Circuit training is a high intensity workout where resistance exercises are performed one after another with little to no rest in between. While the amount of muscle mass one can build will largely be impacted by nutrition and training parameters, circuit training can definitely contribute to increases in muscle mass.
Building muscle through circuit training requires two variables: heavy weight and increased calorie consumption. Because circuit training is such a high intensity workout which incorporates a lot of cardiovascular and aerobic-focused exercises, the amount of calories you torch throughout both the class itself and even after class has finished, is very high. So if you want to gain muscle, this means it’s critical that you increase your daily caloric intake accordingly. To gain one pound of muscle mass per week, we recommend increasing your daily caloric intake by 1,000 a week.
You will also need to make sure you’re using moderate-to-heavy weights throughout class. Unless of course you are a beginner who has done little to no weight training before, in which case, we recommend starting on the smaller weights and working your way up from there.
Circuit training sometimes involves using the body and natural body weight as a form of weight and resistance training; however it also uses a range of different exercise equipment including treadmills, medicine balls, resistance bands, hand weights, battling ropes, kettle bells, steps and more. The result is a workout that is always fresh and exciting, and taxes your muscular strength, endurance and your cardiorespiratory system, all at once.
If your goal is to gain large amounts of muscle mass, your gain may be smaller with Circuit Training than what you can obtain from a program using standard weight training. However both types of exercise offer plenty of benefits, which is likely why they’ve both stood the test of time as countless fitness fads come and go. The comparison between weight lifting and circuit training isn’t really a one-to-one battle; both are broad categories and both will increase your muscle mass in different ways.
Keep in mind that circuit training benefits can vary more widely than the benefits of weight lifting, thanks to the huge variety of exercises that your trainer might choose to include in your circuit. If you want to build big, big muscle mass, then stick to traditional weight lifting. However if you want to build muscle mass, whilst burning fat, gaining a more lean and toned body and boosting your cardiovascular fitness, then circuit training is for you!
At Kaya, we recommend practicing circuit training twice to three times a week. This is because circuit training is a form of exercise which targets all muscle groups, which means rest days are essential regardless of what type of workout plan you’re following.
When we exercise, we create tiny tears in our muscles, and taking a rest allows them to rebuild and recover. Taking at least a couple of rest days in between each workout is essential for getting the most you can out of your exercise regime. You can still do some light physical activity on these days, but keep it fairly mild, like stretching, light yoga or walking.
The benefits of circuit training doesn’t just stop at an increase in muscle mass. Circuit training will also improve your cardiovascular fitness, your muscular strength, your muscular endurance, your body composition, your metabolism speed and your respiratory system, whilst also reducing your risk of injury and preventing disease.