Circuit Training Workouts to Stimulate Fat Loss & Preserve Muscle
When you're looking to maximize fat loss and increase
muscle tone & definition, full-body circuit training workouts will be very beneficial for time
efficiency and burning the highest amount of calories.
A reduced calorie intake will make it somewhat more challenging to complete a traditional high
volume weight training workout, especially with heavy loads. Therefore, overall volume has to be limited when
cutting calories, and the loads should be fairly moderate.
With circuit training workouts, you'll be training the whole body in each workout with fewer sets per muscle
group, approximately 3x a week with a day of rest between each workout. Take into account any intense cardio
activities that you're doing on non-lifting days, as this can impact the intensity & frequency of your weight
Here are 2 full-body workouts that resemble a circuit training style, allowing you to stimulate
fat loss and manage the low energy from a reduced calorie diet. Both of them do not take up a lot of time in the
gym, so if you're pressed for time, these will be quite useful.
1) Low Volume Compound Workout
If your goal is to preserve strength and muscle mass during a cutting cycle, the following workout will allow
you to maintain especially during a lower carbohydrate diet.
When consuming lower carbs, you may want to avoid depleting glycogen from your muscles in order to maintain
decent muscle volume and "pump". Of course, low carbs will leave your muscles feeling a bit flat so
using a lower workout volume(sets & reps) won't exhaust them too much.
By using lower rep ranges and moderately heavy loads, you should be able to preserve most of your strength and
lean muscle, even while cutting calories dramatically. Perform each of the following workouts atleast once a week,
about 2-3 days apart:
Low Volume Workout 1:
Squats: 2 sets of 5-6 reps
Bench Press: 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Rows: 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Upright Rows: 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Ab Bicycles: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Low Volume Workout 2:
Deadlifts: 2 sets of 5-6 reps
Incline Press: 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Lat Pulldown: 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Lateral Raises: 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Calf Raises: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Supermans: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
You have the option of performing each workout in a circuit training style, where you run through 1 set of each
exercise consecutively without any rest, before moving on to the 2nd set in the same fashion. This would
constitute 2 "circuits".
By doing each workout once a week, that would make a total of 2 workouts a week, which should be sufficient in
preserving lean body mass and strength.
2) Glycogen Depleting Workout
In some cases, you may want to actually deplete the glycogen from your muscles so you can really boost fat
burning enzymes and maximize fat loss.
This approach would be effective if you're not necessarily aiming for lower carbs. Keep in mind, however, that
lower calories are still necessary to lose a significant amount of fat.
After these workouts, eating high carbohydrate meals will "fill" up your muscles and most likely be
prevented from being stored as fat. Once again, keep in mind that if your overall caloric intake is TOO excessive,
you run the risk of gaining fat.
You'll need to choose an appropriate weight for the higher rep ranges, while minimizing your rest between each
exercise to keep the heart rate elevated.
Glycogen Depleting Circuit Workout:
Leg Press: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Bench Press: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Seated Rows: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Lunges: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Chest Flies: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Lat Pulldown: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Lateral Raises: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Calf Raises: 1 set of 15-20 reps
Bicep Curls: 1 set of 12-15 reps
Rope Pushdowns: 1 set of 15-20 reps
Hanging Leg Raises: 1 set of 15-20 reps
Completing all of the exercises consecutively without taking a break would be one circuit. You can do anywhere
from 2-3 circuits depeding on how much energy you have from the reduced calorie intake.