You have probably heard the word “metabolism before” and “training” but not together.
Could this new way of training actually mean you train to increase your metabolism? Yes
indeed. If you are tired of training and not getting results, then this might just be what you
A typical metabolic training session consists of structural and compound (mixed) exercises
with very little rest in between. You push your heart rate up to a maximum for short burst,
in order to burn of the most kilojoules, and by doing so, increasing your metabolic rate
during and after the exercise session – hence the name Metabolic training.
If you are still confused, read on and you’ll soon see it is not such a difficult concept to
grasp. The whole realizations of the effectiveness of the technique came about when
exercise scientist noted that men working on farms doing short, intense and functional
movements with weight, like carrying heavy “mealie-meel” bags and shoveling hay, were
actually showing more effective metabolic rates than the muscle man in the gym, who
pumps iron rep by rep, night by night.
By doing structural and compound exercises, one requires a maximum amount of energy
because multiple joints are involved like a Squat with a Press (picking up a bag of sugar for
example). Sitting down and doing a biceps curl would be the exact opposite of hard core
This high intensity anaerobic exercise (not with oxygen like a slow walk for example)
meaning it should leave you breathless. If you are completing a metabolic workout and you
are not breathing hard and sweating, something is wrong. Ideally you should be lifting as
heavy as you can and resting as little as possible between sets. But before you get worried,
this type of training is very short compared to usual training methods. Metabolic training
will be done for a maximum of 30 minutes, but usually 25 minutes is the ideal.
…and not to be done every day! This high intensity exercise is best done with at least a day
or two afterwards to give your muscles a good recovery period.
So can you do this type of training? If you are in good health, but only have limited time for
exercise, then this is ideal; also if you want to see results -a short session with a looooong
The “afterburn effect” as it’s called makes sense, because you are shocking your body by
creating an oxygen debt (i.e. excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), and in a good way,
causing muscle damage. The muscle repair is required in order for you to be become fitter
and stronger. This repair does not come cheap; it requires a substantial amount of energy
from your body. And with all this considered, don’t forget that having more lean tissue
(muscle fibers), your metabolic rate increases.
For each kilogram of muscle you have compared to fat, your metabolism increases
significantly: 1 kilogram of muscle will burn 11.36 kJ per day compared to 1 kilogram of fat,
burning only 3.79 kJ per day.
Metabolic training is definitely the best type of high intensity strength training and studies
have shown that this type of training increase the hormones that promote lipolysis
(breakdown of fat).
So why wait any longer, get your water bottle and head out for a typical session of 1 minute
jump squats, with 30 seconds rest, and then you go again with push-ups followed by rest.
All for just 25 minutes – not too good to be true!
© René Jv Rensburg, 2012.
(Registered Dietitian and Group Exercise Instructor for Virgin Active)