished. Well, for three minutes. Enjoy!

How to do the workout

Do the six barbell exercises in order, sticking to the reps indicated. Don’t rest until you finish all the reps of the sixth and final move of the circuit. Then rest for three minutes and repeat the circuit. Do three or four circuits in total.

1 Back squat

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, rest the bar on your back and engage your abs. Bend at the knees and hips simultaneously to lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then press back up.

2 Behind-the-neck press

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, rest the bar on your back and engage your abs. Keeping your elbows directly below the bar, press the weight overhead until your arms are locked out, then lower back to the start.

3 Lunge

Reps 5 each leg Rest 0sec

Standing with your feet just narrower than shoulder-width, rest the bar on your back and engage your abs. Take a big step forwards and bend both knees, keeping your front knee over your front foot, then push back to the start.

4 Behind-neck push press

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Start with the bar on your back. Engage your abs, then lower into a quarter squat while looking straight ahead. Drive up and press the bar straight up until your arms are locked out. Use leg drive to inject some momentum into the move.

5 Thruster

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Rest the bar on the front of your shoulders, then lower into a front squat, keeping your torso upright. Drive with your legs to straighten up, using that momentum to send the bar straight overhead until your arms are straight.

6 Shrug

Reps 6 each side Rest 3min

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, holding the barbell across the front of your thighs with your shoulder blades slightly retracted. Engage your trapezius muscles by pushing your shoulders up towards your ears. Pause at the top, then lower under control.

15-Minute Barbell Fat-Loss Workout

There isn’t one way to lose fat. You could go for a really long slow run – that would help you lose fat, but you’d lose a fair amount of time too. Or you could try aqua aerobics –that would also help you lose fat, but you’d lose a fair bit of dignity too. Our suggestion is that you should pick up a barbell and do this circuit. It starts by you putting the bar on your back and it, er, finishes pretty much the same way. In between you do five different moves that will get your heart rate up, which forces your heart and lungs to work harder. You’ll also work pretty much every muscle in your lower body and a fair few in your upper body too, which means you’ll add strength and size while you get leaner – and it’ll only take about 15 minutes. So, go ahead and give it a try. You have nothing to lose but that spare tyre.

Do the five exercises in order, sticking to the reps detailed, without resting until you finish all the reps of the fifth and final move of the circuit. Rest for two minutes, then repeat the circuit. Do three circuits in total. As you progress you can add another circuit or add weight to the bar.

1 Reverse lunge (right leg)

Reps 8 Rest 0sec

Stand up straight with the bar on your back. Take a big step backwards with your right leg until your back knee is just above the floor and your front knee is bent at 90°. Push through your front foot to return to the start.

This is a real test of co-ordination so to help keep your balance, make sure you keep your head still and your eyes looking forwards.

2 Behind-neck push press

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Hold the bar across your back with a double shoulder-width grip. Lower into a quarter squat, then push up explosively to press the weight directly overhead. Lower the bar back to the start and repeat the move without pausing.

3 Back squat

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Rest the bar on your upper back, then bend at the hips and the waist simultaneously to lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Ensure that your knees remain in line with your toes. Then press back up to the start.

If you’re struggling to go deep in the squat that’s a sign of poor hamstring flexibility. Do some mobility work and stretching to help you get deeper into the move.

4 Reverse lunge (left leg)

Reps 8 Rest 0sec

Stand up straight with the bar on your back. Take a big step backwards with your left leg until your back knee is just above the floor and your front knee is bent at 90°. Push through your front foot to return to the start.

5 Good morning

Reps 8 Rest 2min

Start with the bar on your back. Bend your knees slightly and push your backside back to hinge at the hips and lower your torso until you feel a strong stretch in your hamstrings. Then return to the start and squeeze your glutes at the top of the move.

Three-Minute Fat-Burning Circuit

Here’s the fat-burning finisher that fitness model and online PT Alex Crockford uses to get in cover star shape. The moves work your entire body, drawing on strength, power and conditioning moves that’ll make every muscle fibre twitch and keep your heart rate high enough to keep burning calories for hours after you’re done.

Set a timer for three minutes. Do all the reps of exercises 1-4, and then as many reps as possible of good-form burpees until the time is up. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the whole process for between two and four sets. Keep a tally of the total number of burpees you do. Next time around, beat it.

