Fat Loss Wars: Metabolic Resistance Training vs. Cardio

Exercise has come a long way over the years. Since the era of Arnold Schwarzenegger weightlifting and Jane Fonda aerobics, much has changed in the way workouts are programmed. Sure, weightlifting and cardiovascular exercises are still vital to a workout program, but it is the way the program is designed and the amount of time that you spend doing it that has been significantly altered.

A Brief History of Exercise

It was not too long ago when women were jamming fitness studios for their daily low impact aerobics classes and men had every bench in the gym occupied as they pressed their way to bigger pecs. The interesting part about this is that there was rarely a crossover of the two—the men steered clear of anything that went on in those studios and women would not dare step foot into a weight room.

Over time, however, women began to realize the importance of strength training and men realized that cardiovascular exercise was just as important to their program as well. What began to evolve were workout programs that combined the two. The fitness classes began incorporating weight training and heavy lifters began including cardiovascular exercises into their training program.

That Was Then, This is Now

When it became apparent that strength training and cardiovascular training were both equally important to overall health and well-being, people started wondering what was the best way to put these two components together. Spending thirty or sixty minutes doing cardiovascular work and then another thirty to sixty minutes of weight training seemed like a major time commitment—and a waste of that time.

What has been proven effective is what is known as interval, or circuit, training. In fact, research shows that men and women, even above the age of sixty, can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time with a circuit-based resistance training program. And that is without changing their diet.

So now people began to use interval training to boost their fat loss, lose weight and gain muscle. From the interval training came many variations of the program that crept its way into infomercials, health clubs and specialty gyms. But even this was not enough for some people. And, as with most things in life, someone decided to come up with a better way of doing this.

Metabolic Resistance Training: Welcome to a New You

Craig Ballantyne, a trainer and fitness writer with a “PhD in metabolic resistance training”, came up with the Turbulence Training Program—an interval workout that pushes your body to its limit so you work harder than you ever have before in your life.

What is metabolic training? The program is broken down into three parts: resistance training, conditioning training and fat loss finishers. Each part plays an important role in the program to get the body you want.

Part 1: Metabolic Resistance Training

As the name implies, metabolic resistance training involves working your major muscle groups—and them some. During this part of the program, you perform short-burst workouts with resistance training with little or no rest when transitioning to each exercise so there is no recovery period at all. You just keep going.

You will also use supersets meaning opposing muscle groups will be working so for example, you will do a set of push-ups and then go right into a lower body exercise and then back into an upper body and/or core exercise. This way the muscle group you just worked gets a short rest, but your body is still moving.

In this part of the program, you want to perform the most difficult exercises while your body is still fresh and not yet fatigued. Because you will be using heavier weights and moving at a fast pace, you want to keep the rep count in the six to eight range.

Part 2: Metabolic Conditioning Training

You will continue to work hard in this phase, but your rep count will increase while the difficulty of the exercises will decrease a bit. So now you will be in the eight to twelve range with your reps. You may also want to add in an extra exercise or two here so if you did four exercises in the resistance workout, try doing five or six in this part. Like the resistance portion, keep your pace without resting when moving from one exercise to the next.

Part 3: Metabolic Fat Loss Finishers

After all your hard work, you must now push your body through a fast paced cardiovascular mini marathon. This final part of the program requires the use of only bodyweight exercises. You will be doing a high amount of reps in a short period of time.

Finishers should involve three different exercises each performed for twenty to forty continuous seconds. For example, you can do thirty seconds of mountain climbers, thirty seconds of jumping jacks and thirty seconds of lunge jumps. This circuit should have you going from one exercise to the other with no rest in between. Once you complete the circuit, take a brief (one minute) rest and then repeat the circuit. Ideally, you want to go through it three times.

You do not have to keep to thirty seconds for each exercise. One exercise can be done for twenty seconds, another for forty and the third for sixty. However, you want to mix it up. Just be sure your total time is somewhere between one and two minutes.

Why Use Metabolic Training?

Metabolic training accomplishes two goals—it helps you build muscle and it helps you maintain muscle that you already have. Even more exciting is that it helps you burn fat which is what most people are trying to do. When you do the same workout over and over again, your body hits a plateau meaning it knows what to expect and is well adapted to your routine. Unfortunately, this means weight will stop coming off, you will not be burning much fat nor will you be gaining any more muscle.

With metabolic training, however, the workouts can change all the time. You choose the exercises you want, design your program and then do them on scheduled days. You can also use any type of equipment—dumbbells, barbells, TRX, kettlebells. And with so many exercises to choose from, boredom will never be an issue.

Finally, this type of training cuts your workout time down significantly. You no longer have to pedal endlessly on a stationary bike or climb an innumerable amount of stairs on a stepmill. Metabolic resistance training keeps your heart rate up the entire time you are doing all of the exercises. That is why it works so well.

Recovery Days

Because you will be working incredibly hard during these workouts, your body is going to need to recover so you are ready for the next time you are scheduled for a metabolic resistance training workout. But a recovery day should still involve some type of physical activity, but one that is less intense.

On your off days, you should be doing some serious stretching taking out all the kinks and letting the muscles loosen up. Foam rollers are a great tool for stretching out tight muscles. Aside from this, you want to do something that is active like taking a walk. These off days are also good for interval training. This type of training goes back and forth between low intensity and high intensity exercises but you will be using your bodyweight. Getting in a good thirty minutes of activity on your off days keeps the fat burning momentum going while not killing yourself in the process.

If you have become bored, tired or frustrated with your existing workout program, now is the time to change it up and do something about it. Time and time again, interval/circuit training has been proven to be ten times more effective than steady-state cardiovascular sessions that go on forever. You cannot burn fat on cardiovascular exercise alone. You need to use resistance training and you need to make it challenging.

The Turbulence Training program offers the best method for a quick, effective and results-oriented workout. Instead of spending endless hours trying to figure out what works, visit the Turbulence Training program website at TurbulenceTraining.com and see what people are talking about. Once you get started, the results will amaze you, but they will not surprise you knowing everything you now know about Turbulence Training.

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer