Have you ever wondered why the guy or gal you see spending an hour on the treadmill at the gym every day, never seems to look different? Chances are probably good that they are spending an excessive part of their time exercising in a way that promotes the wrong type of metabolism. Any time you are performing physical activity, that activity can be broken down into two types of metabolism. Aerobic metabolism or anaerobic metabolism.
Aerobic metabolism is any form of exercise that is done with oxygen. When you think of running for long periods on the treadmill or stationary bike, or even a 1 hour long Step Class…that’s going to be aerobic in nature. When you are doing this type of work, your body is utilizing oxygen while you go about your moderate intensity workout session.
Points to Know About Aerobic Exercise
- Low to Moderate Intensity levels
- AKA “Endurance Training”
- Utilizes Slow Twitch muscle fibers
- Can be performed for long periods of time, because the cells are able to get plenty of oxygen for as long as they need.
- Relies on Fat as a primary fuel source
Aerobic exercise is basically any sort of activity that you can do that lasts longer than a couple of minutes. Walking, jogging, cycling, treadmills, and swimming, are all examples of aerobic exercise. This type of training is great for improving heart function and burning calories.
The second type of exercise is Anaerobic Exercise, which simply means “without oxygen”. This is very intense, short duration exercise that cannot utilize oxygen during the movement.
Points to Know About Anaerobic Exercise
- Very Intense in nature (sprinting, weight lifting)
- Does not utilize Oxygen
- Utilizes the body’s glucose/ATP stores as fuel (does not use fat as fuel)
- Utilizes Fast Twitch muscle fibers (more powerful muscles with less endurance)
- Can create the effect known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), with will lead to a higher calorie burn for hours following the workout
Basically, if you want to take your fitness to the next level, it’s anaerobic training you should be focusing on. It sucks. It’s hard to do, you’ll sweat more. It will create some discomfort. And that is why most people don’t do it. But, those who do…see great results.
Metabolic Conditioning Training
Metabolic Conditioning Training can best be described as moving from one complex movement to the next with little to no rest in between so to increase the overall metabolic output both during the workout, as well as once the workout has been completed.
Almost all metabolic training programs share two things in common that help practitioners burn more calories during the workout and after.
- They use large complex movements that work multiple muscle groups at once
- They utilize very brief rest periods between sets, which in turn keeps the heart rate elevated.
Those who regularly perform metabolic conditioning training style workouts see increases in fitness levels, cardiovascular and strength endurance, total fat burned (both during workouts and rest), and lean muscle mass.
Metabolic Conditioning Training is simple a more effective way to optimal health for most individuals.
Why Metabolic Conditioning Works
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Fat-Burning Zone”. You’ve either heard it from a trainer or an online article or video, and they were talking about long form cardio benefits if exercise is maintained at a specific heart rate over an extended period of time. Since we know that slow to moderate cardiovascular workouts exclusively utilize fat stores as fuel…this method is not wrong. But can we do better?
When you do the math (in this case adding up the total number of calories burned), metabolic training always comes out ahead. If you were to run on a treadmill for an hour straight at your “fat-burning zone heart rate”, you may average 4-5 calories burned per minute. Over the course of a 60 minute workout that is a total of 240 to 300 calories.
On the other hand, a person who does 20 minutes of metabolic conditioning (MetCon for short) can expect to burn up to 10 calories per minute. That’s a total of 200 calories in 1/3 of the time! But wait, there’s more!
As I indicated before, one of the best things that Metabolic conditioning has going for it is the fact that you can continue to burn calories long after your workout is finished. This is due to a concept called EPOC, also known as Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. It is also sometimes referred to as the “Afterburn Effect”.
EPOC refers to the increase in total energy expenditure after a workout has been completed to return the body to homeostasis. This is what workout styles like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Metabolic Resistance Training, etc. are designed to do.
Those who engage in metabolic training on a regular basis experience increases in their overall fitness levels. They have improved strength endurance, and improved cardiovascular fitness levels. They also have increased fat burning rates, as well as accelerated levels of lean muscle mass development.
When it comes to ranking fat loss workouts, metabolic conditioning wins hands down is all categories.