Traditional Cardio vs. Metabolic Resistance Training

You’re trying to lose the extra few pounds and you have been using the traditional cardio method to reach your goals. Lately it has been running at a moderate pace for 20 minutes about five times a week. It has been going pretty well, lost a few pounds, but somewhere in there you are plateauing. On top of that, it has been very very boring so you Google how to overcome the fat loss plateau. Somewhere on the internet you come across the term “metabolic resistance training” (also known as metabolic conditioning, or metcon). Now you are wondering if you should be switching methods. In this article, I will be breaking down the benefits of each and how to use each method. A personal trainer Gyms in Richmond BC can also differentiate each method.

So let’s define the traditional cardio method: it refers to any physical activity that’s performed in a rhythmic manner that raises your heart rate above resting levels for a sustained period of time. This can be walking, running, biking, elliptical or other sustained exercise. Majority of the people who want to lose weight automatically think of this method and in turn think of jumping on the treadmill. While cardiovascular effects do elicit a fat loss response, you do not need to have your heart rate elevated and sustained for 20 minutes.

Now, what is metabolic resistance training? This refers to a condensed training session that utilizes a very high work rate which induces calories burnt during and after the session. Today there are so many types of training take advantage of this effect including HIIT training, Crossfit and P90x. Many of these use resistance training (weights) for most, if not all, of the session. In other words, lifting weights during the near-fatigue state elevates the heart rate and thus burns additional calories.

Gyms in Richmond BC
Gyms in Richmond BC

So which method is better with regards to losing weight? In my experience, using the metabolic resistance training is a more efficient method towards the goal. With this method you are able to build lean muscle as well as getting the cardiovascular effects. In the realm of fat loss other than maintaining a caloric deficit, lifting weights and building lean muscle is your bread and butter. The more lean muscle you have, the more caloric output you are able to distribute. On the other hand, traditional cardio methods may help but its effect is negligible. One benefit of traditional cardio is to increase mental clarity. A personal trainer in Richmond can write a good metabolic resistance training program.

Now that we have agreed on metabolic resistance training reaps greater benefits compared to traditional cardio methods, we will dive into the different training tactics for this method. A very popular method is what is known as HIIT training – high intensity interval training. This is defined as intersperse bouts of high intensity of anaerobic movements coupled with lower aerobic intensity bouts. For example, a training session of 10 repetitions of burpees (high intensity) followed by two minutes of treadmill walking (low intensity). Scientific studies have showed that this type of training stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to burn more fat during and after the training session.

Another method of metabolic resistance training is circuit style training. Five exercises, for an example, are to be done in one round. Each exercise will be performed for a prescribed number of repetitions before moving onto the next exercise. Performing the exercise is considered the high intensity and moving onto the next exercise can be considered low intensity (given a break provided). The transition of high and low intensity provides a similar effect as the HIIT method described above. A personal trainer in Richmond uses circuit style training for the same effects.

A method that is quickly gaining popularity is the Tabata method. This method is used mainly with intermediate to advanced individuals as it utilizes very high intensity bouts with very little break. Tabata uses a single exercise with alternating intensity bouts. 30 seconds of high intensity movement is performed followed by 10 seconds of zero intensity. Taking the kettlebell swing for an example, we would perform the swing for 30 seconds then be off for 10 seconds. This would be repeated five to eight times.


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