Want to burn an incredible amount of fat? Then high-intensity circuit training (HICT) is for you. Here are 5 reasons it’s the ultimate fat loss workout.
What is High-Intensity Circuit Training?
High-intensity circuit training (HICT) is a close cousin to HIIT, except for instead of using it in a sole cardio capacity, intervals are combined with strength training to provide you with a potent muscle building and fat loss combo.
For example, you might have a circuit consisting of 5 different exercises. Each exercise compliments the other exercises in the workout to give you a complete full body workout.
To complete a HICT workout you go from exercise to exercise using very small rest intervals in between. For example, if your circuit consisted of the following 5 exercises – pushups, burpees, bear crawls, pullups, and situps, you might do the first exercise for as many reps as possible for 1 minute. Then, you’d rest 30 seconds and go on to the next exercise.
After completing all 5 exercises, you’ve completed 1 single circuit. Then, you’d repeat the circuit several times. Each time you complete a circuit it’s considered a set. Now, here’s why high-intensity circuit training is so effective at fat loss.
It Utilizes Strength Training
Strength training is amazing for fat loss. Muscle is nearly 5 times more metabolically active than fat is. For every pound of muscle you have, you burn about 6 extra calories each day .
Think about that for a second. The average fit person has at least 20 pounds more muscle than the person who doesn’t strength train. Twenty pounds of muscle burns an extra 120 calories each day. That’s more than 12 extra pounds of fat loss each year occurring during times when you’re not working out.
It’s High Intensity in Nature
The intensity at which you work out is directly correlated to your degree of fat loss. In fact, high-intensity exercise has been shown to be superior for fat loss when compared to moderate-intensity exercise .
High-intensity circuit training increases your intensity and thus your fat burning potential. Very few other exercise protocols squeeze as much work into so little time.
It Can Be Done in Under 20 Minutes
I found out a long time ago that 20 minute high-intensity workouts were just as effective as my 60 minute gym sessions when it came to fat loss. By simply paying attention to rest intervals and timing them you can slice your workout times in half or more.
If we’re looking for ways to burn fat and build muscle in as little time as possible, HICT certainly fits the criteria. Doing 4 sets of 5 exercises in each circuit can be done is less than 20 minutes.
It Creates an Afterburn Effect
The afterburn effect is created after intense periods of exercise. This window of extra calorie burn is an extra benefit of high-intensity circuit training.
In order for your body to return to “normal”, it utilizes extra calories to erase the oxygen debt it created during exercise. Your body also uses extra calories for muscle repair and fuel synthesis. Your afterburn effect is directly correlated to the degree of your exercise intensity .
Interval Training Burns More Fat
Interval training is incredibly effective at burning fat. It does this several ways. First, it improves your insulin sensitivity, which helps keep insulin levels low enough so that fat can be mobilized and burned.
Second, it creates new mitochondria . Mitochondria produce energy from the food you eat. The more of these little things you have, the more efficiently you burn fat.
Third, high-intensity circuit training boosts your fat loss hormones. These hormones have a specific job – to stimulate the release of fuel (fat) and send it to the needed muscles.
Hopefully these 5 reasons are enough to convince you of the potent fat burning effects of HICT. High-intensity circuit training is strength training and cardiovascular training all rolled up into one. If you want to build muscle, burn fat, and do it in a short period of time, very few exercise protocols can compete with HICT.