Posted by: Freddy | 2009/06/11

How effective is circuit training?

I am 28 years old and training as a ballet dancer. I have flab around my mid-section which is not desirable as a ballet dancer. I have recently taken up circuit training at my gym to get the cardio workout I need, and also maintain some strength training but I am not too sure at how effective this is when compared to a cardio only and as well as a strength only training.

My average heart rate is between 150-170 bpm while I am doing the circuit and so I think I am comfortably in the fat burning zone. No one has advised me on this as I have obtained my information from many online resources.

I really would like to shake off the excess flab around my stomach so that I can get the look of a dancer, and any advice you can offer would be great. Is there anything else I should consider to lose the flab? I am following a reasonably healthy diet as well and I have realised from past experience that eating healthy is only half the effort needed for weight loss.


Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Freddy

I believe that if you focus exclusively on circuit training, it's not as effective as a specialised focus on cardio, some on weight work, and then circuit training to supplement.

If you have the time available (this is crucial, obviously), then doing three solid cardio sessions a week, two strength sessions, and a sixth day where you do maybe a circuit session is probably the most effective balance. Circuit training is effective because it's convenient and allows one to condense training, get more done in less time. So there are practical issues at play here, not just the theoretical.

In terms of fat burning, don't worry too much about that fat burning zone, it's pretty meaningless from a physiological point of view. What you need to make sure of is that your intensity is high, regardless of heart rate. Now, during a circuit session, the main objective for you is not necessarily the high heart rate, but rather the strength work on each discipline. The question is whether you are getting the most from either. I'd suggest not, and that if you could, split them for better results. Again, it comes down to time.

Finally, just a word on the diet, you're right that exercise and diet both play a role, but in this case, the diet may take on a little more importance, because you're probably not overweight, and you don't have much to lose. That's where the details start to count. So a reasonable diet, even 80% perfect, suddenly starts to be an important thing. For someone looking to go from 120 kg down to 100kg, diet is important, but they get away with small things. For you, it might be the swing factor. So I'd really look into the diet.

In terms of the cardio, I'm not sure how to suggest that you supplement your dancing training - that may take 9 or 10 hours a week, I'm not sure. If it does, then you need to be careful, and maybe look at making more of the dancing training (more high intensity work there, perhaps). That's a balance you'll have to figure out. But I'd say the intensity is probably the key to losing the last of the flab, not necessarily doing more.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.