ELEVATE Circuit Training – Get Results That Retain Members
Weight loss is one of the primary reasons why most consumers look to join a health club and start an exercise program. Yes, traditional aerobic conditioning like running on a treadmill, sweating buckets in an indoor cycling class, or the popular high intensity strength training workouts, can help burn calories for weight loss, but the simple fact is, that many people don’t enjoy them. They can be intimidated by the loud music and fast-pace of indoor cycling or could get injured by doing exercises too challenging for their skill level.
If you’re looking for ways to boost member engagement and retention, here’s a little secret. It doesn’t matter how good the exercise is for helping an individual reach his or her fitness goals, if a member or client doesn’t enjoy it, then they’re not going to do it. So now what do you do?
Make Exercising Enjoyable
One of the best ways to improve retention is by creating happy customers, which means featuring exercise options they WANT to do because they’re both fun and relevant to their goals.
Fortunately, there is a mode of exercise that can be both fun AND effective for weight loss: bodyweight circuit training; specifically circuit training featuring bodyweight exercises.
In general, circuit training involves a series of resistance-training exercises for different movements or body parts with little-to-no rest between each exercise. The traditional selectorized resistance-training machines, normally used for circuit training are effective but also expensive, not easy to move around or reconfigure and can be intimidating for some members.
A good strength training circuit should not only be time-efficient and easy to follow, but should be easy to adjust and re-organize to create different workouts from week-to-week or month-to-month.
Make It Easy To Follow
Lack of time and not knowing what type of exercise they should be doing are two of the most frequently cited reasons for why club members or personal training clients have a hard time following a workout program. As health and fitness professionals, it’s our job to help our clients overcome these roadblocks.
Strength training circuits should transition between exercises for upper and lower-body muscles or alternating movement patterns like from push-ups to pull-ups to help members do workouts that are both time efficient and effective.
Circuit training on the ELEVATE Circuit can provide the following 7 benefits:
Burn More Calories
The body burns 5 calories of energy to use 1 liter of oxygen. Circuit training can use most of the muscles in the body, which significantly increases oxygen consumption when compared to a mode of cardio exercise relying primarily on the lower body. Any mode of exercise that increases oxygen demand also increases energy expenditure, making it an effective strategy for weight loss.
Alternating between upper body, lower body and core muscles, while circuit training on ELEVATE can help increase oxygen consumption in the body, resulting in the ability to burn a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time.
Work Smarter Not Harder
Bodyweight circuit training can be considered both moderate intensity cardio-respiratory AND strength training exercise both of which are important for fat loss. Too much high intensity exercise (where breathing is much faster than normal, and saying more than a couple of words at a time can be difficult) for more than 50 to 60 minutes at a time could actually lead to burning muscle instead of fat.
At a higher intensity of exercise, the body will use primarily carbohydrate for fuel. Once this carbohydrate is depleted, the body uses the hormone cortisol to convert protein to fuel in a process called gluconeogenesis. When this happens, less protein is available to repair muscle tissue damaged during the exercise.
Fast Track Strength Training
Bodyweight strength-training circuits can actually increase lean muscle mass throughout the entire body while most modes of cardio training involve primarily leg muscles. Doing bodyweight exercises to a point of momentary fatigue can stimulate the type II, fast twitch muscle fibers responsible for improving strength and size. Increasing activation of the type II fibers can result in larger, more defined muscles throughout the entire body.
Higher levels of lean muscle mass equate to a higher resting metabolism, which means the body will burn more calories while at rest. At rest, 1 pound of muscle can burn up to 7 calories of energy during a 24-hour period. Adding 5 to 7 pounds of lean muscle mass can increase resting metabolism up to 50 calories a day or 350 calories over the course of a week. Given that the body uses approximately 100 calories to walk a mile, this can be considered the equivalent of taking a 3.5-mile walk.
Using ELEVATE can help add lean muscle mass to your body. As you increase the amount of muscle tissue your metabolism will become much more efficient at burning calories meaning that you can increase caloric expenditure even when you are NOT exercising.
Combine Strength Training With Cardio
To increase energy expenditure for weight loss, combining circuit training with cardio exercise can be extremely effective. For example, after completing a circuit of resistance-training exercises, hop on an ELEVATE Row for 3 to 7 minutes of steady-state, moderate-intensity exercise. The cardio exercise should focus on the aerobic energy system, so your breathing should be quicker than normal, but you shouldn’t be out of breath.
Weight rooms can be intimidating, which can keep members from doing beneficial strength training exercises. A bodyweight circuit that is set up away from the free-weight area can provide a non-intimidating environment for club members to obtain the many benefits of strength training, while also establishing the base level of strength required to progress to more challenging forms of resistance training.
Trainer-Led Sessions Create Rapport and Encourage Members
Scheduling a trainer to assist members during busy times can provide a higher level of service to members who are attempting to use the circuit. A trainer can push members to work a little harder on the circuit, which can be an important component for achieving results. In addition, coaching club members through an established machine circuit provides a way for trainers to meet a number of members during each shift. As the trainers help the members, they can learn names and establish rapport, both of which are essential for long-term success.
In this era of demanding, high-intensity group fitness classes and technically complex free-weight training programs, the idea of returning to circuit training, which was popular in the early ‘80s, may seem like a return to the dark ages. The accompanying video can help you understand how the Elevate Line can be organized to create an effective strength training circuit that can help your members reach their goals from weight-loss to enhanced muscle definition. One of the best features of the Elevate Line is that all pieces are easy to move around meaning you can create different circuits to meet the needs of different populations of members or clients you serve.
For more information on the ELEVATE Circuit – call 858 764 0078 or visit totalgym.com
About the Author
Pete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently, Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com