So what exactly is Metabolic Training? The subject is very vast with many variations. But to sum it up quickly and easily, it's large multi-joint movements (working many joints and muscles in one single movement) combined with limited rest periods. This has a number of benefits. First of all, because you're doing big movements like Squats, Mountain Climbers, Burpees, etc, you're not only taxing your muscular system, but you're also taxing your cardiovascular system. This in turn will have benefits for your lymphatic system and other bodily functions. Second, you're getting an even better workout because you're combining it with short rest periods. Studies have shown that the most work done in the least time will give you the best results. Third, because of all these demands on the body, your body will experience EPOC. This stands for Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. In other words there is an oxygen debt that has been created and it has to be paid back. The end result is that your body remains in fat-burning mode for many hours EVEN AFTER THE WORKOUT IS FINISHED! This is also nicknamed "THE AFTERBURN EFFECT".
In fact, Metabolic Training has been scientifically proven to be more effective for fat loss than steady state aerobics such as treadmills and bicycles. Not that I have anything against those exercises, but they are just not the MOST effective thing for fat loss and certainly not for muscle tone and strength. But with that being said, I generally recommend people to include some form of gentle aerobic exercise such as walking into their daily routine. It helps with additional calorie burning and it's also very relaxing and enjoyable especially when you do it with a friend or loved one.
Now when it comes to the various methods of fat loss, there are several methods which I'll go over below.
1) MODERATE CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE - Exercises such as walking, bicycling, elliptical machines, swimming, etc. The simple rule is that these exercises are easy enough to allow you to talk, but hard enough so you can't sing. There are different recommendations, but generally 150 to 300 minutes per week is what you should aim for. This breaks down to a brisk walk for 20 to 40 minutes a day. It's not as hard as it sounds. If you really look at your day, you may be able to squeeze in more walking. For example I often park my car near the outside perimeter of the parking lot so I have to walk further when I do my shopping. I often walk to school with my daughter in the morning which is 20 minutes right there. If you have a dog, you're set for sure. Personally I practice a form of walking I call QIGONG WALKING.
2) HIIT WORKOUTS This falls under the category of Metabolic Training. This stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It optimizes calorie burn and also brings on the Afterburn that was mentioned earlier allowing you to burn fat even hours after the workout is finished. HIIT can be done with any exercise by alternating intensity. For example, you can sprint for 1 minute and then do a light jog for 2 minutes. Usually it's a 2 to 1 work to rest ratio. You could do squats for 30 seconds and then rest for 15 seconds. Of course this can be altered depending on your fitness level. It works very well with bodyweight exercises like Squats, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, etc. but can also be done with equipment. I often do HIIT with dumbbells. Also, martial arts at a higher intensity such as punching and kicking can be used as HIIT as well. Two to three 20-minute HIIT workouts a week will work wonders! The key is to minimize rest between the exercise maintaining a quick pace.
3) CIRCUIT TRAINING - This can easily tie in with the HIIT workouts. It's very common to arrange HIIT workouts in a circuit to maximize it. For example you could do Squats followed by Pushups followed by Mountain Climbers followed by Jumping Jacks followed by Burpees. You could then rest for a couple of minutes and repeat the circuit 1 or 2 more times. It can also be done either by time or by counting repetitions and can be combined with other techniques as well.
To really sum it up, remember this saying "BIG MOVEMENTS, SMALL RESTS". If you keep this in mind, it will make much more sense to you. Forget about those old myths that tell you to do "Shaping Exercises" or single joint exercises with tiny dumbbells. It may be better than nothing, but it certainly won't give you the type of results you're after and definitely not in the same time period! Metabolic Training is tried and true and the results speak for themselves. Legendary bodybuilder and trainer to the stars VINCE GIRONDA used to train many of his clients using this type of training. He often had very limited periods of time to whip them into shape since the film studios needed the actors for specific roles by specific dates. One routine that he really liked a lot and which I used to good effect as well is the 8 Sets of 8 Reps Method. With this method, you choose one exercise per bodypart and do it for 8 sets of 8 reps with only 30 seconds rest in between. It's an incredible workout for your muscles as well as your cardiovascular system. Truly Metabolic Training at its finest! He also liked Circuit Training and other forms of HIIT and alternating intensity.
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