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Metabolic Conditioning & Exercise: Key to Better Performance


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If you are a fitness enthusiast, you might be familiar with the latest trend in metabolic conditioning & exercise. One of the primary benefits of this kind of training is that it gives:

  • Shorter workout intervals
  • More calories burn

Metabolic conditioning & exercise refers to a structured pattern of work and rest period to elicit the desired response from the body. Generally, this desired response maximizes the efficiency of the energy system. Three primary pathways fuel the body during exercise that is:

  • The immediate
  • Immediate
  • Long-term pathway

Metabolic conditioning abbreviated as MetCon, use the immediate and immediate energy pathways. MetCon allows the body to burn fuel at moderate-intensity to high-intensity intervals. Several programs are on the list of metabolic conditioning & exercise, such as CrossFit, insanity, and P90X.

Let us explore everything about MetCon and exercises!

Metabolic Conditioning & Kinds of Workouts

The term metabolic conditioning does not refer to a specific workout. Generally, it focuses on the two primary energy systems contributing to exercise effectiveness.

In metabolic conditioning, the primary target is to focus on the intensity and time you spend doing the exercise. The metabolic program contains moderate-intensity activity, high-intensity activity, and both. You can use a variety of different exercises for a MetCon program, such as:

  • Upper-body exercises
  • Lower-body exercises
  • Full-body exercises
  • Cardio exercises

The advantage of a metabolic conditioning program is that it can be tailored to each person.

Also, Read – Loose Skin After Weight Loss: How to Get Rid of It?

Types of Metabolic Conditioning

MetCon training comes in various forms. The one you choose should depend on your goals and your job.

  • Tactical metabolic conditioning is suitable for firefighters, military or law enforcement personnel, and others who regularly engage in demanding physical activities. 
  • Metabolic conditioning to enhance athletic performance. For example, a triathlete might use MetCon to train for upcoming events. 
  • For everyday health and fitness, which is how most of us will utilize the training.

How to do Metabolic Conditioning?

Metabolic Conditioning & Exercise

You might be wondering about how to practice metabolic conditioning & exercises. Sometimes you do not free or ready for the intensity of the exercise you find in CrossFit and P90X. In that case, you adopt a workout that prepares you for the rigorous demand of metabolic conditioning.

Whether you are performing strength circuits, cardio circuits, or a combination, circuit training replicates one element of MetCon by compelling you to move from one exercise to another with either short rests or no rests in between. Practice your exercises one after another with 30 or more seconds between each set.

As your fitness improves and you become accustomed to the rigors of the training, start reducing the rest each time, decreasing the rest intervals by 10-15 seconds, or, eventually, removing the breaks altogether. This simple act will increase the metabolic demand on your body, and that is what MetCon is all about. 

Changing the metabolic demand of your body is as simple as:

  • Lifting heavier weights
  • Working harder in cardio exercise
  • Adopting interval training
  • Performing a combination of exercises
  • Introducing a short burst of cardio

Some people interchangeably use the terms metabolic conditioning and high-intensity interval training. Typically, these are not the same.

MetCon describes exercises that vary from moderate to high intensity. You can complete them in 20 minutes using energy pathways. The primary goal of metabolic conditioning is to improve aerobic and anaerobic pathways.

However, HIIT involves exercises performed at greater than 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. These exercises are vigorous and the interval times are specific 20 to 30 seconds.

Also, Read – Exercising on an Empty Stomach – Is It Safe to Workout?

Pros and Cons of Metabolic Conditioning & Exercise

Before practicing metabolic conditioning & exercise, it is crucial to consider the pros and cons of metabolic conditioning. Here are the pros and cons of metabolic conditioning:

  • Spending less time at the gym
    Generally, all the MetCon programs are complete in 20 minutes. So, you can work out effectively without spending hours in the gym.
  • Burn More Calories
    All the metabolic exercises are designed to perform at moderate to high intensity. A higher heart rate during the exercises allows your body to burn calories more effectively.
  • Improve Lean Muscle Mass
    Numerous research studies have indicated that moderate and high-intensity training reduces body fat percentage. Additionally, all these training exercises and regular workouts improve your lean muscle mass.
  • Improve Metabolism
    One of the primary benefits of metabolic conditioning & exercise is that it allows muscles to burn more calories than fat. So, you can use metabolic conditioning to tone your metabolism.
  • More prone to Injuries
    Starting a new program brings some injury risk. Several research studies conclude that overexertion leads people to emergency conditions. Sometimes it happens due to a lack of education and preparation.
  • May Require Gym Equipment
    Gym memberships, and even at-home gym equipment, can be expensive. Although neither a gym nor professional equipment is required, they can help create a more varied routine.
  • Contraindicated in certain conditions
    Exercise is generally regarded as safe for most of the population. However, it’s always important to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program.


Generally, MetCon depends on your goals and fitness level. It is necessary to follow a balanced nutritional plan tailored to your needs. Whether practicing CrossFit or P90X will help you gain muscles, lose body fat, and improve cardiovascular health.

Whenever your workout becomes challenging for you, build your strength and endurance before tackling the MetCon challenge.

If you do not know where to start metabolic conditioning & exercise, hire a trainer. Also, numerous gyms offer specialized CrossFit and other metabolic conditioning programs.

Final Words

Metabolic conditioning & exercise contain moderate and high-intensity that can improve your body’s energy system. Though MetCon includes numerous training programs, the popular one is CrossFit.

Metabolic conditioning is a very efficient and effective form of training that can boost calorie burn, increase cardiovascular capacity, and maintain muscle while building functional strength. However, it is very challenging, so you must speak to your health care provider before starting.

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