Thursday, March 3, 2011

Burn Baby Burn.

It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of circuit training. Some of you have asked why that is, and so I thought I'd delve a little deeper into the WHY factory here.

1. Circuit training is efficient.
We are busy. Not everyone has hours and hours a day to go workout, and most of you don't want to spend hours everyday working out anyways. Because circuit training combines resistance training with cardiovascular exercise, you are killing two birds with one stone.You'll get an intense fat burning workout in without spending your whole day doing it. 

2. You burn a TON of calories. 
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the basis behind circuit workouts. Increasing your heart rate by pushing yourself to work as hard as possible, and then allowing for active recovery time while you continue your workout, means you are maximizing your calorie burn. The harder you work the more calories your burn in a shorter period of time. Because nobody can go 100% full force in their workout for an extremely lengthy period of time, alternating pushing yourself to the max with active recovery gives you the opportunity to work at higher intensities and not feel like you are going to die. "WINNING!" (Jk...did anyone see the Charlie Sheen interviews? What an idiot...)

3. You won't want to take a nap mid-workout.
Interval training is a heck of a lot more exciting and fun than boring steady-state workouts.You'll be surprised at how much quicker your workout goes by because your mind is occupied, and you are constantly changing things up. It is an awesome way to beat exercise boredom!

4. You will burn more fat. 
The whole "fat burning zone" theory is not worth your time. I'll tell you that right now. Read HERE for more info on why you should stop believing that myth ASAP. The best way to burn fat is to MOVE, push yourself, work hard, burn calories...circuit train! Your body has an order in which it burns the fuel it uses to keep you going. First your body will burn available glucose, next stored fat, and if necessary the body will result to protein. High intensity exercise will quickly burn up that glucose, meaning you will dip into your stored fat quicker. If you have recently consumed a high amount of carbohydrates, your body will burn those readily available glycogen stores first. It is for this reason that those who are seeking to lose weight and burn more fat should decrease their carbohydrate intake and increase their protein intake. Having less readily available carbohydrates (glucose stores) promotes fat as the body's fuel source. Make sense?

5. You will achieve an afterburn effect.
I receive a lot of questions about this concept. The basic principle of the afterburn is that once you've finished your workout the body continues to burn calories at an accelerated rate to help the body return back to it's pre-exercising state, in other words, your metabolism stays revved. This afterburn increases with the intensity of the workout. To see a real effect here you have to be working at an intense effort, about 75% of your max heart rate. This reason being, if you are working at a high intensity for your workout you will be using up most, if not all of your glycogen storage. Once you are done exercising, and your glycogen stores are depleted your body still needs a fuel source to recover your body back to your pre-exercising state, which means it will turn to your fat stores.

Some added suggestions...
- Increase the amount of weight you are using. If you want to get an afterburn, you'll need to reach that 75% MHR, which means you need to push yourself. Don't be afraid of bulking won't.
- Push yourself. Not just in the amount of weight you're using, but in your speed in your reps, in all that you're doing. Don't be afraid to get in a good workout.
- Try not to let that heart rate drop back down to resisting. Keep your workout consistently difficult if possible.
- Keep increasing your difficulty. The great thing about circuit workouts is you should never really feel like you've mastered them. You can always increase your intensity, your weight, the length of your workout, etc.

Circuits can be a great form of cross training, and a great way to get some resistance training in if you are one who doesn't love it so much...Click HERE for some circuit workouts to try. 
Oh, and if you haven't entered the March Madness Mix Giveaway yet DO IT!!

Also...on a totally random, unrelated note. Remember awhile back when I told you I have made cute maternity gowns for friends and family members who have had babies? Well, after many of them and many of you told me that I should open an Etsy Shop...I finally listened. My sister and I opened up Posh Mama Boutique and we have some super fun chenille baby blankets and designer hospital gowns.

So who wants to come and do circuit workouts with me? I would so much LOVE if we could all just work out together. It's just better that way. Can you imagine how much fun that would be for real?


Katy said...

Thanks so much for the info! I need ot cut back on carbs, then... I'll be trying that. :) I LOVE weight training. So much. It wakes me super happy. :)

I would totally come do circuit training with you!!

Stephanie said...

I just don't know what to DO or how MUCH weights to use when I'm alone and circuit training! Come help me!!! And then dress me when I decide to get preggers again. :)

MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

Ah I want to workout with you so bad! I need someone to push me during circuit training or I always seem to start slacking. I don't like lifting weights (they make me feel like I am going to puke) unless I am with someone else! This post was so informative and easy to understand, you are BI-WINNING! haha I hate Charlie Sheen...seriously.

Mara... said...

I would love to come workout with you!!!! These are the exact reasons I loved my boot camp training, high intensity circuts that killed me and burned tons of calories. I am still struggling with an ankle injury and I miss my boot camp workouts soooo much!!

Rochelle said...

I love working out with you! PS I won't be at boot camp on Saturday again - I have to work... :( But I will be back one day I promise!!

And my fav Charlie Sheen quote: I'm a freaking Vatican Assasin...Love it (and I probably spelled it wrong too)

Shannon said...

I would work out with you in a heartbeat!

scarves said...

Well deserved! I really enjoy your blog and am impressed by your finds. Keep it up!
Sweet memories.
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Nicole said...

So should I cut out eating toast before running? I would love to work out with you, you could share your vast amount of knowledge with me. That would be awesome!
And seriously cute clothes in your Etsy shop, I wish I knew someone pregnant to buy them for!

The Smith Clan said...

I love it that you got your ETSY shop open! So styling and adorable! Way to go! Can't wait to see you tomorrow in Arizonia! Can you handle eighty degrees?

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

ahhh, I want to come to a circuit training with you! I'm on my way. hehe.
Love the after burn.

Jody, RD said...

You know I love circuits too! In fact, I did you president's day circuit this morning ;)

Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner said...

Loved reading this post.. very informative. Let's workout together.. that would be funnn!

Jen said...

I think #4 and #5 are some of the most misunderstood things in fitness. I have tried to explain it to some friends who think they need to stay in the fat burning zone. You always have such good info!

fashionfitnessfoodie said...

You are always so full of useful information - i love it!
I pushed myself with weights yesterday after reading your post :) Thanks for motivating me!!

marathonmaiden said...

circuits are SO HARD. i'd totally do them with you...maybe then i'd do them :)

Stefanie D. said...

I would LOVE to join you!! Except I think you would kick my buns all over the place! LOL.

Rene said...

Like I said before, I want to come to Utah just so I could workout with you. Oh, and to see my daughter.
Sewing, baking, and fitness guru. Is there anything you don't do. Do you happen to make larger sized blankets? My 15 yr old would love one.

Karrissa Winward said...

You look great pregnant Megan! LOL!! :)

Allie said...

totally did circuits today. I'm a believer!

Benita said...

I love your circuits!! SO SO good. They are much more entertaining than the usual run the lift routine.