If someone asked you the best way they could go about the goal to burn fat, what would you tell them? If they really wanted to know how to lose weight, what direction would you point them in?
Many people, when asked these questions, would answer that cardio is the sure-fire method to a lean body. Spend as much time as you can on the bike, elliptical, or treadmill so you can burn as many calories as possible while on those machines.
If you were a little more involved in the fitness community and had done your research, you might answer that question differently.
You might state that HIIT, which stands for high intensity interval training, is the best method to burn fat. This method involves alternating between very intense bouts of cardio exercise with active rest periods. For instance, you might sprint for 30 seconds and then rest for 60 seconds after that. Repeat this 10-15 times and then call it a day.
Proponents of this approach state that HIIT will not only burn calories while you are doing it, but also help to burn calories for a few hours after.
And they are right… it does.
But what if I told you there was an even better manner in which you could burn fat from your body?
A way that would literally have you burning fat 24 hours a day? A method that would basically change the way your body utilizes fuel, helping you burn extra energy rather than store it?
That’s what I’m here to talk to you about today.
How To Burn Fat With Metabolic Training.
If you want to discover the way of the future in terms of the best fat burner exercise option, this would be it.
Let’s talk about what metabolic training is.
A Lesson In Metabolism
Before we talk too much about the actual exercise component of metabolic training, I want to be sure that you fully understand what your metabolism stands for and represents.
Your metabolism essentially refers to all the processes and reactions taking place in your body on a day to day basis. Digesting your food is part of your metabolism. Repairing muscle tissue and bone is also a part of your metabolism. Ensuring that your body is producing adequate white blood cells is also going to get placed in with a ‘metabolic’ event.
Think of your metabolism as representing all the various tasks that occur inside your body on a day to day basis.
Your metabolic rate then refers to how fast or slowly those tasks are moving along. How much does your body execute in a given day? And more importantly, how much energy does it use while executing those tasks?
Someone with a slow and sluggish metabolic rate is going to execute those day to day tasks slowly. They burn energy at a snail’s pace and while they may eventually finish the job, they do so in a very energy efficient manner.
Someone with a fast metabolic rate on the other hand is more like a Ferrari. They burn through fuel but get to the finish line very quickly.
These are the people who naturally tend to be lean because their body uses fuel up almost as quickly as it comes in. They also tend to have a higher amount of total lean body tissue.
Muscle mass, at rest, burns far more calories than fat mass does, so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be.
So as you can imagine, if you want to lose body fat, you need to become more like that Ferrari.
You want to change your body so that rather than burning fuel slowly with a sluggish metabolism, you burn fuel rapidly.
At the end of the day, this is what will get you and keep you leaner. Imagine if you could burn calories 20% faster 24 hours a day? What would that look like?
Basically, you’d be losing weight faster or you could eat 20% more food and your rate of weight loss would not change.
However you choose to look at it, you come out ahead.
The real secret to a successful fat loss journey is to train your metabolism to become faster. It’s to convert your body into a fat burning furnace, rather than a body that stores energy and runs extremely slowly.
This is the goal with metabolic training
What IS Metabolic Training?
What is metabolic training and how can you get in on this fat burning secret?
When looking at training, you likely know of three different options.
Steady State Aerobic Training
Steady state aerobic training is your classic ‘cardio’ training. Get on a cardio machine and start it up, not moving from your place for a good 30-60 minutes.
Boredom will likely set in, but keep doing your time. Eventually it’ll be over.
This form of cardio does very little to condition your metabolic rate so the calorie burning stops when you do. Plus, it also wears out your joints over time as the repetitive motion damages your ligaments and tendons.
It is not a smart way to go about fat loss goals.
Interval Anaerobic Training
Next you have interval anaerobic training. This is the HIIT that we referred to earlier.
This type of training helps you burn calories while you do it, as well as for a few hours after as your body recovers.
This is referred to as EPOC, which stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption. This form of training is short and sweet, typically lasting around 20-30 minutes.
It’s still done on cardio machines but since you’re constantly changing paces, it tends to be less mind-numbing compared to the aerobic option noted above.
Then you have weight lifting. Most people think of weight lifting not so much as a fat burning activity but more as a muscle building one.
You go to the gym and start lifting the heavy weights. Do a set. Rest. Do another set. Rest again. That’s the drill.
If you manage to build some lean muscle mass through weight lifting, this will translate to you maintaining a higher resting metabolic rate as we noted above.
So while you may not think of weight lifting as a fat loss exercise, indirectly, it can very well be.
Furthermore, weight lifting is the only form of exercise that has the capability to completely transform your body. You can begin to build muscle in all the right places, changing not only how much fat you have, but the entire shape of your physique.
