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If my goal is fat loss is it really necessary to do a circuit type routine?

My goal is fat loss and I?ve been following a circuit type routine now for about 1 1/2 months now and have seen great results. However, I don?t feel I get much of a workout compared to what I use to get when I did 2 body parts a day. Say chest and triceps, back and biceps, and legs and shoulders. I like focusing on one or two muscle groups at a time. I usually did 4 exercises 3 sets each for the major muscle groups like chest, back, shoulders, and legs. I would do 3 exercises 3 sets each for triceps and biceps.

If I were to go back to doing chest and triceps on Monday, back and biceps on Wednesday, and shoulders and legs on Friday. I will also be doing HIIT on off days. It?s possible I may also do HIIT in the mornings on lifting days and lift later in the day to help in the fat loss area. Will this allow me to burn fat? I keep hearing from other forums such as MH that a person like myself should not be training like a body builder meaning separating muscle groups on certain days unless I?m walking around with a syringe sticking in my ass. I don?t believe this is training like a body builder these workouts only last less then an hour.

Is it really necessary to do a circuit routine every time I see a fat loss program it?s always a circuit routine such as meltdown. Why is that? Why can?t we just lower our calories eat healthy and lift for our enjoyment? In case you?re wondering I am 5?9 200lbs. My diet is 40/30/30/ 2,000 calories. I consume 200 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbs, and 68 grams of fat. I get my calories from meat, veggies, fruit, and whole grains.

So what?s the bottom line should I be sticking with circuit type routines or would separating body parts on certain days achieve the same goals?

Thank you for your help.

This is pretty simple:

–Big compound lifts burn more calories from both the lift itself and in the 24 hours after it.

–Big compound lifts such as the squat or deadlift have a much better hormonal response than isolation lifts.

–Compound lifts allow for “training economy”. Shorter workouts give a better anabolic response. The longer the workout, the more cortisol is produced, and this is especially true for long high intensity workouts.

–The body contains more muscles than just “biceps and back”, “chest and tris” and “quads and hams”. How do you plan on doing 3 exercises for 3 sets of isolation exercises for over 30 major muscles? It simply isn’t possible, not to mention muscles have to work together.

Isolation exercises should only be supplemental to a workout based on compound lifts.

By the way, your fat intake seems low. I believe the accepted amount of fat required in a daily diet to maintain testosterone levels is 100g. That is a minimum.

TTGIS, it’s your choice. Fat loss is more a product of your diet than the workout you’re doing. Resistance training is conducted to preserve LBM while dieting. It minimizes the amount of muscle lost when you’re eating at below maintenance calories.

I’ve done HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training) while cutting and enjoyed it. It’s a total body workout done three times a week. Got good results, too.

In general as a person becomes more advanced and wants to specialize more, they start doing spits. Example a 2-day split might be one day upper body, one day lower body. You might work out three or four days a week, but you alternate between the two workouts.

Another type of split might be a 3-day split focusing on the major muscle groups; back, legs, chest.

Just spend some time reading here on T-Mag. The FAQ would be a good place to start, as it lists some great programs for people getting started (or who want to change up what they’re doing). Pick something that looks interesting, run it to completion, and then try another program. We learn from everything we do and everything we try.

The bottom line is that circuits work for fat loss, yes, but so do other resistance programs. Pick something you like and enjoy doing. Experiment.

Musclerob, 30% is probably sufficient. Fat requirements are probably best calculated using LBM. .4g to .5g (times LBM) is a good range, whether cutting or bulking.

You’re right, though, that too-low fat intake can negatively affect T levels. But additional considerations are the TYPE of fat that’s being taken in. T levels are best supported with a combination of saturated and monounsaturated fat. John Berardi typically recommends equal parts of PUFAs, monos and saturated fat; 33% each.


30% should be ok, but I think it depends a lot on your metabolic type. That would be far too low for a heavy protein type, IMO. That’s highly individual, though.

I personally disagree with Berardi’s ratios. Saturated and monounsaturated should be somewhere around equal, so I agree with him there, but 33% polys at 30% fat would be about 10% PUFA in the diet. I just see that as being a bit too high. I personally think it should be kept in the 5-6% range (percent of calories), but if you are going to follow his recommendations I would make sure to up my antioxidant intake (and take it with the oils).

Musclerob, personally, I like to use fish oil for my PUFAs, not only for their anti-inflammatory benefits, but also for their nutrient partitioning benefits. It depends on what your goals are, be it health, management of a chronic disease/condition or even just simply body composition.

Good point on the antixidants with the PUFA intake. I agree.

What’s your background and experience with metabolic typing?

Musclerob and TT,

Very interesting discussion.
Rob would you want to elaborate on why you think 10% PUFA is too high?

Your recomendation of taking your antioxidants with the fatty acids is great and makes sense.



I perfer fish oil as well. I like to use cod liver oil a lot, too. It’s got important vitamins and it’s cheaper than fish oil :slight_smile: I like to take it with either an antioxidant formula or some type of vitamin C (such as Garden of Life Living C, 500mg worth). I also take it with a little butter or sometimes coconut oil, since this supposedly helps maintain fish oil integrity.

What’s your background and experience with metabolic typing?

Not much! I’ve just read the Metabolic Typing Diet. It definitely seems to be legit, as even Poliquin says how 75% (I think) of his atheletes do best on a lower carb diet while the rest do better on a higher carb diet. It also helps explain why different peoples around the world can be healthy on such different diets, for example Inuit on almost no carb and Asians that can be healthy with not a whole lot of meat.

A recent audio interview on Poliquin’s site was mentioning individuality of mineral requirements of people as well, which is also discussed in the Metabolic Typing Diet book.

Musclerob, Vitamin E would be the better choice for protecting PUFAs. In fact it’s included in some of the better fatty acid blends. Flora’s pretty progressive in that way.

Thanks for sharing what you did with me. It helps me to better understand where you’re coming from. My recommendations are typically made with body composition goals in mind. My advice is very different when there are chronic disease or autoimmunce components.

I find the Metabolic Type Diet stuff to be a little “out there”. There is no science to back up any of it. If you ever read the fine print of any of their materials they fully admit that it isn’t scientific and that they aren’t even nutritionists.