1 Pull-up

Reps 5

Hold the bar with an overhand grip. Retract your shoulder blades to engage the muscles in your upper back. Brace your core and pull up until your chin is over the bar. Lower under control. Struggling? Jump to the top position, then lower slowly

2 Box jump

Reps 10

Lower into a quarter squat, then explode up to jump and land on the box. Bend your legs to cushion your landing. Stand up, then step back down.

3 Barbell Thruster

Reps 15

Squat down, keeping your chest up, back straight and the weight on your heels. Drive up powerfully and press the weight overhead.

4 Kettlebell swing

Reps 20

Drive your hips forward to start the swing. As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward powerfully.

5 Burpee

Reps AMRAP

Drop to a crouch. Jump your feet back into a press-up position. Jump your feet forwards again, drive up and jump. Pro tip: Breathe in on the way down and out as you jump back up.

12-Minute Kettlebell Fat-Loss Workout

A kettlebell offers phenomenal fat-burning options that will get your muscles moving the way they were meant to – as one, for real-world functional strength. This circuit will help you move better and look great too.

This workout couldn’t be easier to follow, takes just 12 minutes, will send your heart rate soaring, and makes your body burn away fat stores for hours after you’ve taken off your trainers.

This circuit starts with three multi-joint compound lifts to work your major muscle groups, especially your legs, glutes and core, and get your heart rate sky-high. Then come two unilateral (single-arm) moves to increase the workload on your shoulders, chest and arms with the aim of building lean muscle mass. The result? A bigger, stronger and leaner you.

Use a kettlebell that’s light enough for you to complete all reps of all moves with good form, but still heavy enough to provide a challenge. A 12kg bell is good for beginners, or 16kg if you’re more advanced. Do the five moves in order, sticking to the reps detailed. At the end of the circuit rest for 90sec, then repeat for a total of four circuits. For balanced gains, use your left arm to do the unilateral moves in circuits 1 and 3, and your right arm in circuits 2 and 4.

1 Swing

Reps 20

Drive your hips forwards to push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing. As you lower the bell, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, allowing the kettlebell to rise to head height.

2 Goblet squat

Reps 20

Using both hands, hold the kettlebell by its handle in front of your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in close to your body. Keep your chest up as you lower into a squat, keeping your knees wide. Drive up to stand.

3 Alternating lunge with chest press

Reps 10 each side

Hold the bell by its handle close to your chest and take a big stride forwards into a lunge. Lower your back knee until it’s just off the floor and, as you do so, press the bell forwards so that your arms end up parallel with the floor. Reverse the move to the start. Alternate legs.

4 Clean and press

Reps 10

With the bell in one hand, swing it in a similar way as with the two-arm swing but as it passes eye level on the way up, draw your elbow into your body, bend your legs and “catch” the weight on the top of your forearm at shoulder height. Now drive up and punch the bell overhead. Complete all the reps with one arm, then swap sides in the next circuit.

5 One-arm swing

Reps 10

After the last clean and press, continue into the one-arm swing, driving your hips forwards to generate the momentum to raise the bell to eye level. Again, do all the reps with one arm then swap sides for the next circuit.

1. The HIIT circuit

A HIIT circuit simply means any group of exercises that get your heart rate working at maximum capacity for an intense period, followed by a period of rest. To really get your metabolism boosted and the fat loss process going, try this super intense circuit. Do each exercise one after another and then follow that by a one minute break. Do this 3 times for beginners, 5 for intermediate gym goers and 6 for fitness freaks.

  • 10 x Burpees
  • 30 seconds Mountain climbers
  • 30 seconds ball slams
  • 15 x jumping squats

2. The leg circuit

The legs are the biggest muscle group, with the glutes and the legs containing the biggest muscles in the body. Training them regularly is great for fitness as they burn more calories per pound than any other muscle, which makes them great for a weight loss. Not only will you build your leg strength and tone up, you’ll also burn a lot of calories which is what weight loss is all about. Repeat each exercise one after the other and follow by a minute break. Repeat 5 times.

  • 15 x lunges
  • 15 x squats
  • 15 x jumping lunges
  • 15 x jumping squats
  • 15 x donkey kick backs

3. The all rounder

This circuit is perfect for people who want to do a bit of everything. It also works really well when completed after cardio, as it doesn’t attack one muscle group in particular which varies the muscle fatigue and allows you to keep pushing yourself. Do 1 minute off each exercise followed by a minute off for regular gym goers and 30 seconds of each exercise followed by a minute off for beginners. After completing the set take 2 minutes off and repeat 3 times.