If you want to make a transformation, weight lifting if often said to be the form of exercise to do.
Now, metabolic training is going to combine those last two. You are going to mix the concept from HIIT with the form of weight lifting.
This way, you get the strong muscle building benefits that weight lifting brings combined with the metabolic enhancing benefits that HIIT offers.
All in all, you get an unbeatable form of exercise that will dramatically transform your body.
What are all the benefits to metabolic training? Let’s take a look.
The Benefits To Metabolic Training
The benefits to metabolic training are numerous. Here are the main ones that you need to know about.
- Increased resting metabolic rate
The first benefit is what we’re talking about all alone – an increased metabolic rate.
This training won’t just increase your metabolic rate for a few hours however, it can elevate it for 24-48 hours depending on how hard you work.
So three workouts a week is all you may need to burn fat faster all week long. If you ever have wanted to burn fat while you sleep, this is the exercise that will help you do just that.
Additionally, metabolic training can help you utilize body fat as a fuel source better. One study published in the Annales de réadaptation et de médecine physique noted that when subjects performed metabolic training, they showed decreases in total body fat loss, a preservation of lean muscle mass loss, and an increased ability to oxidize lipids after their training.
So not only will you burn fat faster, but you’ll also become more efficient at using fat as a fuel source.
- Improved functional strength
Since you will be performing some weight lifting exercises while doing metabolic training, you’ll also get improvements in your functional strength level.
You’ll notice you get stronger and that everyday activities you may have been performing before start feeling easier.
Plus, if you happen to participate in any sports, you’ll see performance increases there as well.
- Enhanced muscular development
Let’s not forget how metabolic training will change your physique. You’ll start noticing greater muscle tone and definition and if you’re a man, you may also notice muscle size gain.
Women tend to get firmer and tighter while men tend to get larger and more defined.
- Enhanced Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity refers to how well your body utilizes insulin that is excreted from the pancreas in response to consuming carbohydrates.
Those who have good insulin sensitivity tend to gain less overall body fat compared to those who have poor insulin sensitivity.
One great thing about metabolic training is that it will help to decrease fasting plasma insulin levels while also decreasing signs of insulin resistance, as was demonstrated in a study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
This means you get and stay leaner, while also potentially warding off diabetes, which is a condition that occurs due to insulin resistance.
- Improved lung/heart capacity
You might think that without official cardio training, you won’t reap heart health benefits. It’s time to think again.
Metabolic training is excellent for improving your heart and lung capacity as you’ll be keeping your heart rate up the entire session.
Think of metabolic training like interval training at the highest level to get a good picture of what this form of training will do for your heart health.
It will far surpass any form of steady state cardio session you could have been doing.
- Decreased stress/increased endorphin release
Another cool benefit you’re going to get from doing your metabolic training is lower stress levels and an enhanced endorphin release.
Ever notice how after a very intense workout session, you radiate a natural glow? And I’m not just talking about the rosy cheeks you display thanks to the exercise.
I’m talking about that feel good sensation you have going on where nothing seems to stress you and instead, you’re calm, peaceful, and clear-headed?
That is endorphins at work. These are chemicals that are released in the body at certain times that impact the way your think and feel. When you do intense exercise like metabolic training, these chemicals will be released and you’ll be feeling better than ever before.
This can help lower stress, which, as you may already know, is one of the deadliest killers out there.
If you are experience high levels of stress on a day to day basis, this can go a long way towards helping you combat that.
- Less taxing on your joints/tissues
If you’ve ever done the distance running thing or perhaps you’ve just spent countless hours on a bike while trying to burn off those final stubborn five pounds, you likely were met with some form of joint pain.
An aching back. Sore and tender knees. A troubled ankle. Whatever the case was, you were in pain and it wasn’t pleasant.
Much of the joint issues that people experience are due to overuse reasons, especially when repetitive exercise is being performed.
Metabolic training does away with this. Since you’ll be constantly switching gears at every minute during the workout, you’ll never be doing one exercise for what feels like hours at a time.
This means less stress is placed on the joints, ligaments, and tendons. In fact, due to the nature of the exercise, you might actually be able to build up your tendons so they are stronger than ever before.
- Neurological adaptations
The next great thing that happens with metabolic training is that you’ll receive neurological adaptations.
What’s this? Basically, it’s training for your central nervous system. Because these sessions are so very intense, you’ll be taxing this part of your body upon which, it will then grow stronger than before.
You know how your muscles break down and come back stronger? The same goes for your nervous system with regular metabolic training.
This will condition you and help you become the strongest athlete you can be.
There you have a look at the main benefits you’ll receive from starting a metabolic training plan. Hopefully now you can see just how great this form of exercise truly is.
