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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

5 reasons to love metabolic weight training

I used to be one of those kids who blindly bundled into the local leisure centre gym with a list like this from Page 19 of Men's Health Issue 116.

Squat (with bad technique) 3 x 10
Leg press - hamstring curl 3 x 10 superset
Dumbell press 3 x 10 with small dumbbells
Bent over row (with bent back to contribute to spine fracture) 3 x 10 or until lower back hurts
Bicep curls 3 x 10 supersetted with tricep extension 3 x 10

You get the message....

This was before a 30 minute 'fat burning' run on the treadmill in front of 'A Question of Sport' on the TV.

Needless to stay I stayed skinny and never really saw any improvements in ANYTHING!

All I got was overuse injuries, boredom and flack from my Mum for taking so long at the gym that I was late for tea.

10 years on I am the world's biggest fan of metabolic weight training.


1) It involves weight training

Weight training which goes beyond pink dumbbells and aerobic-style step up and press manouevres, builds lean muscle tissue.

Lean muscle tissue burns calories so the more you have the more you burn!

2) It is also based around interval training

This not only causes a release of growth hormone to help with muscle growth but when done for short, near maximal bursts of 20 seconds, it uses mainly fast twitch muscle fibres which grow thicker and faster than the slow twitch fibres which domintate in steady state cardio.

Again this means more muscle and a greater metabolic rate at rest.

Also the anaerobic nature of well-performed interval training creates an oxygen debt. In other words, your metabolic rate will increase in order to haul in more oxygen for all the necessary repair processes including cooling your body down and removing lactic acid from your muscles.

It can take around 24 hours for full restoration to occur. String three of four such sessions together over a week and you have a recipe for a permanently elevated metabolism!

The beauty of intense, anaerobic interval based training, either in traditional cardio style or using weights (I love kettlebells!), is that if you work hard enough during the intense burst, your heart rate will fall between intervals but still be high enough to be within the 'aerobic zone' as people like to call it.

So you can see how anaerobic training can improve aerobic performance but NOT the other way around.

3) It is exciting and can be based around time challenges, repetition challenges etc

This means every sessions can and should be different - the key is intensity!

The variety means you are much more likely to stick to such a program.

4) You can perform such sessions anywhere and with any equipment.

Again the focus is on intensity rather than the monotonous repetition of having to perform 3 x 10 barbell back squats with 5kg more than last time, every week for 8 weeks.

5) You are more likely to develop different elements of fitness by combining power and strength work with anaerobic endurance thus becoming more athletic than the guy who may have big thick muscles but can't jump over a stray cat due to poor agility.

You may not become a specialist in any of them but you will have low body fat (if you're nutrition is right) and be a much healthier and athletic individual!

You'll also find that your aerobic endurance capacity gets ramped up at the same time with no real focus on it!

If you want to be a champion 10k runner you need to do long runs - fact.

Those who want a lean, atheltic body need metabolic weight training - fact!

What you thought you knew isn't working to have a think about opening your mind!


ksmall1998 said...

Great comments, Jon. I have found that all to be true. I have done great things with bodyweight, dumbbells, and now kettlebells exercises along with intervals. It works!!

starrider4 said...

Awesome examples Jon, I love going outdoors and finding ways to use the things in my environment to challenge myself. It's also great for people who can't afford a gym membership.

Jon said...

Thanks guys glad to hear you're already converts by the sound of it!

Gyms have been largely damaging to the fitness industry in my opinion but hey money and shiny stuff talks!

Kelley Moore said...

Jon, I LOVE this video of you training outside. Very innovative and inspiring. Really makes me think about my goals of fat loss and what I am doing right and wrong. Awesome and thanks for your post.