fitness in a flash

Shape Up! Lean Out With Circuit Training!

JOEL1Well, here we are in our post-holiday winter workout season! It’s time to get back to the gym and burn off all that extra weight we gained over the holiday season (even if your boyfriend says you look cute with a little pudge in your cheeks). 

All of us guys want to get lean for spring and keep size in our muscles. It is a fairly common belief that one has to do a lot of cardio in order to stay lean. Although cardio training is good for heart health and burning calories, excessive cardio can hinder muscle growth and even eat away at those muscles you’ve worked so hard on to get big (yes, haha, i said hard-on). This is especially true if you’re on a low carb/low calorie diet, as you might be in order to get leaner. 

Another way to get a good calorie burn while strength training, without feeling like a hamster on a wheel while you run on a treadmill or sit on a stationary bike, is circuit training!  Circuit training actually puts your body in a state that, if you do it earlier in the day, keeps your body burning calories at a higher rate for the rest of the day, than if you simply just did a session of cardio.

In a circuit, we put three or more exercises together and rotate through them without much rest in between each exercise. Pick three muscle groups; let’s say legs, chest, and biceps. You’ll do about 15 reps of each exercise, to target muscular endurance of each muscle, with no more that 10 seconds rest in between each exercise. Let’s say you start with a leg exercise like a squat and go into some pushups for the chest, followed by a bicep curl with a bar. While you are doing the pushups and bicep curls, your legs are resting from the squat. This is called “active rest.” Once you’ve finished the circuit, rest for about one minute and begin again, completing the cycle a total of two to four times.  This long period of time under tension with little rest is sure to get your heart rate up and give you a good sweat, burning plenty of calories, no stair climber required!

Here is an example of a circuit training routine (with equipment that any gym will likely have) that will hit all the major muscle groups, as well as some of the “show off” muscles like biceps and triceps that we want other guys to be checking out on us!  Most importantly, it’s going to work out that big, sweet heart of yours!

Circuit 1: 

A)  Dumbbell deep squat with shoulder press

B)   Bench dumbbell chest fly

C)  Dumbbell hammer bicep curl

Circuit 2: 

A)  Alternating leg box step up (use a bar behind the neck to weight yourself)

B)  Cable wide-grip lat pulldown

C)  Cable tricep pushdown with a rope cable attachment

Circuit 3: 

A)  Push ups

B)  Bent over one-arm row (on bench)

C)  Shoulder abductions (side raises)

Since you’re leaning out with all this circuit training, you’re going to be able to see better definition in your abs! Finish with a 10-minute ab routine including crunches, leg raises, and side planks. A great app that you can get on iTunes is called Six Pack Promise. It has tons of ab exercises and even routines to lead you through your ab workout. 

Feel free to play around with your circuits and pair different muscle groups together, or even add a fourth exercise into your sets!  Anything is possible and it’s important to switch things up on your muscles for gains in strength and endurance. Happy leaning out, boys, I’ll see you at the pool this spring!

The Phoenix Effecta metabolic bootcamp that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at Mansion Fitness, 7914 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.