The fully automated and adaptable circuit which knows you!

“Imagine a circuit where you just need to login once, then relax and workout always in a given time, with equipment that adapts to you. A completely guided experience, from station to station, where you never stop, never wait. This is Biocircuit”.

Achieving true wellness is determined by the interaction of daily physical activity, a balanced nutritious diet and a positive mental attitude. Developing these components of wellness are keys to unlocking vast health benefits. Whist each of these components interact with one another in a holistic way, and one cannot exist without another, the focus of this article will dive into a new innovative approach to one of the oldest yet effective forms of exercise, Circuit Training.

A balanced exercise programme which incorporates both resistance and aerobic exercise is the foundation to developing a long lasting wellness lifestyle. The benefits of both aerobic (reduction of body fat%, improved aerobic capacity, efficiency, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced disease risks, etc.) and strength (power, muscle strength, muscle cross sectional area/size, coordination, muscle endurance, balance & stability, etc.) exercise are well established in research so need no further discussion. However, the premise of Circuit Training promotes the development of a variety of fitness components within a single session. Participants flow through a series of exercises, often alternating between body part or movement type for about 8-12 stations. The result is a short, intense and effective workout which also develops your social skills should you be working in a group. Participants with different training abilities can work together, at their own intensity within a single session. The mode of exercise can change from simple body weight exercises through to more complex resistance movements loaded from 40-80% of one-repetition maximum (1RM). Likewise, aerobic work often works in short intervals with a standard duration set for a member to complete.

Circuit training is a method which can provide an array of benefits in a time effective, fun and varied manner. However, a key driver to training adaptation and adherence to an exercise programme is whether it is Specific to an individual. Specificity of training does what it says on the tin; Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (S.A.I.D principle). Traditionally circuit training workouts are created to cater for the general population within a given setting. Therefore, training specificity is often hard to achieve for the vast variety of exercise goals and outcomes participants strive to accomplish.

Progression of training is another key principle which must be considered. Naturally in order to achieve consistent adaptations, your body must be exposed to some form of overload. Achieving this is often a challenging ask for Group Fitness Instructors. The level of interaction required between the Instructor is developed through experience, relationships, time and “buy-in” from the member. Whist movements can be progressed (or regressed) to suit the member’s level of ability, in the short term instructors find it challenging to interact with each member on a personal level to truly understand their level of training. In turn this leads to a negative feedback loop. If you aren’t able to deliver the personal experience in the short term, then the member won’t stay for long enough for you (the instructor) to fully develop a true understanding of their ability level and build buy-in!

Despite all of circuit training’s benefits relating to time efficiency, sufficient management can prove to be challenging. Trying to manage a group through repetition based training in a circuit fashion can often lead to chaos should you not have sufficient equipment available. A break in the logistics of the session will in turn effect the experience of the members and trainers. Likewise, members may have to spend a considerable amount of time resetting the positioning of equipment which eats up even more time. Nowadays members are looking for an experience driven workout. If this is hindered by poorly organised circuits then they will end up dropping out in the short and long term. How does that influence their positive mental attitude?

As outlined, circuit training has an array of benefits, however also has some potential issues if they are not accounted for. Thankfully, the latest innovation in the market has been delivered in the form of BIOCIRCUIT. The latest Technogym solution provides the answer to all potential flaws of traditional circuit training and expands on them with the latest and greatest digital solution. The fully automated circuit guides members throughout the whole workout, not only where to go and how long to work for, but on specific loads related to their calculated 1RM, repetition number & tempo and range of motion. It also pre-sets the equipment into position based on the individual’s anthropometrics. The most exciting feature however is the BIODRIVE. Thanks to the latest innovation, combining research from the Aeronautical industry, Technogym has developed the ultimate resistance training solution. The BIODRIVE can replicate up to 7 different resistance types, for example eccentric overload, and even a build in spotter! This BIODRIVE is able to generate adaptive resistance adjustments in response to movement (i.e., position, velocity and acceleration). This method is the foundation of how BIOCIRCUIT works. An efficient/specific experience for the member, and an easy to manage solution for the operator… a win-win!

Despite of all of the fantastic innovations, the real added value is that members can no access a personalised plan specific to their ability level and matching their goals & needs. BIOCIRCUIT has five types of workouts (plus has the potential to customise your own plans) to cater for a variety of needs, ability levels and demographics, all of this squeezed into a sub 30-minute workout (variations are available)!

Whether your goal is to “Start Moving”, “Stay Young”, “Lose Weight”, “Tone Your Body”, or “Boost Performance” BIOCIRCUIT has you covered. Each programme works on a specific repetition range, tempo and even type of resistance (viscous, inertia free, eccentric overload) to match the demand of the programme to achieve a specific outcome (I S.A.I.D so). This means that you can have up to 12 people at any given time working under a time and repetition based circuit, each with a different programme and with different training history at any time.

