Cardio Circuit Workouts

Alternating among machines improves calorie burn.
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Exercise can be tedious and boring, which causes many women to throw in the towel. Working out regularly is beneficial for your health in many ways, including weight control and disease prevention, making it important to find a way to stick with it. Cardio circuit training might be the answer you're looking for. It allows you to mix and match the activities you enjoy the most, increasing motivation and making exercise more fun. Talk to your doctor before starting a new workout routine.

How Circuits Work

A cardio circuit includes a series of exercises that you work through with no rest time between each. In a typical workout, you'll repeat the series two or three times. Most routines include a mix of cardiovascular and strength-training moves, which allows you to get the most out of your workout by meeting the recommendations for each type of exercise at the same time, which is at least 150 minutes of cardio exercise and two strength-training sessions each week. For example, you might work through squats, lunges and pushups, run on the treadmill, do jumping jacks and skip rope. Circuits can be made up of any exercises you like, allowing you to change up your routine often.

Calories Burned

Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, even when you include strength-training moves. Repeating the moves many times without rest keeps your heart rate elevated, which is what qualifies it as cardiovascular exercise. You'll burn about 10 calories per minute during cardio circuit training, notes "Fitness" magazine, which is 30 percent more than a traditional workout. In one hour, you can burn nearly 600 calories doing cardio circuits.


The calorie-burning potential of cardio circuits is beneficial for women who want to lose weight. Losing weight occurs when you burn more calories than you consume, something that circuit training helps with. Attaining a healthy weight protects you from a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. If you don't enjoy exercise and get tired of the same workout, circuits are ideal because you aren't stuck doing the same exercise for your entire session. In addition, you have the opportunity to switch things up at each workout, preventing boredom and burnout. At the same time, you'll be activating the muscles all over your body, burning fat and creating definition.

Creating a Routine

To create your dream workout, make a list of the activities you enjoy the most. This might be running on the treadmill, doing bench presses, swimming or walking your dog. Once you've compiled your list, break the exercises into chunks of time or sets and repetitions to fill your workout time. Your cardio circuit might look like this: 10 minutes of walking, one set of 12 bicep curls, one set of 12 pushups, 10 minutes of jumping rope, one set of 12 lunges and one set of 12 squats. Your next workout might contain a different group of exercises or it might mix and match them from several past sessions. Make sure to work each of your major muscle groups evenly to prevent imbalances and create a proportionate body shape.

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