By Lynette Laufenberg
It’s 2014! Did you make it through the month of December without gaining weight?
If you didn’t manage to skate through without a few extra pounds, consider the latest research on metabolic training. Proven to produce faster results for muscle gain and fat loss, this style of training is sure to get you on the right path to a fitter you in 2014.
What is Metabolic Training?
The short definition of metabolic training is completing structural and compound exercises with little rest in between exercises in an effort to maximize calorie burn and increase metabolic rate during and after the workout. Something known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) will enable you to continue to burn additional calories long after you have completed your workout. Your metabolism (a.k.a., your metabolic rate) is how many calories your body burns at rest.
Metabolic Training Uses Large Muscle Groups
Structural and compound exercises are types of exercises that require the maximum amount of energy, because multiple joints are involved. An example would be a squat with a press. Sitting down and doing a biceps curl is the exact opposite of hard-core metabolic training.
Metabolic Training is High Intensity
Metabolic training is high-intensity anaerobic exercise that makes 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.
Metabolic Training Makes You Feel the Burn
A metabolic workout should help create a burning sensation in your muscles as you are working out. While the depth of the muscle stimulation from metabolic training is not as deep as a bodybuilding program where you hit one muscle the entire workout, it’s still significant.
It’s not clear exactly what causes muscle burn (the old theory of lactic acid build-up has since been debunked). We do know that along with an increase in muscle burn comes a favorable hormonal response to help the body burn fat and/or build muscle. I’m a big believer in working muscles intensely and going for that muscle burn.
Metabolic Training Benefits
1. Improved cardiovascular capacity — While metabolic training is not aerobic, like going for a jog, some studies have shown anaerobic exercise such as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) can cause an increase in maximal oxygen consumption beyond that experienced by exercisers following an aerobic program.
2. Improved hormonal profile — Several studies have shown that hormones that promote lipolysis (the technical term for fat loss), namely testosterone and HGH, increase as a result of high-intensity strength training. I don’t want to bore you with all the studies, but strength training in general has been shown to help improve hormonal profile, and metabolic training is debatably the best type of strength training to elicit the most powerful hormonal response.
3. Serious calorie burn — While calorie burn studies come to different conclusions as to the total calorie burn of metabolic training, it certainly burns a ton of calories. The calorie burn during a workout is easily around 500 calories for a 30-minute workout, but it also increases metabolic rate from anywhere between 10 percent to 25 percent for up to 48 hours, with some studies showing an increase in metabolic rate for up to even 72 hours. This equates to hundreds of extra calories, which over the course of a few workouts can become significant.
Intuitively, I think the “after burn effect,” as it’s called, makes sense, because you are shocking your body, creating an oxygen debt (i.e., excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and causing muscle damage (in a good way), which the body needs to repair to become fitter and stronger. This extra repair to get your body back to homeostasis requires a lot of extra energy. From my practical experience, the metabolic effect of intense strength training is real and powerful.
I think making your workout more metabolic is worth a try. Our BCx Boot Camp program follows this regimen specifically and does it all within a group setting with our highly qualified BCx trainers to guide you. If you need assistance in creating a metabolic workout program for you personally, speak with me or one of our certified personal trainers.
Here’s to a fitter you in 2014!
Lynette Laufenberg, a certified personal trainer, is program/fitness director at Ultima Fitness/Xtreme Tae Kwon Do. Ultima is located at 12799 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 795-2823 or visit www.ultimafitness.com.