If you’ve been around the fitness industry for any amount of time, you will have heard – perhaps in hushed, reverent tones – about the benefits of circuit training.
How it can transform your clients and the way you work as a personal trainer…
Once you’ve tried running circuit training classes, you’ll never go back…
The truth is, circuit training is nothing new and despite a huge surge in popularity over the last decade, the benefits of circuit training are well documented and have been for a long time.
But there is controversy, too.
As we’ll see later in this article, some modern versions of circuit training (cough, CrossFit, cough) are touchy subjects among personal trainers and fitness professionals to say the least.
So, how are we to separate the truth from the lies when it comes to the benefits of circuit training?
We’ve got your back!
In this article, we’re going to go through everything you need to know about circuit training:
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
The whistle-stop tour of circuit training
There’s no use getting into the benefits of circuit training if you don’t know what it is…
For many of you, this opening section will be nothing more than stating the obvious. And that’s fine. If you’re confident that you know everything you need to know about what circuit training is, and the different forms of circuit training, then you can skip right over this section.
However, if you’re newer to the fitness industry – perhaps you’ve just passed your Level 2 and / or Level Three fitness qualifications - then you may not have ever encountered a circuit training class, let alone learned about the benefits of attending or even running one.
So, what’s all the buzz about?
What is Circuit Training?
Stripped down to its most basic description, circuit training is the practice of programming a workout around multiple different exercises, which are performed in a cycle with rests in between.
Think of it this way…
How many times have you gone to the gym, devoid of any inspiration, and just sat on your favourite weights machine for thirty minutes before leaving. Or put your headphones in and headed straight for the treadmill. Or plonked yourself on the nearest bench with free weights…
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Circuit training is designed to be the remedy to that. With multiple exercises in one session, often completed at high intensity, your whole body gets a workout, and your overall performance benefits as a result.
The great thing about circuit training is that it is endlessly customisable.
Because the basic precept is to combine multiple exercises and to include periods of rest, you can tailor a circuit training class to any audience.
If you want to build strength, design your circuit training session around compound and explosive exercises using weight. If you want to develop flexibility, design a session around dynamic stretching and body-weight exercises.
As you might already be able to tell then, the benefits of circuit training stretch far and wide.
For the time being, however – and to give you a good idea of the kinds of sessions popular with those people who prefer circuit training over other exercise methods - let’s have a look at some of the primary muscle groups worked in a standard circuit training session.
Who is the target audience?
Now – and this is particularly true if you’re a practising personal trainer - you may not be too pleased to hear that, as far as circuit training goes, there really isn’t a specific target audience.
But before you quit on this article and give up your hopes of becoming a circuit training instructor, let us tell you the good news…
While there may not be a direct target audience for circuit training, there aren’t really many people who wouldn’t benefit from attending a session. This is because the benefits of circuit training are, quite literally, limitless.
A circuit training is endlessly flexible, continuously scalable, and because it doesn’t focus on isolated exercises, can be completed on a regular basis, as long as proper recovery is allowed to occur.
Anyone who has suffered plateaus in their fitness development using the gym, or has grown tired of their standard group classes and one-to-one sessions with a trainer, could stand to benefit from circuit training,
As part of your personal trainer marketing then, you should be using circuits training’s customisable nature, and the many varied benefits of circuit training, to identify key demographics in your gym and to target them accordingly.
To give you an idea of some of the most successful circuit training sessions we’ve seen from around the UK, check out how some of the PTs we surveyed had marketed their circuit training sessions to clients in order to expand their fitness businesses:
What does a standard circuit training session look like?
By now you may be thinking, I know roughly about the benefits of circuit training, but what does a session actually look like?
Or maybe you’re a personal trainer, wondering how to start running your own circuit training classes.
We’ll cover how to become a fully-fledged circuit training tutor later in this article, so for the time being, check out our easy circuit training template.
Or even better, get down to your local class and try it for yourself today!
The benefits of circuit training classes for personal trainers
Think you’ve got to grips with what circuit training is? Great!
Now you may be wondering if it’s worth it…
What exactly are the benefits of circuit training?
As we mentioned in our first chapter, because of the flexibility and customisable aspect of circuit training, circuit training benefits are varied, and will differ depending on the kind of circuit training class you choose to run or attend.
So we’ve decided to split our article in terms of benefits of circuit training for personal training clients, and benefits of circuit training for personal trainers.
Helping with Client Plateaus
As a PT, there will come a point where your clients are no longer seeing improvements.
It’s tempting not to see this as a problem at first, especially if clients who are beginners have already reached their previously outlined fitness goals.
However, if you want to retain clients for more than a few months at a time, you should constantly be re-evaluating their targets, and to do that you need to ensure that they are seeing consistent improvements.
When one-to-one training stops working then, you might want to consider supplementing their sessions with some group classes and circuit training. Outside of the benefits of circuit training for clients, running classes takes pressure off you in terms of direct contact time (group classes mean you can squeeze multiple clients into a one hour slot).
So, what will your new training programme look like when you’ve starting running group classes for certain clients?
Let’s take a look!
Improving From a business perspective
Outside of looking at benefits for your clients, it’s also good to consider your personal training from a business perspective.
Let’s face it, personal training is a hard business to succeed in, and if you approach things like circuit training purely from the perspective of looking at the benefits of circuit training for clients, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to maximise your business reach, and expand your target audience.
So, how can circuit training benefit your business?
Don’t believe us about the benefits of circuit training in terms of marketing and expanding your business?
Check out our ultimate guide to personal trainer marketing to see how group classes can be used to turn casual gym-goers into loyal clients!
The benefits of circuit training for clients
Of course, the business perspective is important if you want to last in this industry as a personal trainer.
