If you’re looking to change up your workout in the gym or are just looking for a new way to burn calories and connect with friends, circuit training may be for you. This type of workout combines cardio and strength training for an effective workout.
Most circuit training sessions last less than 30 minutes, which is why many people ditch their 1-2 hour sessions in the traditional weight room.
When done right, you can see dramatic results with circuit training in about half the time you would normally spend exercising.
In reality, circuit training is so effective that, depending on your weight and exercise intensity, you will burn approximately 11.4 calories per minute, or 684 calories per hour.
Circuit Training Calories Burned Calculator
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Calories burned in group fitness classes (Weight: 175 lbs)
This article will discuss everything you need to know about circuit training and how to do this type of exercise with maximum efficiency.
How the calculator works
Our calculator uses MET values to give you an accurate estimate of how many calories you can expect to burn during circuit training and other activities. The higher the MET value, the more calories you will burn.
What is the MET?
The Task Metabolic Equivalent (or MET values) allows us to give you an estimate of how much energy you are expending on many different activities, such as circuit training.
The MET value is the difference between the working metabolic rate and the resting metabolic rate which is the rate of energy used versus the duration of time spent in activities such as circuit workouts.
So a MET value of 1 equals the amount of energy you expend at rest, and a MET value of 7 means you expend 7 times as much energy as at rest.
Almost every activity you can think of has MET values assigned to them. Some activities with MET values are common and some are less common. For example, MET values are assigned to activities like hockey, martial arts, and even rest!
Most activities have varying intensity levels and are assigned different MET values, but circuit training has a single MET value of 7.2.
The formula this calculator uses to determine the number of calories burned per minute is (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200.
A 200 pound person will burn approximately 684 calories per hour through circuit training. This activity has a MET of 7.2, which means it burns more than seven times more calories than at rest.
Here is what the formula for calculating calories burned with circuit training will look like for a 200 pound individual at a MET value of 7.2.
Calories burned (per minute) = (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200
Calories burned (per minute) = (90.7 x 7.2 x 3.5) ÷ 200
Calories burned (per minute) = 11.4 calories ×60
Calories burned (per hour) = 684 calories per hour
What is Circuit Training?
Circuit training involves participants rotating to different “stations” which contain a collection of different exercises. Each station can have one or more exercises to do. The time spent at each station is low, usually only 1-2 minutes.
Each station tends to target different muscle groups, giving you a full body workout in a fraction of the time it would take with a normal workout. If you are looking for a quick and effective workout, you should give it a try.
The circuits generally consist of 8 to 10 different exercises which can vary according to the participants. For example, a high school football team might do circuit training as part of their speed and agility weightlifting program.
Older people can take part in a circuit training class that emphasizes cardiovascular fitness and increasing heart rate. Whatever the goal of circuit training, you can expect to burn a lot of calories.
Benefits of circuit training
Circuit training is so popular because of the myriad of benefits it provides. Below are some of the main benefits you will find if you do regular circuit training the right way:
Although circuit training is done in short bursts of energy at each station, you will find that you will be able to do these and other exercises for long periods of time at the same or increased intensity.
Circuit training involves using your slow-twitch muscle fibers to help maintain the high number of reps for each exercise. Once you develop slow twitch muscle fibers, circuit training will become easier and you won’t be as tired as when you started.
Full body workout
Instead of isolating your training each day into lower and upper body divisions, circuit training targets your whole body with the variety of different exercises that are involved.
As you move from station to station, you usually switch to targeting a different muscle group. For example, the first station you do might be crunches and the next might be pull-ups. You first target your core with crunches, then your upper body with pull-ups.
Circuit training also gives you the best value for money, which means it’s the most effective way to get a full body workout in a short amount of time.
Increases strength and promotes muscle growth
As long as you do circuit exercises that effectively target your muscles, you can expect to gain muscle and increase your overall strength.
In order to promote muscle growth, you should lift moderate to heavy weights for high repetitions. With circuit training, your muscles are under constant tension, which stimulates muscle growth and helps build stronger, bigger muscles over time.
Perfect for all fitness levels
Are you new to exercise and looking for the best way to burn calories without putting too much stress on your body? Or maybe you are an experienced weightlifter looking to change up your daily routine.
No matter your fitness level or goals at the gym, circuit training is a great way to get an intense workout without spending hours in the gym. You can usually set up your own stations or join a class where an instructor leads the circuit training.
Circuit training exercises
Circuit training is so effective because you can do just about any exercise at each station as long as they meet the general criteria for circuit training. You can customize circuit workouts to make sure they target a certain part of the body or work the whole body.
Burpees are one of the most common exercises done during circuit training because they’re a great way to get your heart rate up and sweat fast. Burpees are very easy to do and they are also a staple in many HIIT workouts.
The benefits of doing burpees as part of your circuit training include the ability to put on muscle and increase your strength in other compound lifts like squats and deadlifts. You can also expect to lose weight by doing burpees, as they are a great way to burn calories.
For more information on how to do burpees correctly, click here.
Diamond pushups are very similar to regular pushups, but with an added twist that makes them harder.
With a diamond push-up, you’re still in the normal push-up position, but you bring your hands together so that your index fingers and thumbs are touching, forming a diamond shape right in front of you.
You should do as many diamond push-ups as possible during your circuit training at this station. If the regular diamond push-up is too difficult, you should do a modified diamond push-up with your knees on the floor to make sure you’re still working your triceps and upper body.
Bike crunches are an effective way to get a good core workout and are a great option to incorporate into your circuit routine. This type of crunch is similar to a standard crunch but involves bringing your elbows to almost touch your knees as you perform the exercise.
Click here for more information on how to do the bike crunch the right way.
If you are a current or former athlete, you may have done circuit training as part of your strength and conditioning program with other members of your team or class. It also might not have been the best experience when someone else is forcing you to.
However, being able to customize your own circuit training sessions and do the exercises you want to do makes circuit training a fun and challenging way to train.
Use this calculator to get an idea of how many calories you can expect to burn during circuit training, and be sure to check out all the other calculators we offer at Fitness Volt!
Jetté, M., Sidney, K., & Blümchen, G. (1990). Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription and functional capacity assessment. Clinical Cardiology, 13(8), 555–565. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.4960130809