Monday, August 29, 2011

Metabolic Training: The Ultimate Training Method

RHF uses metabolic training to help maximize your fitness experiences…

Metabolic Training is the ultimate fusion of anaerobic strength and aerobic cardio exercise and adds a new twist to classic routines of the past…

A metabolic workout is essentially a total body interval workout using short, max effort anaerobic work periods (typically 15-60 seconds in length or 5-15 reps) performed in an alternating set format (such as supersets, circuits, complexes, Tabatas, etc.) with short, incomplete rest periods between exercises (typically 10-30 seconds in length for optimization).

The high training intensity builds strength and muscle, jacks up anaerobic metabolism, and creates a large post-workout after burn for up to 48 hours after completing your workout.

The high training density, or work completed per unit of time or reps, causes a great deal of direct calorie burning during the workout to best stimulate fat loss.

Finally, the negative work-to-rest ratios (e.g. 20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest or 10 reps/10seconds) inherent to the vast majority of metabolic workouts create a cumulative fatigue that also stimulates aerobic metabolism and thus provides incredible cardiovascular benefits.

That being said, metabolic training is for the strong minded and strong hearted and it's all about working as hard as you possibly can at your current fitness level. Outlined below is a general criteria to follow to ensure you do just that:

4 signs you need to work harder…

1.) Lack of Muscular Burn:
Anaerobic exercise with short, incomplete rest periods creates a great deal of lactic acid accumulation causing intense muscular fatigue and burning. Simply put, your muscles need to burn or you need to work harder (create the right training environment). However, this never means that you need train to muscular failure on every set. However, for the optimal training effect you should come close to but stop just before technical failure, the point at which going any further would compromise proper exercise form and technique.

2.) Lack of Personal Confrontation:

Studies show that training intensity, rather than volume (increased sets or duration), determines the degree of metabolic boost from a given workout. That being said, you need to have at least a couple moments during your workout when you feel like you want to quit or you hate your life. Progressive overload remains the hallmark of any solid fitness routine and you need to push past your comfort zone or your body will stop responding to ANY routine. This is the man in the mirror test!

3.) No Sounds of Exertion:
You need to grunt, groan, huff and/or puff! Your heart rate should be up the whole workout with your lungs working overtime. In other words, these total body workouts create a systemic effect that activates your body's fight or flight response to help you go the distance. You never have to scream like a rabid animal, but it is ok if you pipe up some. Finally, I think another good analogy is the 4 letter word test- if you are fighting back the burning desire to yell out a profane 4 letter word or two, well then you're probably working pretty hard.

4.) Lack of Sweat:
A good metabolic workout will have you glistening during the first couple minutes of the workout and your shirt should be soaked halfway in. You should be dripping in a pool of your own sweat at the end of each workout. If so, you did use heavy enough loads or advanced enough exercises variations to create a desired metabolic disturbance (training response). Either that or you were optimal in your rest/recovery between sets. In general, you should never take more than 60 seconds of rest between sets with metabolic training and 10-30 seconds seems to be the sweet spot.

Four Signs You Are Working Too Hard…

1.) Diminished Training Intensity:
In general, if you need to reduce your training loads from set to set, then you're probably working too hard. Your goal is to be able to use the same loads at the end of the workout that you used in the beginning without excessively resting before increasing the loads in the subsequent workout. The only exception here is if the workout actually calls for you to reduce your loads throughout the training session. In addition, it's better to go into a given work period with a general rep range to work within. For example, if you were using 30-second work periods, a typical rep range within that time frame is 8-12 reps if you're moving at the typical 3-4 second per rep tempo. If you're getting more than 15 reps, the loads are too light. If you're getting less than 6 reps, the loads are too heavy.

2.) Excessive Resting:

If you are being forced to rest/pause a couple times during a work period, or you're resting longer than your rest periods allow for, you're probably working too hard. If you choose the appropriate exercise intensity, you should be able to train with minimal if any stopping during the work periods within your workout. As the workout progresses, a brief 3-5 second pause here and there to reset and reload is fine, but if you're taking any longer than that and stopping constantly, then you need to reduce your loads or regress the exercise appropriately.

3.) Excessive Breathing:
A good workout will have you breathing hard as your body's demand for oxygen increases, but you should never be completely out of breath or gasping for air. If you start wheezing or coughing, that's a clear sign to stop exercising immediately. If symptoms persist, it could be related to exercise-induced asthma or another serious condition and you should seek immediate medical attention. It's important to note that larger individuals with more muscle mass will have greater overall oxygen demands and will thus be more prone to being out of breath than their smaller, less muscled counterparts.

4.) Dizziness or Blurred Vision:
If you get dizzy or have vision trouble during any portion of exercise, then you're probably working too hard. Either that or you could be experiencing a migraine or vertigo or have symptoms of low blood pressure, dehydration, or lack of nutrition. If this condition persists, you must immediately discontinue your fitness program and seek medical attention.

Stay tuned for more great information on many of the RHF news feeds…


  1. This is an excellent example of the "unmarketed" educational amenity that comes with an RHF membership. Thank you Rocky for being a great teacher!


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