Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon)

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Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon)

If you thought your short intensive workouts were hard, perhaps you should try Metabolic Conditioning (or “MetCon” as it is fast becoming known worldwide). A variety of individuals use MetCon, including mixed martial artists, soldiers and actors who need to get into incredible shape fast for movie roles.

What is Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon)?

MetCon is not a separate workout of its own, rather it incorporates a different set of training tools with the same goals: boost the muscles to build endurance for a harder workout. The core goal is to achieve muscle conditioning, but MetCon also burns a substantial amount of fat, builds stamina and endurance, and builds muscle at an accelerated rate.

Although it may sound like a new form of training, MetCon has been around for a fair amount of time in various forms.

MetCon incorporates various exercises to manipulate the tissues of the body. It is not a test of the heart and lung functions like cardio, nor does it break down muscle fiber like bodybuilding will, but the styles of exercises work out the body so profusely as to cause it to become skilled at driving energy from each cell.

History of MetCon

Personal trainers who like to push their clients to incredible heights of stamina often incorporate MetCon type workouts. Mark Twight from Gym Jones put the actors in the movie 300 through a brutal training regime to get them looking like Spartan warriors.

The early days of hunting and sprinting for animals, then carrying the food home is a form of MetCon training. Likewise, wrestlers must build strength and conditioning in muscles, plus endurance, while keeping their body fat percentages extremely low. They focus on MetCon-style workouts as well.

True fitness is rarely about the new fitness crazes, but the focus upon the training tools that do work…and quickly. However, tough workouts are often avoided, because most people want to stick to the easy workouts that boost the heart rate and burn fat loss consistently. I have always held a belief that tough training is the best way to improve fitness, stamina, endurance, and muscle strength.

Easy training will not build a bigger, stronger heart, and I will firmly stick to those beliefs until the day I die. Training like MetCon will be hard, but it also pumps out endorphins way beyond those experienced in any regular workout. MetCon is not easy, but would the military, martial artists, and law enforcement officers use this type of training otherwise?

MetCon Training

Intensive Interval Training Cardio-type exercise performed for a short time, with a rest period, and the sequence is repeated, e.g. sprint fast for twenty seconds, and rest for five seconds.
Circuit Training Hop from one exercise to the next without stopping, with only a short rest period between transitions.
Pairings Choose two exercises, and alternate between the two with short rest periods throughout.

Work and rest periods have a place in MetCon, but each session packs in as much pain as you can possibly take. Put in the effort, and the body will adapt very quickly. I read about MetCon training several years ago, and I tried one of the recommend workouts. Sprint for ten seconds, rest for five seconds, then sprint again until twenty reps had been completed. It almost killed me. It sounds easy, but it is extremely tough.

A MetCon training session will last from 5-20 minutes, never more, but the results are worth the effort.

Why MetCon Works

When used correctly, MetCon gets the body into the fat burning zone, boosts endurance and conditioning, and enhances fast muscle gains. Consistent exercise performed on an exercise machine does work to push the body into a fat burning zone, but only during the workout. There is no afterburn continuing long after the exercise has been completed.

MetCon pushes the body to the level of survival, and this is when it will undergo drastic changes. The body will adapt to any type of training one throws at it, and MetCon forces the body to adjust quickly, so the next time you try the exercise, it may feel a little easier.  The difference with MetCon is that the exercises change so that your body is constantly working to adapt. The real change takes place AFTER the workout.

The production systems in the cell walls boost to a biochemical level, which then releases fat burning hormones that work on releasing fat to be used by the body, while the other hormones release to boost both the size and density of muscles. When this happens, the energy demands in the body raise to cope with this extra intensity.

This is where old fat cells come into play, providing the energy. Research on MetCon training has shown that the body’s demand extra energy continues for hours, even days, after the workout.

MetCon Incorporates Both Rest and Play

The harder the workout, the less effort and time you can put in until the body becomes fatigued, and requires rest. It is impossible to sprint a marathon. Likewise, the body is unable to squat a heavy load of weights for ten straight minutes. You can work a set of muscles until they turn to jelly, but rather than rest, work another muscle group while the first set recovers.

MetCon makes use of these training situations. Kettle bells and sandbags are perfect to use with MetCon training. They tax the muscles in such a short space of time, forcing you to rest, but the body will quickly adapt.

Sample MetCon Workouts

Magic 50 Workout by Ross Enamait 5 dumbbell snatches per arm5 dumbbell swings per arm

10 burpees

Rest sixty seconds and repeat five sets

Gym Jones Conditioning Circuit 15 kettlebell swings, or use a similar sized dumbbell15 burpees

20 box jumps (20” box)

Try to do as many sets as possible in twelve minutes.

If you want to train like the stars, and achieve the fitness of the military men, try MetCon Training. It will burn off your old fat stores as energy, build incredible stamina, endurance, and strength, and add lean muscle mass.


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