I’m going to annoy a LOT of people with my next statement.
Of course this is only my opinion but before you start attacking me, let me at least defend why I said it.I began my career as a circuit coach and truth be told I was very successful at it. In fact, we actually offer circuit training at Primal, we just do it differently and I will explain more in a later article. I started using circuits for my fighters, adding fight specific movements into a circuit style class to get them fit and soon my reputation grew. By the time I had opened my fulltime MMA facility I had a number of non fighters attending just for the fitness element. Very quickly the classes grew to a regular 30+, twice a day, 5 days a week. Even though I built a reputation for delivering top classes and was making a comfortable living from it, I still felt something was missing. I felt like I was cheating the members as I knew it wasn’t focusing on making them BETTER! Sure they were getting a workout and they were feeling sore and tired afterwards but how was that actually helping them? Truth is, anyone can smoke someone in a training session, “give me 1000 burpees….3.2.1.GO”!! Thats gonna leave them in a pool of sweat and vomit and they will be sore the next day but has it helped them? I don’t think so and this was my issue with circuits. I know they had got a work out and had burned a load of calories but I also knew there was a better way.
Circuits are what I would class as a bottom teir training system. You go to what is more than likely, a large class, there are multiple stations set out with all sorts of exercises, from the normal run of the mill types, to the weird, wacky and sometimes dangerous. The cost is usually very low (which is an initial attraction) and they are seen as a great starting point for those wanting to get fit. Actually they are a great starting point but this is were they snare most people.
When you begin training, anything and everything works!
Running, circuits, spin, walking, whatever it is, if you are only starting out or haven’t trained in a while, you can make a noticeable change simply by doing something.You will see see changes in your shape and fitness for around six weeks, if you stick to it but then, things will begin to slow down. (Now if you enjoy it, that’s a different story. Doing something is better than doing nothing and if the thought of structured weight training bores or frightens you, then stick to what you enjoy. The social side to training is an important one and this article is not designed to try and put you off, it’s merely to show you there are other, more effective options that are out there).
Another problem with circuits can be the size of the class. A single coach cannot give each individual the attention required to make sure technique is safe and correct. Today our daily habits involves a lot of sitting, this has lead to a large number of us having imbalances that can be made worse by doing certain exercises. I had a lot of experience taking circuits, a vast range of equipment to choose from and a multitude of regressions and progressions I could use when I was confronted with someone who was struggling or finding it not challenging enough. Even with all my experience and preparation, there were times I would struggle and I always had a number of people who could not or should not have been squatting or pressing weights. Now try telling that to a shy person or a complete beginner in front of a class of 30-40 people without embarrassing them or putting them off wanting to come back.
So what are the other options?
1. Personal training
2. Small group training
3. Large group trainingIn part 2 of this blog I will go into details of each of these and explain why I feel for the majority of people, they are a better option.