  • Sit ups x 20
  • Lunges x 10
  • Russian twists x 20
  • Squats x 10
  • Superman’s x 10
  • Kettlebell swings x 10
  • Shoulder press x 15

4. The ab circuit

If you’re losing weight properly (that is by eating a healthy diet and exercising more) then you’ll soon see your muscles becoming more prominent as you lose fat and grow muscle. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing abs appear, and the good news is – everyone has them!

Often they’re just nestled under a layer of fat which can be easily lost with a good diet and exercise regime. To build up your ab muscles, try this circuit which combines abs drills with high intensity bursts which speeds metabolism and increases fat burn. Repeat each exercise consecutively and then take a minute break, repeat this 3 times.

  • Sit ups x 20
  • Burpees x 10
  • Crunches x 30
  • Mountain climbers x 30 seconds
  • Plank x 30 seconds

5. The high load circuit

A high load circuit is one in which you do the exercise with the heaviest weight that you can. This is perfect for weight loss for the following reason; when you lift heavy you build muscle which burns more calories when at standstill than fat. Therefore, the more muscular you are, the more calories you’ll burn without doing a thing.

As we all know losing weight is simply about being in a calorie deficit – that is, burning more calories than you consume. So, if you want to lose weight, don’t think that cardio is your only option – a high load circuit is perfect too!

Repeat each exercise consecutively at the heaviest weight you can do it and then take a minute break, repeat this 3 times.

  • Ball slams x 15
  • Kettlebell swings x 15
  • Squat and press x 10
  • Shoulder press x 15

If you want to try out HIIT classes guided by one of our expert trainers, check out our free gym classes!

High-Load Circuit Training For Muscle Gain And Fat Loss

When it’s obvious you work out, friends—and even strangers—don’t miss an opportunity to ask for advice. The most common questions I hear are: “How do I gain muscle?” and “How can I lose fat?”

Often, both questions come in the same breath.

More than one road leads to Rome—there are multiple ways to arrive at your destination, which in this case is to build muscle and get cut.

So let’s take a look at one of my favorite ways to achieve both.

Train For Two Objectives

While the goals of building muscle and getting cut may appear unrelated, they’re actually intertwined. Gaining muscle mass is all about training methods that affect the hormonal system, particularly testosterone and growth hormone, the body’s two main anabolic (muscle-building) hormones.

The training methods that have been shown to increase testosterone levels in the body are those that:

  • Use a large degree of muscle mass
  • Are loaded heavily (above 85 percent of one-rep maximum)
  • Use multiple sets and exercises to achieve a high workout training volume
  • Follow short rest intervals of less than one minute1

Multiple sets with short rest intervals that elevate lactate levels also increase growth hormone release.

Gaining muscle mass is all about training methods that affect the hormonal system, particularly testosterone and growth hormone, the body’s two main anabolic (muscle-building) hormones.

While affecting the hormonal system is the main goal of training to increase muscle mass, affecting the metabolic rate is the focus of exercise for fat loss. The largest contributor to daily energy expenditure is your resting metabolic rate, and the only contributor to resting metabolic rate that you can control is your body composition. Increasing muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate.

I told you these two goals were interconnected!

While manipulating your resting metabolic rate has the greatest effect on caloric expenditure, exercise that temporarily increases your metabolism can aid in fat loss as well. This acute change has two aspects. One is the increase in metabolism during exercise. The other is the elevation in energy expenditure after exercise needed to return your body to its resting state, which is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. The greater the intensity of your workout, the greater the increase in metabolism both during and after exercise.

One method in particular can be used to increase hormonal production and metabolism during and after exercise: high-load circuit training. It may sound like a sign on a chain link fence surrounding a power plant, but it involves three variables that are conducive to gains in muscle mass and the loss of fat mass: multiple exercises, high loads, and short rest intervals.

Let me explain how to best design a high-load circuit, and then I’ll give a few examples that I like to use.

1. Exercise Selection

I have two rules for selecting exercises for this type of training. First, they have to be large multijoint mass movements, as this increases testosterone release while requiring a greater energy expenditure to perform.