The circuit comes in two forms, BIOCIRCUIT and BIOCIRCUIT FREE. BIOCIRCUIT consists of six strengths and six cardio stations with a fixed work/rest time ratio, allowing up to 12 users to work simultaneously at all times with no unexpected waiting times. Alternatively, a nine-piece strength only circuit is also available, for those who really want to target their strength goals and save their cardio training for elsewhere. Not to mention all of this is connected to the Technogym Mywellness Ecosystem (LINK) to track and monitor all things Wellness in a single touch point.

BIOCIRCUIT and BIOCIRCUIT FREE differ (in short) based on the use of the equipment within a structured circuit / or not as the name “Free” suggests. All of the same functionalities are apparent as described (in brief) below (Biodrive, Adaptive Posture, Ongoing Training, Always Guided, One Log-in), however a member isn’t fixed into the circuit moving from one station to the next. They are “Free” to explore and move between as pleased. It is a solution for all!

But what does the research say?

Edith Cowen University have implemented Biocircuit into their health and fitness facility. Not only that, but they also actively use it as the methodology to conduct their world famous research lead by Professor Robert Newton. Georgios Mavropalias, a PhD student interested in the Effects of eccentric training on prostate cancer uses BIOCIRCUIT every day to conduct his research, one involving prostate cancer patients undergoing androgen-deprivation therapy, and a future study involving cancer patients with cachexia. The primary outcome will be muscle mass and architecture changes following training, which is traditionally very difficult to achieve in these populations. However, recent evidence has shown that overloading the eccentric (lowering) phase is the repetition, triggers muscle protein synthesis to a greater degree than conventional resistance exercise.

When asked why BIOCIRCUIT? Georgios replied:

“I think having a full-body station that allows us to apply eccentric overload, and also track the sessions and progress of the clients/participants is really the future of exercise and research. There is really a huge potential to design and implement well-controlled research on exercise (especially in clinical populations) and accurately track the actual exercise dosage…… Eccentric overload training has proven benefits that are difficult to obtain using conventional methods, as the participant is limited as to how much eccentric exercise they can perform due to fatigue induced by the concentric phase. I think BIOCIRCUIT enables this training in a very feasible and effective way. Moreover, the cloud sync is unique, I haven’t seen any other fitness trackers being able to monitor resistance exercise before”.

Okay, but what does the market say?

We conducted some research into the experience members of ECU have had with BIOCIRCUIT. As expected, 100% of members enjoyed using BIOCIRCUIT. We have summarised our findings below.

How does Biocircuit make you feel after exercise?

Interestingly, 65% of people who answered good also provided a high rating to (8-10/10) to their perceptions of exercise as a mode of health improvement, suggesting that they are aware of the benefits of exercise. This could suggest that the reasons for inactivity is due to the direction of motivation.

How does Biocircuit benefit you?

Out of those questioned, the majority outlined that BIOCIRCUIT helps them reach their goals. Likewise, BIOCIRCUIT helped to evoke a positive mindset, lead to a happy mood state and helped keep members focused and attentive. Likewise, members suggest that BIOCIRCUIT made them stronger (both based on objective methods through testing in the circuit and subjective feelings). Despite the low numbers for “meeting others” the questionnaire reported an average of 6.24/10 of the importance of exercising in a group.

Which BIOCIRCUIT program are you assigned to?

The majority of members were assigned to the Lose Weight programme (maximise caloric expenditure), closely followed by the Tone Your Body Programme (eccentric overload to improve strength). Interestingly, 12% of people who were assigned the Boost Performance programme also rated highly for the question asking them about the importance of working out in a group. Due to the nature of the Boost Performance programme, and its application to sports performance (Viscous resistance and power focus), suggest that team sports inspired/active members like working in a group due to the cross over to sport. Another interesting finding out of the above was that those who want to lose weight understand that exercise is an important means to achieve their goal. We know this because 100% of them understand the importance of exercise in health promotion.

Key findings

· More than 60% of people agree or strongly agree that Biocircuit provides them with a complete training solution. This is interesting as the research conducted was on a strength only circuit.

 · More than 85% of people agree or strongly agree that Biocircuit provides them with targeted personal guidance. Value is gained from having a tailored experience, no one is the same so why should people settle for a generalised approach to training?

· More than 85% of people agree or strongly agree that Biocircuit helps them reach their goals. This suggests that specificity of training is apparent within the circuit and their associated programme.

· More than 80% believe this Biocircuit is challenging, suggesting that the overload principle of training may be sufficient psychologically to keep members engaged and challenged.

· Greater than 85% of people agree or strongly agree that the testing included within Biocircuit was easy to perform. The tests occur at the start of the programme and include range of motion analysis and strength (Isokinetic test). People nowadays want simple and effective solutions.

· Around 80% of members would recommend Biocircuit to friends. Word of mouth is the most popular and cheapest form of marketing.

· 100% of people enjoyed using Biocircuit. Positive expereinces are very important factors in exercise adherence.

 · Around 40% felt that Biocircuit helps them meet others and develop social skills, another important factor contributing to a complete wellness lifestyle, through positive mental attitudes. Groups can also help to hold people accountable to their goals.