It is time to dissolve the stereotypes of cardio as ONLY a girls workout and strength training as ONLY a guys workout. Let’s be active advocates for change. Male or female, anyone can take part. So what is the answer to this full-fledged dilemma? Circuit Training.
Let us examine the evidence: As a man, how many times have you been on the elliptical or treadmill and felt belittled or self-conscious by the gazes of your testosterone-filled peers? Or, even more showing, avoided the cardio section of the gym altogether? And as a woman, how many times have you glanced over at the weights area and made a sharp detour to the bikes, ellipticals and treadmills? I know I have been guilty of this one myself in the past.
Despite these discrepancies of the fitness world, the motto “get fit” has become ever more popularized in recent years. Popular media has expanded its normalization of a ‘fit’, ‘toned’, and ‘shapely’ body for both men and women. So then how, despite the popularity of being toned and in shape for both genders, have certain methods to do so been limited to one party or the other. Well, lovers of both strength exercises and aerobic exercises, and all others in between, we are going to popularize the circuit as our fight back to “The Man/Woman”.
It is not a matter of strength training vs cardio anymore; it is now a matter of strength and cardio together and finding the right balance between them for ones individual wants and needs. You do not have to go on the treadmill for a few mile run and then squeeze in some time on the weight machines to get your cardio and strength workout in, for you can get both in with a circuit training routine. It is all a matter of knowing how and being open to something new. Going to the gym for a quick workout does not have to be a cardio machine vs lifting weights decision.
As discussed in the first post, a cardio workout is physical exercise that gets your heart rate up above its resting rate and in turn strengthens your cardiovascular system. The goal of a strength workout is to tear and rebuild muscle to increase muscular strength and definition. With a strength training circuit, you can do both. This is how:
High intensity, resistance-based workouts increase muscle strength and endurance. Performing such exercises back to back at high reps and low rest periods, turns it into a circuit. A circuit of exercises turns into an aerobic activity where one’s muscles and cardiovascular system are both being strengthened by the activity. This type of workout is helpful to those who have a limited amount of time to workout in because you are able to exert full energy and power and get results in as short as a 10 minute period of time.
Here is an example of a circuit, but keep in mind there are MANY exercises that can be used in a circuit with a machine, without a machine, with weights, and without weights.
Full-body Circuit example:
-Bench Press 3 sets, 10 reps each
-Seated Curls 3 sets, 10-12 reps each
-Rows 3 sets, 10-15 reps each
-Burpees 3 sets, 10 reps each
-Leg Lifts 2 sets, 10-15 reps each
-Sit Ups (On ground, Bosu ball, or with Machine) 3 sets, 10-15 reps each
-Squats (can be weighted or unweighted) 3 sets, 10-15 reps each
-Walking Lunges (can be weighted or unweighted 2 sets, 10-15 reps each
-Calf Raises (can be weighted or unweighted 3 sets, 10-15 reps each
Do these back to back with short rest intervals between each set (on average no more than 10 seconds) and even shorter rest intervals between reps.
*Circuits are best for the goal of a healthy lifestyle and fitness, not for body mass building. The number of sets and reps an individual can do will vary, do not push yourself past exhaustion, and always start slow when trying a new workout routine.
Bottom line, you do not have to always chose between cardio and strength training, and circuits are one example of a way to work the whole body both aerobically and anaerobically.
Posted By: Jennifer
Live, Laugh, Love Your Body