Circuit Training Vs Cardio: What Is The Difference?
When it comes to dropping excess pounds, cardio training has generally been the go-to training regimen to boost heart and metabolic rate to burn off calories. Today, however, more and more people are switching to circuit training as it involves the use of both cardio and resistance-based exercises to lose weight and build muscle.
Knowing what your fat-loss training options are can be a huge advantage, especially if you don’t want to jump into a program that you will later have trouble committing to later on. This is why in this post we present key differences between circuit and cardio training.
Cardio training is any types of physical activity that focus on boosting the heart rate enough to influence weight and fat loss. The emphasis of cardio exercises is to improve cardiovascular health and increase blood flow to the muscle tissues and all areas of the body.
Cardio, unlike circuit training, consist of performing a physical activity at fixed intensity for a prolonged period of time. Anything from walking, running, jogging, or even swimming is regarded as a cardio exercise.
The benefits of cardio training are extensive; higher blood circulation and activation of muscles and joints leads to higher stamina and lower cholesterol in addition to fat loss. Too much cardio training, on the other hand, can lead to loss of muscles, which is why many bodybuilders avoid engaging in excessive cardio training.
Circuit training, in contrast to cardio and weight training, use a combination of both to target multiple muscles at short, intense bursts of activity. Akin to boot camp training, circuit training consists of a series of exercises that have to be performed in a sequence to complete one circuit. The number and type of exercises can vary either from being pure cardio, or a mix of cardio and resistance-based exercises, using bodyweight, dumbbells, or resistance bands.
Owing to the versatility of circuit training, it is argued to provide greater fat loss. As there is minimal rest or pauses in between exercises, the intensity of the circuit performed can lead to a higher heart and metabolic rate, resulting in higher calorie burn. More importantly, circuit training is more intellectually and physically stimulating since a variety of exercises have to be performed in quick succession.
Furthermore, circuit training often consists of compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This helps influence faster weight loss and muscle gain.
Which Should You Choose?
Your decision to opt either for cardio or circuit training will often depend on your personal preferences. Cardio training is better suited for the purpose of improving cardiovascular health. Hence, if muscle building is not one of your goals, cardio can be best suited for you to improve blood flow and achieve endurance. However, if you are keen on building a leaner physique with some muscle development, circuit training that involves the use of light weights, such as dumbbells or kettlebells can be an excellent option.