Everything You Need to Know About Metabolic Resistance Training
CrossFit seems like a very tough workout, but people that do it seem to love it. They also seem to get results. CrossFit is a kind of metabolic resistance training. MRT programs like CrossFit involve high-intensity exercise that pushes your oxygen consumption to the max. MRT workouts burn a lot of calories, and they do it in a short amount of time. In addition, as a result of an oxygen deficit, your body keeps burning calories for a while after you finish the workout.
Sounds great, right? There’s a lot to be said for it, that’s for sure. But metabolic resistance training is hard. It’s also not suitable for people who are new to exercise, or who have certain health conditions. Also, it can be easy to injure yourself if you’re not careful. On the other hand, the payoffs can be amazing. Is metabolic resistance training right for you?
WHAT IS METABOLIC RESISTANCE TRAINING?
The goal of metabolic resistance training is to work out to the point of oxygen debt. This oxygen debt allows your body to keep burning calories even after you have completed your workout.
Metabolic resistance training routines involve combining numerous exercises with little to no rest. That creates an oxygen deficit. Ideally, you’re supposed to perform multiple metabolic resistance exercises that work various muscles at the same time. It, in turn, allows you to rest other muscle groups without necessarily taking a rest in between. These exercises often consist of high-intensity resistance training, aerobic exercise, and lactate threshold exercises.
EPOC AND HOW TO MAXIMIZE ITS BENEFITS
When you’ve completed a metabolic resistance training workout, your body will experience excess post-workout oxygen consumption (EPOC). That’s a fancy way of saying that your body continues burning calories long after your workout has ended.
The high volume of exercise you put your body through in a limited amount of time is what creates EPOC. For this reason, you need to ensure you are training the right way to achieve EPOC. Otherwise, your workout will not be as effective.
AEROBIC VS. ANAEROBIC EXERCISE
To understand EPOC better, you need to be able to differentiate between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pounding and your lungs working. That can be anything from jumping rope, jogging, cycling, and calisthenics, which are all aerobic exercise. On the other hand, anaerobic exercise is exercise that is intense enough to create an oxygen debt. How can you tell the difference? Well, if your exercise puts your heart rate at between 70 and 80 percent of your maximum, you’re doing aerobic exercise. If your heart rate is at 80 percent or more of your maximum, you’re in the anaerobic zone.
EPOC comes into play when your body has created an oxygen debt during anaerobic training. Your body has to repay this debt. That happens when you complete the workout. Once training is over, your body will begin recovering the oxygen at a faster rate. That elevates your metabolic resting rate; hence the term metabolic resistance training.
WHAT MAKES YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE A METABOLIC RESISTANCE TRAINING WORKOUT?
To be considered metabolic training, your workout needs to meet specific criteria. For one, your routine should be a combination of multiple total body movements. Also, you should be working out at a maximum level of intensity. Lastly, you should begin “feeling the burn” as you work out; this is a sign that lactic acid is developing in your muscles.
EPOC AND HOW TO MAXIMIZE ITS BENEFITS
So, how do you train at a maximum intensity level, build up lactic acid, and combine multiple movements? It is achievable through resistance training. Essentially, you need to do various heavy weight lifting exercises back to back with little rest in between your sets.
The best thing about metabolic resistance training is that it gives you both a resistance training cardio and strength workout. It also allows you to get in and out of the gym faster compared to other types of exercises. An MRT workout typically takes 20-30 minutes to complete. For this reason, metabolic resistance training is one of the best workouts if you want to get the best results, but you don’t have a lot of time.
WHO BENEFITS FROM METABOLIC RESISTANCE TRAINING?
Now that you know what metabolic resistance training entails, is it right for you? While everyone can benefit from this type of routine, you can benefit more from this routine if you:
- Are looking to enhance your cardiovascular fitness level
- Want a short but high-intensity workout
- Need to gain muscle but still look lean
- Are looking to burn fat but maintain lean muscle mass
- Have a limited amount of time to work out
- Want to increase your overall strength
- Seek to feel more athletic and still look good
- Want to challenge yourself
- Need additional conditioning for sports training sessions
WHO SHOULD NOT DO MRT?
Do not perform metabolic resistance training workouts if you’ve recently suffered from an injury since this workout is very intense and may increase your likelihood of injuries. If you’re just getting started with your fitness journey, you should also refrain from this exercise because the movements are very intense and require a good base of resistance and strength training. Anyone who has a health condition that may prevent them from working out at high interval levels should also refrain from doing metabolic resistance training workouts.
Of course, if you’re new to exercise, or just getting back into it, always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
ADVANTAGES OF METABOLIC CONDITIONING WORKOUTS
So, what do you stand to gain by doing metabolic resistance training? This workout comes with a lot of benefits if you do it right.
