What Are Metabolic Workouts And What Do They Do?
Metabolic training is a hot topic right now. Everybody seems to be doing it or at least talking about it. But what is it? Basically, it is a mixture of compound and structural exercises that are performed with very little rest in between. The goal is to burn a greater amount of calories by increasing the rate at which your metabolic system works. The metabolic rate, if the workout is done right, remains high even after the workout has been completed.
What Do Metabolic Workouts Look Like?
If you speak to someone who has done a metabolic workout, they will usually tell you that they are incredibly hard, but also a great deal of fun.
“The workouts move quickly, the exercises are constantly changing, and it forces you to use your entire body as a unit— the way it’s intended to move—instead of performing the same repetitive moves for set periods of time, a la steady-state cardio.” – Muscle and Fitness
One of the reasons why it is so popular is that you don’t have to go to a gym in order to take part in it. It is the perfect workout for people with a busy lifestyle, who simply don’t have the time to invest in their fitness goals. The majority of metabolic workouts simply use your own body’s weight, which means you can do it anywhere and anytime. To make it more difficult, you could add dumbbells, but this is not an absolute necessity.
The Metabolic System
The workouts are based on the metabolic system. This consists of three pathways, the first being the immediate system.
“Commonly referred to as the creatine phosphate pathway, think of this system as the fastest and most powerful method of getting energy.” – Mens Fitness
You use this part of your metabolic system when you do short burst activities, lasting no more than 10 seconds. It only takes this system between three and five minutes to recover, which means that you can do a lot of exercises and not be exhausted. This is why the immediate system is key in a metabolic workout.
The second pathway is the intermediate system. This is what makes it possible for someone to have sufficient energy for workouts that last up to four minutes. The recovery time is even quicker, being just one to three minutes. This is the system you use when you lift heavy weights, or when you go for a short run for instance.
Finally, there is the aerobic system. This system is used during aerobics, which last for as much as an hour. The pathway is fueled by something we have almost limitless supplies of: fat. Furthermore, it only takes a few seconds for it to recover.
The Benefits of Metabolic Training
As you can see, metabolic training is hard work because it uses all three pathways in high intensity bursts. This means that you will truly feel the burn and that fat will start to melt off at a very fast rate. But what kinds of benefits does it actually offer for you to do things this way? The first major benefit is that it improves your cardiovascular capacity.
“While metabolic training is not “aerobic” like going for a jog, some studies have shown anaerobic exercise such as HIIT can increase in V02 max beyond that experienced by exercisers following an aerobic program.” – Built Lean
Secondly, your hormonal profile will be greatly improved. This is particularly important for those people who want to build significant muscle definition. Finally, it promotes serious calorie burn. What these three main benefits mean is that metabolic workouts are great for anybody. Whether your goal is to lose weight, to build muscle or both, it will address it.
An Example Workout
There are many workouts available online or in local gyms that you could follow. However, let’s look at one example in particular.
“Probably the easiest form of metabolic training is in the form of timed sets, such as 1 min of exercise followed by 15 – 30 seconds of rest. This format would usually be repeated for about 10 – 15 minutes.” – Completely Fit
It is up to you to decide what the parameters of these sets are. It could be jogging, squats or bench presses, for instance. To determine how to fill in your workout, you should first think about what it is your are trying to achieve. Then, focus on one body part at a time and work that out, such as your legs, and then do another body part the next day. It is recommended to only focus on one area of your body at a time.