Metabolic Workouts

What are Metabolic Workouts?

Metabolic workouts are designed to get you working harder in order to burn more calories in a shorter period of time. The idea that you need to work out an hour a day for some people is not good news, as we are all busy and trying to find the time can be difficult.

Matt O’Neill has recently released Episode #13 of Metabolic Jumpstart TV – “Why Metabolic Workouts?”, explaining what they are, and why you should be including this form of exercise in your program. You can see the video and full explanation here on Matt’s YouTube Channel.

It used to be that you could get away with exercising 30 minutes a day, 3 times per week, but things have changed because we are spending more and more time sitting down, whether through business or pleasure, in front of tv or computer screens.

The problem with sitting is it causes a new thing called “inactivity physiology“, which is causing us many health problems. The answer is of course, to exercise more, to move more and burn more.

How do we burn more calories?

As Matt suggests in the video, what we need to do is rethink our approach to exercise and physical activity and the effort we are prepared to put in.

By using the Physical Effort scale, a tool provided in your motivation pack as part of the Metabolic Jumpstart Program, we can see exactly which level we should be aiming for in our workouts.

A quick example of how the Effort Gauge works:

No effort = sitting down, burns around 1 calorie per minute
Extreme physical activity = sprinting for example, burns around 9 or 10 calories every minute

As a general rule, and this applies to any form of exercise, the harder you workout the more calories you will burn. By exercising at a higher intensity we are multiplying our resting rate. So for example if we were burning 5 calories per minute, we would be exercising at 5 times out resting rate, which of course is a good thing.

Check with your doctor first if necessary before commencing any exercise program of course.

The 3 levels of activity within the Physical Effort scale

1. Health Movement = Purple Zone (1-3)
Very light or no effort. Basically just doing very light movement or incidental exercise, like performing every day tasks, going for walk, etc. This is a good and necessary part of daily activity to help prevent cardiovascular disease but as the movement is performed at a very low intensity, not many calories are expended.

2. Calorie Burning Exercise = Green Zone (4-5)
Moderate or comfortably challenging. This is a very common level of activity most seen by people walking to burn calories which can be maintained for quite some time, eg. 30-60 minutes, as the level of intensity is again quite low to moderate.

3. Metabolic Fitness = Yellow to Red Zone (6-9)
Somewhat hard to very hard. The results of this can be a build up of lactic acid and/or muscle soreness which can appear uncomfortable at first, but after a workout this can also be a sign that you have done a really good job as you have been working in the metabolic fitness zone.

You may need to build up your fitness to achieve this level of energy expenditure and this is where the help of a personal trainer can assist you to do this safely and using the most effective metabolically challenging exercises.

A very common example of this would interval training – a period of intense exercise followed by a rest period, then repeated for the prescribed time frame.

What are the benefits of exercising in this metabolic zone?

Matt says “A little bit of extra effort gets fantastic results”, and the 3 main benefits of this extra effort are:

1. Fitness – you burn more calories by getting fitter, which really spells out getting more done in less time. This is a great thing! 20-30 minutes at the gym performing exercise or metabolic workouts at a high intensity can result in dramatic changes to your shape and ultimately your metabolism improves.

2. Building or maintaining muscle – We lose muscle as we age which can be avoided, but by keeping muscle, every kg you keep or build you burn an extra 10 calories every day. So by increasing your lean body mass (LBM) your body becomes more efficient at burning calories.

3.  Boosting the activity of the mitochondria – At an unseen level, this is responsible for burning calories 24 hours a day, so we don’t just want more muscle, we want metabolically active tissue which is a result of exercising in the Metabolic Fitness zone.

If you have just been doing walking at a moderate level and not getting results, consider lifting the level of intensity at which you work, and consider metabolic fitness and adding metabolic workouts to your routine.

To contact a Fitness Australia registered personal trainer that can provide metabolic workouts and more, and to assist you getting started with Metabolic Jumpstart, call 08 8378 1379, we are an official partner of the Metabolic Jumpstart Program.