Combining strength training and cardio can be like jogging with a barbell balanced on your back, and who could blame you? After all, our workouts are so often separated into neat categories: cardio or strength training.
While it’s hard to believe that there is a workout that perfectly combines the two, it seems like we’re all in luck. Metabolic conditioning, commonly known as metcon, is a fast growing style of training. If you follow fitness influencers on Instagram, you might already have a sense of the weighted, high-intensity nature of this style of workout.
And if you happen to have missed any of the metcon videos – of which there are nearly a million on the app – don’t worry, we’ve brought together fitness experts to reveal it all.
Kimberley Mitchell, personal trainer at OriGym says, “The main goal of metabolic conditioning is to increase your body’s energy consumption, this form of training is not designed to target specific muscles.” It’s a lot faster than cardio and it involves a much more intense workout.
With gym closures leaving people confined to workouts at home and away, many are looking for new ways to make their cardio routines harder. According to experts, metabolic conditioning may just be the answer.
METCON MAKES YOU STRONGER
If you’re no stranger to adding weight to HIIT and bodyweight workouts, metcon may not sound like much, but Steph Brand, personal trainer and general manager of UN1T, says it’s unique.
She explains, “Lifting weights under fatigue during a metcon creates a different type of stimulus, which can improve strength and help build muscle if done with a high protein, balanced diet. “
Mitchell says, “It definitely promotes the growth of lean body mass because it involves compound exercises performed at a much higher intensity. Several muscle groups are targeted at once and are forced to adapt to the new training conditions, which increases muscle definition.
She advises clients, “If you want to maximize changes in your body, set a new record, or hit a personal best, I always encourage you to give metcon a try. “
As your body never quite gets used to the unpredictable workout style, it can stimulate faster muscle growth. According to Aimee Victoria Long, personal trainer and founder of the Beautiful Method Body“You can see muscle building results faster by exhausting multiple parts of the body rather than just one area. Metabolic training is believed to help increase growth hormone levels in the body which means you will be able to recover faster and build lean muscle tissue.
METCON INCREASES YOUR RANGE OF OPERATION
As with all workouts that increase your heart rate, you can expect increased circulation from the Metcon workout. Where it differs from traditional cardio workouts like running or HITT is the inclusion of weights combined with high reps.
Brand says the benefits of training this way go beyond an increase in heart rate. She says, “Metabolic conditioning is great for increasing your GPP – general physical preparation – because it typically uses functional movements that prepare you for day to day living. Combined with the conditioning element, it also makes everyday tasks like climbing stairs or moving things easier without feeling exhausted.
The reason that metcon improves your body’s range of functions is that you don’t always do a defined workout, it’s like a fitness choice and mix. “It incorporates a number of different styles, including HIIT and cardio, while offering its own advantages as a hybrid style that has no defined exercises.” said, PT Kimberley Mitchell.
METCON FOR BEGINNERS
The good news is, you don’t need to have access to a gym or personal trainer to host your own metcon workout. For starters, “you can do this style of workout with just your body weight, but I would also recommend having a kettlebell or set of dumbbells to really reap the rewards,” says Long.
The PT says that the wording of your metcon sequence is simplified if you choose six exercises: “You will perform each of these exercises one after the other for thirty seconds. Once you have completed all six exercises, you get two minutes of rest. It’s a set – perform three to four sets in total.
Once you master the basics, she says, “you can do the exercises up to 8 or 10 or increase the time you spend on each exercise. You can also play with your rest between sets.
Stone advises beginners, “Remember, it’s only for 20 minutes and the intensity levels are determined by yourself. ”
Regardless of how often you choose to exercise during your metcon, Mitchell says to be careful and “start by adding one or two metcon workouts per week and take plenty of rest days to avoid exhaustion.” .
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