Maximize Results with Metabolic Training

Woman doing a Kettlebell swingIt’s officially spring and that means skimpier clothes are right around the corner. Feel your body isn’t quite ready for that? Be fit and boost your exercise results by cranking up your workouts to stoke your metabolism.

Firing up your metabolism is a way to increase your body’s ability to burn calories — you want that, so your body will still be helping you work on weight loss even when you’re not working out. Enter “metabolic training.”

There are several ways to approach this training goal, but one common method is to focus on using larger muscle groups to burst through some intense moves, while incorporating shorter rest periods in between sets. In other words, you want to working hard, through exercise intervals or circuit training.

This style of workout has been shown to maximize exercise effectiveness, and also Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means that for many hours after training, the body burns more calories than it normally does.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), intense weight training and/or circuit training with very little rest, give you the most bang for your buck in terms of that EPOC after-burn. So you can spend your spring getting leaner, faster with these moves—and be ready to hit the beach this summer!

Increase Intensity

A cornerstone of metabolic training is, to put it simply, working harder. Adding intervals—those are short, repeated time periods—of increased exercise intensity brings a special boost to your body systems.

Easy Example: You typically spend 30 minutes on a cardio machine, 5 warming up and 5 cooling down. Take the middle 20 minutes of your workout and add 30 second bursts every two minutes. Pick up your pace, resistance, or incline, going hard as you can. Once you get better at that intensity, you can lengthen the time of your intense intervals.

Hit the Circuit

Training in a circuit simply means moving through a certain selection of exercises, one after the other, then you will repeat the whole cycle. It’s best to stick with exercises that you feel comfortable with and can perform safely with good form, since your goal is to move at a clip-along pace.

Easy Example: Perform each movement in the bodyweight training circuit below for 60 seconds (aim for about 20 – 30 reps). Rest for 30 – 60 seconds (walk, lift knees, hold a yoga pose) before moving to the next exercise. This will take about 12 minutes. Three circuits equals a 36-minute metabolic push.

  • Squats: Wide stance, straight back, sit into rear, don’t drop knees over toes
  • Burpees: Also called squat thrusts—crouch down, legs back, in, jump up, repeat
  • Kettlebell Swings/ Medicine Ball Thrusts: Hold those abs, be stable, reach across
  • Step-ups: Use a stair, or stack of aerobic steps. Pick any pattern, go fast
  • Push-ups: No sagging in the middle, raising the rear or dipping the head

Heavier Lifting

The idea is to push yourself harder, without causing injury. Switching up your routine keeps your nerves firing in new patterns. When you bear loads in unexpected ways, it helps stimulate more muscle fibers, which is great for stoking those metabolic effects.

Easy Example: Being able to progress your workouts in this way depends on your training experience and fitness level. Some people put together two exercises, or do “supersets” of opposing muscle groups, like chest and back. Others like combining upper then lower body moves, like dumbbell bench press then dumbbell lunges. Pick a few of your favorite combos, then try resting for 45 seconds between each superset.

X-IT is a great metabolic workout geared towards hours of post-workout caloric burn.
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