If you’ve followed my journey for long, you know that I am a recovered “cardio-queen,” and now spend the majority of my workout time doing Metabolic Conditioning (aka MetCons).
I wanted to dedicate this post to ALL THINGS METCONS. . . Exactly what they are (and what they are not), why I prefer this style of exercise and the science behind how they metabolically trump cardio alone and other modes of exercise.
WHAT ARE METCONS?
MetCons are a style of training that include exercises which boost the storage and delivery of energy for physical activity. You may be asking yourself. . . Well, isn’t that what all exercise does? YES, but MetCons are different because of how energy is created, used and VERY QUICKLY expended.
Our bodies have 3 metabolic pathways, 1 aerobic and 2 anaerobic. When you think of aerobic, think “with oxygen.” This pathway requires oxygen from our lungs for energy and provides energy for longer periods of time (think of going on a long walk). When you think of anaerobic pathways, think “without oxygen.” These pathways are used during heavier weight training and sprinting style exercises, which makes them sustainable for a very short period of time.
When we use Metabolic Conditioning we are improving all three metabolic pathways, thus increasing our overall fitness level and metabolic rate! THAT’S GREAT NEWS! BASICALLY METCONS GIVE YOU THE BIGGEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!
MetCons come in MANY different styles, below I’ve listed few:
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Tabatas or other timed intervals
- Circuit Style Training (with or without weights)
- Strength and/or plyometrics
WHY METCONS > STEADY STATE CARDIO
Let me start by saying there’s nothing wrong or bad about steady state cardio, and it can be very healthy for the heart, and be part of an overall healthy fitness program! BUT what I am saying is that if you want to get more efficient and change your physique in less time, all without increasing hunger and cravings, then MetCons are the way to go!
Steady state cardio burns calories (as does all movement and exercise), BUT the calorie burn from steady-state cardio quickly diminishes once the exercise session is complete. In addition, when we do steady-state cardio, the hormone cortisol increases (the stress hormone), which can cause our bodies to want to store fat and also increase inflammation and storage of fat in the mid-section if elevated for too long.
MetCons, on the other hand, give a HUGE metabolic boost well after the workout has been completed (24-48 hours!). Plus, in addition to cortisol being raised, we get an increase in Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone, which is the METABOLIC JACKPOT when it comes to incinerating calories and blasting fat!
REASONS I LOVE METCONS
- QUICK AND EFFECTIVE
- Because of the high intensity exercises, these sessions last no more than 30 minutes.
- BLAST FAT
- The hormonal response is superior when it comes to burning fat.
- CREATES MUSCLE DEFINITION AND IMPROVED PHYSIQUE
- The high-density training style used in MetCons allows for major changes in the muscle, thus changing the shape of the body.
- CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE
- No need for a gym membership or fancy equipment! Do these at home or even while traveling!
- NO MORE DOING DOUBLE DAYS!
- With intense total body MetCons utilizing weights, you get strength and cardio all in one SHORT and EFFECTIVE workout!
SAMPLE METCON WORKOUT
- Set timer for 20 minutes
- Complete 12 reps of each exercise
- Complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP)
- Triceps Push-Up/ Renegade Row
- Squat/Press (aka Thruster)
- Lunge/Curl (6 per leg)
- Plyo Lunges (6 per leg)
- Bent Over Row/Fly
Use Rest-Based Training Style (ala Metabolic Effect). Basically there is NO scheduled rest! Push as hard as you can for as long as you can, then rest when you need to until you can push hard again!
Basically get out of your comfort zone! It’s only 5 exercises for 20-minutes! You’ve got this! AND that’s the beauty of it. . . you know you aren’t going for an hour, so mentally and physically you will push harder than ever before!
If you give it a try, comment below on how many rounds you completed!