Metabolic Conditioning and Exercise

If you've been following something related to exercise, you're probably familiar with the latest trend: high intensity training. This type of exercise offers two very important things that other exercises do not: shorter exercises and more calories burned than you would find with most traditional cardio or strength training exercises.

Also known as MetCon, this type of training involves a very high work rate while using exercises that burn more calories during your workout and maximize the calories burned after your workout (or, as this period is often called, "afterburner"). ).

These challenging high intensity circuit exercises generally involve total body composition exercises and short recovery intervals. The shorter recovery time allows you to spend more time in your anaerobic zone, a level you should stay at for about 2 minutes before stopping and resting.

You'll find a variety of programs that incorporate metabolic training such as P90X, Insanity, and CrossFit, all of which push the human body to its limits with fast-paced aerobic and strength exercises designed to build strength and endurance.

What is metabolic conditioning?

The term "metabolic conditioning" does not describe a specific workout. Rather, it refers to a type of exercise designed to challenge the two main energy systems that contribute to the effectiveness of exercise. Strength training relies more on the phosphocreatine ATP energy system to meet our immediate fuel needs.


MetCon training comes in many forms. The one you choose should depend on your goals and, in some cases, your job.

  • Tactical metabolic conditioning for firefighters, military or police and others who regularly engage in demanding physical activities.
  • Metabolic conditioning to improve athletic performance. For example, a triathlete can use MetCon to train for upcoming events.
  • For everyday health and fitness, this is how most of us use training.


Whether MetCon is for you depends largely on your goals and your fitness level. As long as you watch what you eat, programs like P90x, Insanity, and CrossFit can help people lose weight. The large volume and intensity of the training ensure this.

However, the high volume and intensity of the exercise is best suited for people used to taking their body and training to the next level. Exercising that is too intense for beginners can lead to severe muscle aches, exhaustion, and injuries. If you don't work up to your workouts, you may find them so difficult that you give up entirely.

So if your workouts weren't particularly challenging, you should gradually build up your stamina and strength before taking on the MetCon challenge.

How to Prepare for MetCon

If you are not ready for the intensity of exercise that you will find in CrossFit or P90X, you can adopt an exercise program that will prepare you for the more difficult demands of metabolic conditioning.

Practice circuit training

Whether you're running strength circuits, cardio circuits, or a combination, circuit training replicates an element of MetCon, forcing you to switch from one workout to the next with short or no breaks. Practice your exercises one after the other with 30 seconds or more between each set.

As your fitness improves and you get used to the rigors of training, start reducing your rest intervals each time, decrease your rest intervals by 10-15 seconds, or finally eliminate your rest intervals altogether. This simple act will increase your body's metabolic demand, and that's what MetCon is all about.

Change training items

Changing your body's metabolic demand can be as simple as lifting heavier weights, working a little harder during your cardio sessions, adopting interval training, performing combination exercises, or introducing short bursts of cardio into your regular strength training program.

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Source: Vactive Training

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