Second, always choose the simplest version of a movement. This is a fast-paced workout that incites muscle fatigue, so any exercise that requires a lot of technical skill and form is less than ideal here.

Think squat jumps instead of Olympic lifts, trap bar deadlifts instead of traditional ones, and goblet squats as opposed to barbell squats. Save the technical lifts for lifting days with dedicated rest periods.

2. Number Of Exercises

Beginners should start with 3-5 different movements, and progress to as many as 8. Logistics can play a part in determining how many different exercises you do; don’t be that person in the gym who takes it over with no regard for anyone else. Train during your gym’s off-hours if necessary.

3. Exercise Split

For a greater increase of in-session metabolism, I prefer using full-body training sessions. Nonetheless, these methods can easily be split into upper and lower body or other body parts such as quads, back and arms one session and glutes, hamstrings, chest and shoulders the next.

Goblet Squat

4. Number Of Reps And Load

In my experience, doing 3-6 reps is the sweet spot for this type of training. As this is done in a circuit fashion with incomplete rest, you’ll be unable to perform the same loads as during traditional lifting sessions.

So instead of choosing your 6RM (that is, a weight that’s about 80 percent of your one-rep max), I suggest subtracting an extra 5-10 percent, so you’d instead be doing 70-75 percent of your 1RM.

That equates to choosing a weight you can do for about 10 reps, but again do only 5. Be somewhat conservative: You can always increase the load.

5. Number Of Sets And Rest Intervals

Here’s where things get fun. Just like the number of reps, 3-6 sets is the best range of volume for this training method. If you like your workouts paced like clockwork, take 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise. Alternatively, wear a heart-rate monitor and rest until your heart reaches the anaerobic threshold (if you know it) or down to approximately a 150-160 beats. Or, with workouts that switch body areas, just push through the circuit, resting only as needed.

If you like your workouts paced like clockwork, take 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise.

This brings me to another approach to prescribing the number of sets. High-load circuit training can be applied to what are called “escalating density workouts.” These sessions are performed for time as opposed to an established number of sets. You simply perform as much as you can within the timeframe (thus increasing the density of the workout), resting when needed.

For high-load circuit training, I usually time my sets between 8-15 minutes, depending on the number of exercises (more exercises equals more time).

6. Frequency

These training variables are great at expending energy and increasing anabolic hormone release. However, the catabolic hormone cortisol is also increased as a result of large muscle mass and high-intensity, low-rest interval training. While these elevated levels of cortisol are essential in the short term for muscle gain and tissue repair, chronically high levels will decrease protein synthesis and lead to decreased immune function. In other words, say goodbye to muscle mass and hello to illness.

Exercise caution with this style of exercise. I suggest 1-2 of these workouts per week with 1-2 other traditional lifting days, and the other days filled with lower-intensity training.

Two High-Load Circuits

1. Traditional Weight Circuit

  • Try and do all six exercises as a circuit, resting no more than 30 seconds between exercises. If that’s not possible, try and do all the exercises with dumbbells or kettlebells in a small area.
  • Choose a weight that’s about 75 percent of your max weight, or the weight you can just do for 10 reps (your 10RM), but do only five reps.
  • Repeat the circuit a total of five times.
  • With underhand-grip chin-ups, add weight or use an assisted machine as needed.
  • For the push-ups, use a weighted vest or have a partner place a plate or two across your back.
  • The suspension row is usually done with TRX straps or rings, but could alternately be done as a bent-over barbell row. The TRX movement is not done with an added load.

Traditional Weight Circuit 1 1 set, 5 reps+ 6 more exercises

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  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you’re doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

2. The Big Tuna Circuit

(Named after the most demanding coach I ever played for.)

  • Perform as many rounds in 12 minutes as possible, rest five minutes, and repeat for another 12 minutes. Use a kettlebell or dumbbells.
  • Select a weight that’s 60-70 percent of your 1RM. Do just six reps.
  • Do the exercises in a circuit, resting 30 seconds between movements.

Big Tuna Circuit 1 Weighted Jump Squat Perform with barbell or kettlebells. 1 set, 6 reps + 6 more exercises

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don’t risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you’re doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Calories Burned – Exercise Calculator

Results

  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Sports
  • Gym
  • Dancing

How Accurate is the Calories Burned Calculator?

This calculator uses the latest figures from the Compendium of Physical Activities – a publication from the Arizona State University.

