You’ve probably heard all the buzz about people losing weight and getting fit using high intensity interval training (HIIT) programs like CrossFit and P90X, but what exactly is metabolic conditioning and is it the right choice for you?
Metabolic conditioning, aka MetCon, is basically a method of training that uses very high intensity work intervals that often involve total body exercises with short rest cycles, usually in circuit fashion, to maximize calorie burning both during and after your workout. While the workouts are relatively short, they are typically maximal effort intervals with high work to rest ratios that make you want to cry. Basically, you move from one killer exercise to the next with very little rest in between. The purpose? To challenge your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and increase your afterburn, aka EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which means your metabolism is revved up and still burning calories long after your workout has ended.
Is it effective? Yep.
Is it right for you? That depends on your goals, fitness level, and how motivated you are to work HARD.
While true maximal effort training is typically reserved for high end athletes, military, firefighters, and law enforcement personnel, MetCon can be modified for mere mortals too. The easiest way to get started is by doing basic circuit training. If you’re a beginner, you need to start here anyway so that you learn how to do the exercises correctly with good form. Since muscle tissue adapts to stress faster than other soft tissues (ie tendons and ligaments), starting with lighter weight and higher reps for strength training exercises helps to avoid overuse injuries. Allow 30 seconds of rest between exercises as you move through the circuit. As you become more fit, decrease the rest periods between exercises or eliminate them altogether. You may also begin to increase the weight being lifted to make the exercise more challenging. Adding short bursts of cardio between strength exercises is popular too, such as jump rope or running. If you belong to a gym, they may offer group fitness classes that follow this type of model, such as boot camp or Tabata type classes.
If you’d like to give metabolic conditioning a try but aren’t sure where to start, give me a call and we can discuss your goals in more detail. Call now and get your metabolism revved up today!