IMPROVED CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS
Any workout that elevates your heart rate and keeps it elevated works towards improving your cardiovascular fitness. Since you’ll be doing multiple exercises back to back, your heart rate will remain elevated throughout the routine. However, this will not happen overnight. You need to be consistent to reap this benefit.
INCREASED FAT BURNING
Metabolic resistance training is also very effective for burning fat. The best thing about this workout is that you not only burn fat while working out but also when you are done exercising due to the oxygen debt created. This makes it an excellent workout for individuals looking to lose weight or build muscle mass.
IMPROVED MUSCULAR STRENGTH
As we mentioned before, metabolic conditioning workouts involve a lot of resistance training. As a result, you build muscle strength and endurance when you do metabolic resistance training workouts. It is better than cardio workouts, which give you the metabolic boost but don’t necessarily increase your muscular strength.
IMPROVED INSULIN SENSITIVITY
Metabolic resistance training is also effective in improving insulin resistance. Research has shown that physical activity can increase insulin sensitivity for at least 16 hours post-exercise in both healthy and insulin resistant individuals. Therefore, when you add this workout to your routine, you not only stand to lose weight and gain muscle. This workout can help to keep your glucose levels lower.
BETTER SLEEP QUALITY
Similar to other types of exercises, metabolic resistance training improves your sleep. That may be because exercise reduces anxiety and stress and causes your internal body temperature to increase thereby causing you to feel sleepy.
Another good reason to add this workout into your routine is that it reduces stress. Working out causes the body to release endorphins — chemicals in the body that act as natural painkillers. They not only improve sleep but also relieve stress.
ARE THERE DISADVANTAGES?
Metabolic resistance training is not a walk in the park. Because this exercise is strenuous and quite challenging to do, you might face a few challenges.
MRT MAY BURN TOO MANY CALORIES
Burning more calories may be good news to someone who wants to lose weight. However, if you’re the type of person that can quickly lose weight by skipping a meal, you might end up burning more calories than you want on this routine. This means you will need to adjust your calories to your workout to ensure everything is at a balance. Otherwise, you might end up with a drastic metabolic shift.
YOUR FITNESS MAY BE A HINDERANCE
If you’re just getting started on your fitness journey, your fitness level may hinder you when trying to keep up with what a metabolic resistance training session requires. However, this is something you can improve on if you maintain consistency.
If you enjoy working out for 60 minute long intervals with up to 5 minutes of rest, a metabolic conditioning workout might be tough and very painful for you. The pain is different from what you experience while doing cardio workouts. You not only feel it afterward but also during the workout itself. Nonetheless, this pain pays off very well.
YOU SWEAT A LOT
Unlike most cardio exercises, you will sweat a lot when you begin metabolic conditioning workouts. It is probably because the movements are swift and you get very little rest in between the sets.
SAMPLE METABOLIC RESISTANCE WORKOUT
To get the most from a metabolic resistance training workout, you need a well-structured plan. We’ve shared a sample metabolic conditioning circuit that you can do one to three times depending on your fitness level.
Remember to do the exercises back to back within little rest in between. Beginners can rest for 1 to 2 minutes while advanced athletes can rest 20 seconds or less. For the exercises that require weights, choose heavier weights that challenge you for the best results. For the first round, give 70 percent of your maximum output. In the second round, give 80 to 90 percent and 90 percent and above for the third round.
Here’s a sample MRT workout from Bodybuilding.com. For all of these, do 1 set of 20 repetitions.
HOW TO ADD METABOLIC CONDITIONING WORKOUTS TO YOUR ROUTINE
So, how should you add metabolic resistance training workouts to your workout routine?
If you want to include a full body metabolic conditioning session in your routine, you need to have a day off from other forms of weightlifting before and after metabolic resistance training sessions. The rest days are important because they allow your body to recover after the intense workouts. However, you could do some light cardio on your days off if you do not want to stay inactive all day. If you want to include other types of resistance training, you can do so, but ensure you have two days off before and after your metabolic resistance training sessions.
BLAST THE FAT WITH METABOLIC RESISTANCE TRAINING
As you have seen, there are a lot of benefits you stand to gain by incorporating metabolic resistance training into your workout routine. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or build your endurance, this is an excellent workout to try. However, like any other exercise, you need to be consistent to yield results. Before you incorporate this workout into your routine, make sure you consult your physician to know whether or not you’re in the right health condition to do so. It may also be a good idea to work with a trainer if it’s your first time working out. Having someone to guide you through it will help you minimize the likelihood of suffering injuries.