Metabolic Conditioning or MetCon as it’s popularly called is one of the buzziest trends in the fitness industry. MetCon can also refer to high-intensity training or HIIT. For those new to training, these terms may not seem as familiar as concepts like aerobics or cardio. So, what is MetCon or HIIT exactly?
HIIT or high-intensity training provides us with a clue to what this workout is all about. Unlike traditional cardio or strength training, HIIT or MetCon involves a high workout rate with short recovery intervals. You will usually be challenged with a circuit-type, total body workout. This results in more calories burned. If your fitness goal is to lose weight HIIT or MetCon training could be for you. MetCon actually works for most fitness goals and people looking to build muscle, strength and endurance should consider MetCon workouts as well.
If you’re new to the gym, there are workouts you may have heard of that actually subscribe to principles similar to that of MetCon. CrossFit is a good example as it’s all about pushing your body to the limits with fast-paced cardio and strength exercises.
Metabolic conditioning in the more literal sense refers to a type of workout that’s meant to challenge two major energy systems. The large muscle groups are engaged and multiple joints and muscles are involved and utilised in movements. Meanwhile, the high-intensity aspect makes your heart increase and blood pump. You will truly feel the burn with MetCon!
MetCon has other benefits beyond burning calories, although it’s a significant benefit. This is because high-intensity training has been found, through several studies, to promote the production of hormones that aid in “lipolysis,” which is the technical term for fat loss. The average calorie burn during a 30-minute MetCon workout is around 500 calories. Another plus you gain from MetCon is an increased cardiovascular capacity. MetCon training may not be as aerobic as jogging or swimming, but it can increase maximal oxygen uptake in exercisers.
If MetCon seems overwhelming that’s because it can be. In fact, it’s recommended that for people starting out MetCon training should be guided and supervised by a trained professional. You may even want to consult your doctor to avoid any complications when undergoing MetCon training. MetCon will take your body to the next level, drastically improving your fitness. However, the volume and intensity may be too much for beginners and could result in injury, burnout, severe muscle soreness and a hasty desire to quit.
If you don’t think you’re ready yet for MetCon or HIIT workouts, you can work your way up and prepare your body for the rigorous demands. Start by getting your body used to circuit training. You can do strength, cardio or a combination of both. Perform exercises as usual, but with 30 or more seconds in between each set. You can eventually decrease the time to 10 to 15 second intervals. You could also mix up different elements of your workouts. For example, lift heavier weights or introduce short bursts of cardio into your regular training.