Discover the difference between metabolic resistance training workouts and plain ol’ strength workouts in this new article by Certified Turbulence Trainer, Mike Whitfield.
The battle of metabolic workouts vs. strength workout has been epic. Let’s say we have one guy that we call Larry (because his name is Larry) and one woman we call Sally (probably because her name is Sally).
Metabolic Shampoo or Strength Conditioner?
Larry digs metabolic workouts while Sally is a fan of strength workouts. Then they start arguing with each other; and it’s like that awesome scene in “Billy Madison” when Billy has a battle between the shampoo and the conditioner. “Shampoo is better, it cleans the hair!” “No, conditioner is better, it makes the hair silky and smooth!”… something like that. I love that scene, or better yet, that movie. Awesome, I’m off track.
Just like shampoo and conditioner, metabolic workouts and strength workouts actually compliment each other. You don’t have to choose one over another. They both help you with fat loss. They also allow you to do cool stuff like this:
1) Keep your strength while you lose fat
2) Add a new dynamic and challenges to your workouts
3) Improve your conditioning
4) Gain muscle and lose fat (say it ain’t so!)
First, let’s take a look at metabolic workouts. Some people want to just sound cool so they say, “Yep, I’m going to the gym and doing a metabolic workout”. Then they end up sitting on the bike for 45 minutes and do a set of jumping jacks at the end. How about, “No.”
Metabolic workouts are intense, fast-paced supersets and circuits with less rest, yet with less resistance and usually more reps. They usually include a variety of bodyweight movements, some KB exercises, and even some TRX exercises. It’s like taking a bucket down to the Good Times River, filling it up, and pouring it all over yourself.
For example, a metabolic workout might be a circuit of 10 exercises, starting out like this: KB Swings, Superman Push-ups, Lunge Jumps, and Ab Wheel Rollouts. That’s just the first 4 moves, so your body and brain are all like, “Oh crap! What’s going on? I don’t know! We better burn fat until we know though!”. Seriously, it’s about getting a metabolic response and burning tons of calories in a short amount of time.
Strength workouts use more resistance with typically more rest than metabolic workouts. For example, your first superset would be a Deadlift (8) and a DB Chest Press (8). By the way, if you’re ever really short on time, that superset gives you a lot of bang for your buck for time invested. It’s nasty, but very effective – you’re welcome.
There are also strength circuits, but either way, strength workouts are designed to reshape the body while blasting fat. Would you like a conversation outlook on this one? Sure thing – your brain and body are all like, “Oh my gosh, why is he/she lifting such heavy objects? My muscles are all torn and stuff. Now I’m going to have to burn a ton of calories so I can repair them. What will I use? Oh cool, I’ll use this belly fat”.
Strength training also allows you to keep your strength while dropping fat. By keeping or even improving your strength means you’ll be lifting more weight. When you lift more weight, you burn more calories. Burning calories rocks – we all know that.
Here’s the thing – our bodies can only take so many intense metabolic workouts (if done with the right intensity). The same goes for strength training. Although they give us the same outcome, which is a better physique and improved health, you can only perform each of them so many times a week before burning out yourself and your nervous system.
How about we get the best of both worlds from metabolic workouts and strength workouts? We can improve our conditioning and blast fat with the unique dynamics and challenges that metabolic workouts give us, and we can keep or even improve our strength while even gaining muscle with strength training workouts. Boom goes the Awesomeness dynamite! Here’s how – this is an example of how to incorporate both into your program:
Mon – Strength Workout
Tue – Metabolic Workout
Wed – Rest
Thu – Strength Workout
Fri – Metabolic Workout
Sun – Rest
It goes without saying that you should probably do SOMETHING on your off day, but not something that doesn’t allow you to recover. Keep it simple and light – like a walk with the dog, a leisurely walk or jog, or beating up a printer that doesn’t work; things like that.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, what about those awesome workout finishers?”. If you’re not thinking about that, I’ll wait until you do.
Good? OK, great.
Here’s where to “plug in” some metabolic finishers – after your strength workouts. Why? If you do a metabolic workout correctly, you will find that you basically wouldn’t be able to perform a finisher at the end of it. Your shirt can only get so wet. Honestly, it’s not needed. A quality metabolic workout will be enough stimulus to your nervous system.
Take a look at the big picture. You’re working out 4 times a week, and 2 of the workouts are metabolic workouts. By adding finishers at the end of the strength training workouts, you end up with the perfect blend of strength and metabolic conditioning effects, including gaining muscle and burning fat at the same time.
Hip-hip hooray for fat burning and muscle building, while not burning out. On a side note, when trying the type of schedule above, especially with TT’s Metabolic Resistance Training, I would actually recommend just sticking to the program without the finishers and see how the body responds before implementing them.
Metabolic Workouts FAQ
Question – Why can’t I just do metabolic workouts every day?
Answer – Because your nervous system wouldn’t be able to handle it, and by incorporating heavy resistance training, you can keep or improve your strength
Question – Why can’t I be awesome and perform finishers at the end of metabolic workouts, too?
Answer – If you have enough fuel to perform a finisher at the end of a metabolic workout, you didn’t perform the workout with the right intensity. It’s just not needed
Question – Why do you say the words, “boom goes the _____ dynamite” in just about every article?
Answer – I don’t know really. It’s just one of my things. Why are you asking a non-fitness related question here?
Alright, enough with the fun. That’s a wrap of the difference between strength workouts and metabolic workouts; and how to incorporate both of them into your program.
Boom goes the….. nevermind.
Certified Turbulence Trainer