Metabolic conditioning or “metcon” refers to conditioning exercises intended to increase the storage and delivery of energy for any activity. Most people think of aerobic training to be the primary catalyst when trying to improve endurance, conditioning the cardiovascular system, and to improve transport of blood to the working muscles. Concurrently, metabolic conditioning is conditioning the MUSCLES to better use the fuel delivered to them by improving the efficiency for the different metabolic pathways. Anaerobic (weight training, sprinting) has now been show to condition the cardiovascular system more efficient than traditional cardio routines (walking, running long distance) alone.
Why slow long distance (walking and running) doesn’t work!
- Takes a long bout of exercise to burn a significant amount of calories
- Walking is a good start, but what next?
- One mile of running will burn between 100 to 300 calories based on your weight, age, and other factors. But in order to jog that mile you will subject your joints to 1500 plyometric reps at (consecutively) 2-4 x bodyweight.
- That is a lot of pounding on your joints while increasing your injury potential. The return on investment (100-300 calories burned) is not worth it.
- Doesn’t raise the heart rate and oxygen debt, thus not increasing the metabolic rate after exercise is done (EPOC- Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption)
- The body adapts to the low intensity exercise to quickly (plateaus)
- The so called “fat burning” zone myth
- Sprinters (4-9% bodyfat) Vs Runners/walkers (12-25% bodyfat)
When is aerobic (long slow distance) good for you?
- If you are just starting a workout program, injured (walk, don’t run), severely overweight or have other severe health conditions
- If you are training for a half marathon, full marathon, triathlon
What is interval training?
- It is a method of conditioning that uses alternating periods of work and rest.
- Can be done by using various modalities such as a bike, treadmill, sprinting, Elliptical, swimming, and stepmill.
- A simple method is sprinting for 30 seconds, and then taking a 30-90 second rest break (rest depends on condition of person)
- Number of intervals depends on the goal, and fitness level of the person
Why should someone interval train?
- Interval training has been utilized by athletes and fitness enthusiast alike to get in shape for years. Interval training has even taken on a new name in recent years, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
- Increases the bodies metabolic rate 12-48 hours after exercise is done (EPOC)
- This type of training is not only being used by athletes to improve conditioning, but also by trainers and their clients as one of the best methods for fat loss and conditioning.
- With our busy lifestyles, who has time to do 40-60 minutes of aerobic training? The scientific data now shows less is better when it comes to fat loss!
Let’s take a look at why interval training works.
The Power of Interval Training: The way for individuals to raise the intensity of their training is to do “Interval Training.” Interval Training alternates bouts of high-intensity exercise with that of low to moderate-intensity exercise. Recent studies have shown that Interval Training is more effective for fat loss while improving both Aerobic and Anaerobic fitness.
If it works why doesn’t everyone utilize HIIT?
- Media has over hyped long bouts of cardiovascular exercise for health
- HIIT is much more physically demanding
- Most people are confused about how to do it and make it work!
The downsides of Interval Training
- Still is a lot of repetitive motion at the ankle, hip, and knee, thus causing muscular imbalances and asymmetries
- Many people don’t like to use machines and get bored to fast. This discourages them from performing interval training
- Interval training is much harder than walking, jogging, or running, in turn discouraging them even more from staying on the same machine for 15-30 minutes
If interval training is better than general aerobics, what is the best solution for fat loss?
The Solution: Metabolic Conditioning!
- Combines strength, power, conditioning, and core exercises
- Can implement unilateral, multi-planar, and corrective exercises to further enhance metabolic demands and correct asymmetries and functional movement patterns
- The workouts themselves are MORE effective in terms of client’s results (improved fitness, weight loss, core strength, stability, etc) than traditional interval training
- Is much more engaging and fun, and has a lot of room for variety
Below is an example of what a Metabolic Conditioning workout would look like:
- Dynamic Warm-up (5-10 minutes)
- Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, and take 30 seconds in between exercises. After each round take a 2 minute break. Repeat for up to 4 rounds.
- Stability Ball Push-ups
- Slide Board Lunges
- Band Alternate Rows
- Kettlebell Deadlifts
- Stability Ball Knee Tucks
- Squat Jumps
Add a FINISHER for even more of a Metabolic Stimulus
- Sled Push and Ropes are always a great choice!
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