We all want the best of both worlds, and we want it all now. We…
Paul Revelia has made another good video on YouTube here, on circuit training vs normal training. Circuit training is essentially mixing strength training with a little cardiovascular work. When I say normal training, I mean just strength training without the cardio mixed in during the rest times. The goal with circuit training is often (not always) to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
However, I’ve written before about how this may not be the best idea, particularly if you’ve been training for longer than a year.
Paul weighed up the pros and cons of circuit training. There are definitely some strong benefits for Men Over 40 who happen to be very busy. He mentions that this could be worth looking into if you are short for time, and that circuit training can be a useful time management tool.
As long as you realise that it isn’t necessarily going to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, you’ll be good to go. Just make sure you’re in a calorie deficit and realise that you don’t need huge training volumes in order to maintain your muscle on a cut.
His specific benefits of circuit training were:
- If you need both weights and cardio in the same session, it can be a life-saver. It will keep your heart rate up and you get a bit of everything.
- If you need to get in and get out, this will get the job done quickly.
Again, as long as you have realistic expectations in the sense that you’re not going to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time unless you’re a noob, then you should be fine. However, in Paul’s words:
- You are surviving the workout rather than thriving in the workout – meaning you’re not really getting quality strength work in, or quality cardio in for that matter. You get a bit of everything, but most definitely not the best of everything.
- Focusing on one goal at a time rather than trying to get good at everything at the same time will get you to your goal faster, and you willbe able to achieve greater things at that particular endeavour. Whether that is strength, muscle mass, or cardiovascular fitness (and race times).
It all comes back to goal-setting 101 and prioritisation. One goal at a time will get you there faster, and if it’s a strength goal for example, you will get stronger than you ever possibly could have done if you were doing circuit training. End of story.
It’s up to you and it depends on your goals. If you have very ambitious goals in any particular area, you would be wise to focus on one goal at a time, and not try to be the jack of all trades. If, for example, you want to surpass the 1000 pound club by a long way, you don’t want to be doing circuit training. If you want to get very lean, I would not be focusing on circuit training. You need quality muscle maintenance training whilst in a deficit.
However, if you have more moderate goals and you’re incredibly short for time, then circuit training may well be a valid option for you. You can still make good progress with fat loss (if you have a lot to lose) and make some progress with strength and muscle (if you’re fairly new to strength training).