Ask Alfonso: What Is A Metabolic Circuit?
I’m really confused. I’ve read so many articles about circuit training, intervals, HIIT training, muscle confusion and metabolic circuits?
My friend did a metabolic circuit while I was using P90X and he looks much better than I do. He lost more fat and looks like he gained more muscle.
Can you explain what exactly a metabolic circuit is?
Thanks for the question.
All of those styles of workouts you described are really just intervals of one sort or another. And these terms get thrown around quite a bit in the fitness industry.
Since you’ve asked about metabolic circuits I’ll give you some tips. But first let me say that just because you think your buddy achieved better results using this style versus P90x doesn’t mean it’s a better system. There are other variables to consider like age, diet and genetics.
Ok so here’s what metabolic circuit training is – you ready – here it comes – it’s four weight training exercises performed in sequence for 10 reps! That’s it. You then wait 60 seconds and repeat the circuit, but this time you only perform 9 reps for each exercise. Rest another 60 seconds and then hit the circuit again for 8 reps. Get it? Usually people will alternate between upper and lower body / big and small muscle groups so as to not get too tired too fast. And as you get fitter you simply start with a higher rep count than 10, as this basically equals the number of sets you’ll be doing. It’s a fairly straightforward plan and is quite hard.
This type of training is really popular because it’s simple to follow and uses just four exercises. But it’s really nothing more than weight circuit training where you just drop a rep with each set. Sure it’s a good workout and I’ve tried it myself. The structure takes the guesswork out of the workout and you should be sweating and breathing heavily by the time you’re 2 sets in. But really any of the styles that you mention are great including Tabata workout where you exercise for 20 seconds on followed by 10 seconds off for just 4 minutes – it’s killer.
The common factor within most of the popular exercise programs is that they’re blended, meaning they combine a strength component with cardiovascular conditioning. This is what I’ve been preaching forever. I usually always perform a combination of weights and aerobics in the same session to get the most bang out of my time in the gym. Plus I believe this way of training really improves endurance, conditioning and stamina.
To be honest you can put your own workout together and get great results too. Simply pick at least 3, no more than 6, exercises and perform them in a circuit for either a set time or a set number of reps. Then choose your rest period and do it again. I usually perform 2 circuits of the same grouping before moving on to the next series of exercises. Depending on how much time you have, you can get in 3 or even 4 sets of circuits and when you’re done you’ll know you had a great workout.
So Kurt feel free to give a Metabolic Circuit a try and tell me what your results are. I’d love to hear how you do.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
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