Perform full-body circuit training and you'll burn calories — but not as many as using an elliptical machine or high-impact step aerobics. When you circuit train, you work your muscles in a specific order, often on weight training machines, without much rest in between exercises — generally 15 to 30 seconds.
You will burn 240 calories in a half-hour of circuit training if you weigh 125 lbs. That goes up to 289 calories if you weigh 155 and 355 if you weigh 185, according to Harvard Medical School.
Circuit training burns less than using an elliptical trainer or performing high-impact step aerobics for a half-hour. On the elliptical, a 125-lb. person will burn 270 calories, a 155-lb. person 335 and a 185-lb. person 400. Performing step aerobics will burn 300 calories for a 125-lb. person, 372 for a 155-lb. person and 444 for a 185-lb. person, according to Harvard.
Circuit training provides an efficient strength training routine, but it does not give you an effective aerobic workout, according to "Fitness ABC's," by Chuck Krautblatt and Charles Krautblatt. You'll only improve your cardiovascular fitness by about 6 percent over a six-week time frame using moderate weights that you can do 10 to 15 repetitions with.