Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –

What is the latest and greatest in circuit training, you ask?

Power Circuit, our new group class at LA Fitness!

This circuit training class takes you through a warmup, lightweight dumbbell segment, vigorous Tabata style quick-sets, and a cool down. Power Circuit helps you maximize results, burn lots of calories and sculpt your body and abs in a shorter workout period.

After all, who wouldn’t want to enhance their body with shorter workouts? This style of high-intensity intervals can provide the same fitness and fat-burning benefits as endurance training in just a few weeks!   Aerobic energy metabolism is the key to burning fat and that’s exactly what this class is designed to do for you!

All of this begs the question, “How should I eat to make the most of the Power Circuit class?”

First things first, don’t over-fuel for this session. A pre-workout snack, water or light sports drink during the class and a post-workout shake shouldn’t total more than the estimated 500 calories you’ll burn during the class. You want to be in a caloric deficit come the end of your day, not a surplus!

Good options for pre-workout snacks include: fresh fruit with fat-free cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, wheat crackers with peanut butter and banana, or an egg salad sandwich on whole grain bread.

Next, let’s consider the demands of this Power Circuit workout – it is a mostly fat-burning workout that does require bouts of exertion that rely primarily on carbohydrates. You’ll actually need to supply mostly carbohydrates for the workout, then protein after the workout, as you want the fat burned to be the stored fat in your body. Why protein? Because after being worked hard, the muscles respond by trying to add new fibers, and your body will need protein as their foundation. This begins in the recovery period with repair and continues through your restful sleep with growth.

If you need more than water during an exercise session, choose a sports drink with some carbohydrates (not “diet/zero” or “recovery”), and little or no protein. A post-class recovery shake, bar or snack may be a liquid and contain less fiber for rapid energy replacement, like cereal and milk, a yogurt-based smoothie, or hearty chicken noodle soup.

A word on timing: If you’re starting or ending your day with the Power Circuit, it’s okay to shift some of your calories toward the active part of your day. Meaning, for a 7 a.m. class, you can skip breakfast before your workout (if you ate well the night before) and opt for a sports drink during the class, followed by an adequate meal afterward.

Conversely, for a night class, adding a mini-meal (think – a half sandwich and piece of fruit) an hour or two before the workout will get you through the Power Circuit class without needing to eat a large meal before bed.

If you’re ready to try Power Circuit, see a list of available class times and locations here. Power Circuit classes are open to current LA Fitness members, where offered, and are subject to class size limits.

References: “Physiological Adaptations to Low-Volume High-Intensity Interval Training.” Martin J. Gibala. Sport Science Exchange 2015, Vol 28, No. 139, 1-6.



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