However, eventually you’re going to have to start explaining to your customers why they should attend your circuit training sessions. Telling them that it’s going to increase the size of your business is probably not going to do the trick here…
However, if you’re prepared and can tell your clients all about the benefits of circuit training in terms of fitness, then you’re in for a better shot at increasing your class sizes.
Going into depth for your clients isn’t difficult either…
Because of how circuit training operates, looking to improve different aspects of an individual’s fitness, you can tailor each session according to areas that your target audience are looking to improve.
In this section then, we’ll take a look at the benefits of circuit training for clients, and how personal trainers have been using those benefits to market sessions to their clients.
Long-term Strategy with Short-term Reward
One of the first problems you’re likely to encounter as a personal trainer is balancing your clients’ motivation, with creating a sustainable fitness programme.
Let’s face it, clients are impatient.
And we mean impatient…
If they aren’t seeing changes in their fitness in the first three-four weeks of training, then they’re already going to start losing faith in you and looking elsewhere.
One of the major benefits of circuit training is that it gives the body a full-workout. As we mentioned earlier, a lot of circuit training focuses on compound exercises.
As opposed to isolated exercises, compound exercises lay the foundation for real improvements to fitness.
Clients should quickly start seeing changes to their fitness, especially of the circuit training sessions are high intensity and made up of several difficult compound exercises.
The power of seasonal sessions
We all like to think that our clients approach fitness as we do…that is, that we treat is as a long-term lifestyle changes rather than a quick fix.
The reality is, sometimes clients just want to get fit for specific events, seasons, or periods in their life – and in fairness, who are we to stop them?
As mentioned in our last point, one of the major benefits of circuit training for clients is that it can bring about quick changes to fitness, while also providing a platform for long-term changes to lifestyle.
Nowhere is this better displayed than in the seasonal sessions a lot of personal trainers run in order to draw in new clients to their services.
Here’s some of the most popular seasonal sessions that we spotted in our research of circuit training in the UK:
Warding off the dreaded two-month blues
Think about it and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
Whether you’re a personal trainer or a client, there comes a point, usually about two or three months in, where you lose motivation.
Integrating some new group classes into your client’s routine, especially ones that do not focus specifically on one area of the body, therefore reducing recovery time, is a great way to keep them interested.
One of the major benefits of circuit training is the classes themselves should never get boring, as there’s so much flexibility with what you can do with them!
The most popular circuit training spin-offs in 2019
If we’re boiling this article down to the simple question of why should I start circuit training then the answer is actually pretty simple.
Of all the benefits of circuit training, the most important one to keep in mind is that it works.
Whether you’re a personal trainer trying to diversify your business or a client who’s hit a dead end in your training, circuit training could be the key to unlocking your potential.
Don’t believe us?
Don’t just take our word for it. All you have to do is look at some of the most popular fitness trends from around the globe over the best few years, and you’ll see a recurring trend….
Or to put it another way, what do CrossFit and 80% of HIIT-style workouts have in common?
Got it in one: they evolve their unique approach to fitness from a foundation of circuit training!
CrossFit: When Circuit Training Meets Team Sports
Never heard of CrossFit?
You’ve done pretty well in managing to avoid one of the biggest fitness movements of the last decade!
If you have been living under a rock for the last five years, don’t worry. We’ve got your back.
Check out our whistle-stop guide to CrossFit below, and if you like what you see, take a look at our Best CrossFit Gyms in the UK article!
CrossFit essentially takes circuit training, and forms a community around it.
Each CrossFit Gym (or box, as they are known) has a unique community, and during workouts you can expect a healthy team competitive spirit, and plenty of shouts of support from your fellow CrossFit athletes.
But that doesn’t mean CrossFit is just for the super-fit.
The sport is designed to be scalable. The logic here is that everyone could benefit from CrossFit, so you should be able to enter at your own level, whether you’re a professional athlete, or a 60 year old looking to get fit.
But, despite all this innovation, the precepts and the benefits of circuit training remain the same: exercises completed in a cycle, with breaks in the middle, giving the body a full, balanced workout.
The Ongoing Rise of HIIT
There’s no two ways to say it: HIIT is the most popular form of exercise on the planet right now.
But what exactly is it?
Now, while we’re not saying that all HIIT style workouts use a foundation of circuit training, it is definitely true that many of them do.
A HIIT class usually chooses either an area of the body to focus on, using different exercises with recovery periods in between, or more simply, focuses on giving a whole-body workout using roughly the same methods.
As a result, many of the major benefits of circuit training are also the benefits of HIIT – that is, improvements to functional fitness and full-body performance, and fast results achieved within a short time frame.
The quick guide to becoming a circuit training instructor today!
Now the important stuff!
You know all the benefits of circuit training, both from a business perspective, and in terms of improving clients’ fitness, so naturally you might be wondering, how exactly do I become a circuit training instructor.
You may have been told that, in order to be a successful circuit training instructor in 2019, that you need to become a qualified CrossFit coach.
And it’s true, there is a huge market to be gained through using the CrossFit brand and setting up your own franchise. But there are also downsides to setting up business with CrossFit – you have less flexibility in choosing your own path.
If you want to take full control of your future circuit training business venture, and reap all of the benefits of circuit training as an independent fitness professional, then you might want to consider the following steps:
Gaining experience is also essential, in terms of learning the ropes and recruiting loyal clients who will attend your classes, and help expand your business through word of mouth.
And there you have it!
That’s everything you need to know about the benefits of circuit training, along with some tips about how to use circuit training to improve your business.
Now it’s your turn
Tell us what you think of circuit training and how it’s helped you!
Want to begin your fitness journey? Have a chat with our enrolment team by emailing email@example.com, or by calling us on 0800 002 9599!