Let’s chat metabolic training. You've likely been hearing about it around the gym and on Instagram feeds for a while now, but what exactly is it and why does it work?
I personally love metabolic training and many of my In Your Corner workouts are exactly that. Let me explain:
Metabolic Training is a hybrid of resistance training and cardio interval training (or HIIT). It’s really the opposite of traditional resistance training or hypertrophy training, where you do a set of work (think bicep curls or squats), take a long break and repeat. Traditional strength training focuses on increasing muscle size, power and endurance. But it doesn’t necessarily incorporate the heart rate increase and cardiovascular component (or the SWEAT and breathlessness) that most of us crave when we workout.
Metabolic training ADDS to traditional strength training by often adding compound movements (think thrusters or reverse lunge + bicep curl) at a higher intensity with little to no rest between exercises. The result is pretty awesome, actually:
It increases calorie burn (during and after the workout)
Builds lean muscle mass while decreasing fat
Trains your body to burn more at rest
One thing that I love about metabolic training is that you can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Being a busy mom and business owner, effective and efficient workouts are crucial to my success in the gym. Metabolic training stresses the body by expending energy the during the entire length of the workout (which is why so much can be accomplished in 20-45 minutes). While I do incorporate rest into my workouts, our rest periods are often far and few between and shorter than a traditional strength training session. This is also why I often emphasize rest—not only do your muscles need an opportunity to rest, repair and rebuild, but the increased demand for oxygen during metabolic training is something your body needs time to adapt to. Therefore, taking the rests you are allotted during these workouts is crucial.
So, what are some examples of metabolic training?
Circuit training (doing exercises back to back and repeating sets quickly)
Superset/Giant sets (doing two/three + exercises back to back)
Combo training (doing both resistance and aerobic training—> Curtsy Lunges with weight to Skaters)
The examples used in metabolic training are endless, but here are a few that you’re likely familiar with:
Kettlebell or dumbbell swings
Pushups (alone or with any variation)
As you become stronger, metabolic training will become easier. You can always change it up by: increasing the duration of the sets (that also means, if your workouts sometimes seem to difficult, cut the set off by a few seconds and rest until you are ready to go the distance #noego), change the exercise (take the option to progress or if needed, modify the movement), or increase the resistance (pick up heavier weights!)
I want to tie this back to nutrition quickly. During exercise (and in particular, strenuous exercise like metabolic training) our body calls on glucose (carbs) for energy. When it doesn’t have enough glucose it uses protein that is meant for building muscle. If we are not fueling our body properly by eating a balanced meal two to three hours before working out OR with a quick snack at least 30 minutes before our workout, it could lead to under performance and feeling gassed during our workout. Plus it can lead to losing muscle mass over time. Meaning, if you aren’t fueling properly, a lot of that work won’t be seen.
So, a balanced meal (fat, carb and protein) two to three hours before your workout or (especially for my early birds or those of you that run from meetings at the office, straight to a 5pm workout) a quick snack 30 minutes before. If you eat RIGHT before your workout, it could lead to an upset stomach which won’t help your performance either.
Finally, it’s important to get in a balanced meal AFTER your workout too. I love protein oats after a workout. It restores glycogen and gives me a quick hit of protein for muscle recovery.
Want to try a metabolic training session with me? I invite you to check out this 30-minute Total Body Strength session and report back!