If you want to transform your body and burn fat faster than you ever have before, metabolic training is the exercise to do.
Structuring Your Metabolic Training Program
So now that you know all about metabolic training, how do you do it? How do you shape your program so that you receive these benefits?
The first thing to note is that metabolic training is not cardio training. Despite the fact it’s a great fat burner, it’s not going to the gym and utilizing one of the cardio machines.
Instead, you will be performing common strength training movements alternating with popular bodyweight conditioning exercises.
So for instance, you might perform a set of barbell squats and then immediately after that, go into some push-ups.
Then once those push-ups are finished, it might be time for a round of burpees.
Then once that’s done, you might rest for 30 seconds before repeating the entire circuit again.
There are three main requirements to designing an effective metabolic conditioning program. These include:
- Compound Exercises
The first of the requirements is compound exercises. When structuring your workout program, you’ll want to use those moves that hit multiple muscle groups all at once.
Think squats. Think deadlifts. Think push-ups. Think rows.
If it hits more than one muscle group, it’s fair game to add to your program.
The reason you want to use compound exercises and not say a bicep curl or lateral raise is because these are the moves that will require the most energy from the body.
Think about it. What is going to tire you out more? A squat or a lateral raise? The answer is clear. The squat demands a great deal of energy while a lateral raise you can do without too much effort.
Since metabolic conditioning is all about getting as much energy from your body as possible, these compound exercises lend very well to that.
Plus, they’ll help get your heart rate up higher, faster. The more muscle fibers you work at once, the higher your heart rate will become.
- Full Body Nature
The second requirement of metabolic conditioning is that it’s full body in nature. Basically, you are going to hit every muscle group in every workout session.
This goes hand in hand with those compound exercises we noted, but in addition to that, you need to plan to properly hit all your major muscle groups.
Alternating between upper body exercises and lower body exercises for instance is perfect as it allows you to hit all your muscle groups while still allowing parts of the body to rest while the others are working.
This minimizes the next requirement….
- Little Rest Time
Lack of rest. You don’t want to spend minutes resting during your metabolic conditioning program. You are there to train and train you will.
This is not a time to chat with your workout buddy about your weekend plans or to spend a few minutes by the water cooler filling up your water bottle.
There will be time for that later. During your session, you are working – full out intensity the entire way through.
While you will likely need to have short 30 second or so rest breaks after so many exercises to help catch your breath, these shouldn’t become standard practice during metabolic conditioning.
Take as little rest as you need, but do make sure you rest enough to maintain proper form. That should be your motto.
If you can abide by these three rules as you form your metabolic conditioning program, you should be feeling quite confident you are setting it up perfectly.
How long will these sessions last?
Expect them to last around 20-30 minutes for the average trainee, 30-45 minutes for the more advanced trainee, and 45-60+ minutes for the elite athlete. Most people will never get beyond the 30 minute mark and that’s fine. It’s better to perform them to a higher intensity and keep them shorter than it is to try and push the duration but lower the intensity as a result of it.
Intensity is key to success with metabolic training.
Adding This To Your Program
Hopefully you’re excited about what metabolic conditioning has to offer. Now that you know about it and likely want to add it to your program, how do you go about doing so?
Before you dive in, here are a few things to know.
First things first, start slowly. Don’t try doing four metabolic conditioning sessions next week or you’ll be on a fast-track to burnout.
Do one next week and see how you feel. Then if all is good, add a second. Try that for a while and if you’re still recovering well and feeling great, add in a third session.
Many people will see fantastic results just doing two or three metabolic sessions per week.
Remember that you need to accommodate these sessions to the other workouts you are doing as well. If you are doing a number of heavy weight lifting workouts for instance, you simply aren’t going to be able to do many metabolic conditioning workouts as well.
Something has to give as the body still needs time to rest.
So assess what is most important to you and then prioritize your sessions from there.
Mind Your Nutrition
Next, make sure that you are practicing good nutrition. This form of training is very demanding on the body and it’s not going to happen if you are using mediocre nutrition.
Eat to perform – remember that. You need a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates prior to doing this session, so pay attention to your pre-workout nutrition.
If you want your body to become a Ferrari, you need to put in premium fuel. If you are only giving yourself low-grade gas (or not gas at all!), your car is not going to go.
Finally, make sure that you are always focusing on a good warm-up. You just can’t dive into this high intensity of exercise without a good warm-up or injuries will happen.
Take 5-10 minutes before the session starts and perform a thorough warm-up. You’ll feel more ‘in the zone’ as you get started and chances are, you’ll be ready to exercise harder because of it.
So there you have the facts that you need to know about metabolic conditioning. If you are serious about making positive changes in your body, learning how to burn fat effectively, and becoming as healthy and fit as possible, this is the training to do.