Each activity has a MET (metabolic equivalent of task) that attempts to measure the energy cost of activities. These METs are then applied against your base metabolic rate at rest.

Not an exact science….

It is far from an exact science as these amounts are derived from a large sample of people (and are therefore an average).

The main issue is body composition (see the body fat calculator for more). Calorie expenditure will vary depending on the ratio of body fat to muscle or lean mass.

NOTE that as our bodies adapt to exercise and our body composition changes – so will the amount of Calories burned.

As time goes on, body sensors and devices are proliferating (such as smartphone accelerometers, fitness bands, et al). However, accuracy is not assured with these – but the technology continues to improve.

What Does This Mean For Fat Loss?

Exercise requires energy, and this energy is measured using Calories (or more accurately, kilocalories). Considering 1 pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 Calories – you can see that it takes a lot of exercise to burn fat.

In addition to this, the source for energy may come from either fat or muscle glycogen. As the body adapts to each exercise, it becomes more efficient in its use of Calories – therefore burning less!

The amount of muscle also has an impact on Calories burned. Because muscle is metabolically active – more muscle means more Calories being burned. This explains why strength training is such a good fat loss exercise.

Tips to Burn More Calories

  • Target Heart Rate Calculator– You burn the most calories at your target heart rate.
  • Advanced Fat Loss Sample Workout– Aggressive workout for maximum fat loss and muscle toning.

5 Benefits of Circuit Training

by Autumn Jones

Fitness seekers of all levels can appreciate the multiple benefits of circuit training. This workout style allows you to achieve big results even when you’re short on time. Circuits are designed with your whole body in mind and often consist of 10 strength machines and 10 cardio-step stations, each with 60-second exercises. Since you only have small increments of rest between reps and station changes, you can maximize both strength training and cardio in a single workout.

One of the most appealing benefits of circuit training is that it’s fun and engaging. It’s difficult to become bored when you’re moving from one exercise to the next, which also makes it easy to stay focused. Formats like the PF 30-Minute Express Circuit at Planet Fitness keep training simple with a green light/red light system, which prompts you to start and stop at each station. Once you decide where you’d like to start in the circuit, you go in sequence with the circuit’s stations until your 30 minutes is complete.

If the speed and ease of circuit training isn’t enough to convince you to give it a try, consider these five perks of this workout style.

1. It Boosts Your Metabolism

Your body can definitely feel the metabolic burn within a humble 30 minutes of circuit training. Switching between intervals of weights and cardio — with short rests in between — activates your metabolism to burn calories in just one circuit training session.

According to Harvard Medical School, you can burn 240 calories in a half-hour of general circuit training if you weigh 125 pounds; 298 calories if you weigh 155 pounds; and 355 calories if you weigh 185 pounds. And you even get a bonus round since your body will continue to torch calories at a faster rate throughout the day.

2. It Helps You Hit Your Target Heart Rate

If getting your heart rate up to a certain level during a workout is a priority for you, you’ll love accomplishing this in just 30 minutes. One of the benefits of circuit training is that you can hit your target heart rate in a short period of time. With this exercise format, you can get your heart pumping at the desired rate much faster than if you were walking on the treadmill for the same amount of time.

3. It’s Fit for Beginners

Working through a circuit is accessible for anyone and it’s a great place for gym newbies to start. Since there are no surprises with circuit training, beginners know exactly what to expect. Each step is planned for you, so all you have to do is follow along at your own level. No more fretting over creating a workout or deciding what machines to use.

4. You Can Do It Anywhere

Being able to take your workout on the road is one of the most convenient benefits of circuit training. Once you’ve become comfortable with a routine, you never have to miss a workout when traveling. Even if you don’t have access to a gym when you travel, you can modify your circuit to be done in your hotel room or even outdoors. With so many flexible options, you can design a workout to meet your needs anywhere you go.

5. It Works Every Muscle Group

As Shape points out, circuit training works all of your muscle groups — from your core to your glutes and everything in between. Each station is designed so that, when combined as part of a circuit, so you are engaging your whole body in the 30-minute timeframe. This means you’ll finish your workout feeling stronger all over.

Circuit training saves you time while offering a full body workout that’s packed full of benefits. Adding a circuit to your exercise schedule (one to three times a week) can keep your mind and body engaged, and have you looking forward to your next gym session.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.

Weight circuit training workouts

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