Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I can't stress Circuit Training enough!

Circuits elevate your heart rate and keep it elevated; your heart rate is soaring burning more calories than doing single exercise counterparts.

You're able to develop all the components of fitness: strength, weight loss, cardiovascular and endurance into one workout.

You actually burn very, very little fat in any one workout for weight loss; your goal should be to maximize your calorie burn in every workout.  To do this you need to include some intense exercise in your run.

Essentially you can use any cardio equipment.  We aren't all runners or able to run.  However treadmill running burns more calories per minute, 150 more calories per hour and provides better versatility to your training. 

Treadmill advantages: you can vary the incline for hill work (sometimes actual hills aren't available) and pace to design an almost unlimited number of workouts.  You can elevate the treadmill and work on lower body strength or flatten it out to develop speed and endurance.  The treadmill is ready for immediate use.  This is ideal for circuit training.  With many other types of cardio machines, you must first adjust them to your specific body type and size which will take time fiddling with the machine allowing your heart rate to slow down.  YOU DON'T WANT THAT!

What does higher intensity exercise accomplish?
  1. It burns more calories per minute than low intensity exercise.
  2. It improves your level of fitness and makes improvements in your body at the cellular level that trains you to improve the pace of your easy runs so that you begin to burn even more calories in all your workouts. 
  3. It improves your body's ability to burn fat as fuel and increases your running speed.
As your fitness level improves your running will begin to feel easier at all paces.  You should always be adjusting your pace.  By doing this you will be able to perform your easy runs at faster speeds, while maintaining a comfortable pace.

The faster speed will equal more calories burned during your easy runs.

Adjust the speed of your higher intensity runs as your fitness level increases.  If you train with a heart rate monitor you'll notice if you don't do this your burns will lessen.

There are three types of workouts you should do to maximize your fat loss:
Fat burning takes place in your muscle cells.  More muscle equals more opportunities to burn fat.

Will burn calories and fat at a much faster rate resulting in greater overall fat loss.

Will burn a lot of calories and it will make physiological changes in your body that will make you a more efficient fat burner.

Doing all three of these types of exercise in one workout (HELLO...  CIRCUITS...) on your treadmill is a faster way to complete your exercise triad, but it's also a more efficient way to maximize your ability to burn fat and keep it off.

Doing hill work and or experimenting with the incline in your circuits will accomplish a greater number of calories burned reducing your overall body fat stores and help build and sculpt the muscle in your hips, thighs and buttocks.

Adding inclines to your circuits is brutal but effective!  The motion of hill running requires you to push off powerfully behind your body.  It improves your fitness level fast.  The increase in calorie burn can be dramatic as the hill incline and speed is increased running up hill forces your leg muscles to work much harder.  This added stress on your muscles will result in increased strength, power and muscle tone.

My CIRCUIT SLAUGHTER is a good example of how this works.

If you don't belong to a gym and have minimum home weight equipment then focus on body weight exercises in-between bouts on the treadmill.

My gym thankfully doesn't enforce time spent on cardio equipment so I'm good to go for an hour or more however it's always a nice idea to mark your territory.  I tape my exercise in a plastic sleeve to the top of my treadmill; stuff a sweat towel in one of the side pockets and line up the back end of my treadmill with whatever weights I'll be incorporating into my routine.  If you're gonna get on my treadmill then you better be working out with me!


  1. all the components of fitness: strength, weight loss, cardiovascular and endurance into one workout.

    These are not all the components of Fitness. You have too many, and have missed the most commonly forgotten though equally important component.


  2. Anonymous: I have the components of fitness that foster weight loss, the reduction of body fat and muscle building in my circuit training and blog to rip body fat. My premise for writing this was to make people aware that you can combine these fitness components into one routine. There are too many people with the belief you should lose weight first and focus on cardiovascular. Any positive change is an improvement, but sometimes we hit the gym, zone out and spin our wheels and wonder why we aren’t leaving with the results we want. Your body is always adapting so we need to constantly push ourselves and vary our routines.

    I practice what I preach; it shows in my monthly pictures and tape measurements as well as my bi weekly body fat analysis. However I’d make much better progress if my nutrition was spot on, it’s not. I continue to make progressive changes so I’m good with that, for now anyway although my trainer would love to lock me in a room for 3 weeks and feed me exactly what he knows I need to really blow this fat off me!

    I will allow flexibility as that is an important fitness factor in any routine or daily living and is something I need to focus more on. If you read my post better you would have noticed I’ve already listed strength and endurance.

  3. Love this post, Danni!

    People are always looking for shortcuts and they don't want to actually work. I see so many people who are just putting in time at the gym so they can say they "go to the gym" but they aren't pushing themselves, they are just as out of shape as they were months ago.

    It always cracks me up when I hear people say things like what a young man said to me a couple days ago "I heard you aren't ever supposed to do more than 40 minutes of cardio because it doesn't do you any good after that" - after I got done laughing - I said that the people who say that have never talked to cyclists, backpackers, hikers or even swimmers.

    I always try to push my cardio at the highest level with a high heart rate - and I mix it up (my bootcamp classes are a mix of HIIT, tabata, weights & pilates/calisthenics type of exercises). I always make sure I do a long session on the stationary bike because much of what I like doing is hours and hours at a time of moving (albeit at a lower burn rate).

  4. Thanks Jenn

    There’s a fine line between too much, too little, too hard and not hard enough.

    The key is to keep it moving and the body guessing.

  5. Yep, exactly!

    Keeps from developing patterns of energy consumption. :)