You may have heard that a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square. A similar notion applies when defining circuit training and interval training: circuit training is interval training, but interval training is not circuit training.
Allow me to explain. Interval training is essentially training in segments. For example, 2 minutes of sprinting followed immediately by 30 seconds of jogging followed by a 1 minute sprint, then 30 seconds of jumping jacks. This is most common during HIIT (high intensity interval training), which is most commonly associated with cardio workouts.
Another example of interval training could be longer segments such as 20 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of resistance and 5 minutes of intense cardio. Interval training is a great way to gain stamina and keep your body in performance condition, especially for sports-specific athletes.
Circuit training is interval training divided into segments lasting no more than 3 minutes and alternating between cardiovascular and resistance with little to no rest in between. For example, 2 minutes on a treadmill, 1 minute of push-ups, 3 minutes of jumping rope, 2 minutes of crunches. Generally, there are “stations” pre-set so that there is no time wasted in between each alternation since you are only at one segment for less than 3 minutes. This can be difficult to do in a crowded gym by yourself, because you can’t “hog” all the machines at once when you’ll only be there for 3 minutes. Though, it’s the most commonly used training style for personal trainers because it’s the most effective for weight-loss, which is the most common impetus for personal training.
It’s common knowledge that circuit training is the most effective way to burn calories for weight-loss, though it is not easy to do – for the client or the trainer. Some private studios are offering opportunities for authentic circuit training, but this is not for the weak. For example, Circuit Works (http://www.circuitworksla.com) in Los Angeles and Curves (http://www.curves.com) offer authentic circuit training in a group setting. Other studios claim to do circuit training, because they rotate through stations. But don’t be fooled! To truly burn the most amount of calories in one workout, you should be alternating between aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic (resistance) systems in less than 3 minutes.
Fitmark Ambassador 2014