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5 Benefits of Circuit Training

woman doing step ups in a Planet Fitness 30 Minute Circuit area
Fitness seekers of all levels can appreciate the multiple 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.