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Complete Metabolic Conditioning 

by Coach Chris Mason

If you Google metabolic conditioning, you will find a common definition. It is a kind of exercise that “increases the storage and delivery of energy for any activity.”

Structuring metabolic conditioning can be challenging in many ways. One must think about what the goal of the session is:

  • Is it straight cardiovascular improvement?
  • Is it to burn fat?
  • Is it to increase flexibility/mobility?
  • Is it a combination of the above?

One must also keep in mind the 40+ years old body does not respond like it did in its 20s. In this article, you will learn how to structure metabolic training for flexibility, mobility, and fitness for the older adult in the same session.

Recent studies have shown that long sessions of cardio alone are ineffective in losing body fat. If you are unsure of this, take a look at an Olympic marathon runner compared to an Olympic sprinter. There is a big difference. The sprinter has full muscles and lower body fat, whereas, the long distance runner has much less muscle mass and a higher body fat.The data suggests that the more muscle we have as we age, the better our quality of life will be. I am not saying that long cardio sessions don’t have their place, because they most certainly do. The key is that it shouldn’t be the foundation for all of your conditioning work. Check out the below comparison: the woman on the left is a marathoner and on the right is a sprinter. They are both in very good shape and should absolutely be commended for their hard work. But, which one looks healthier?

When arranging your workout, be mindful that training should not always be a beat down! In the moment, the workout will quite possibly feel uncomfortable and that is ok.You should feel better after the workout than you did before.The If you leave the gym feeling half dead all of the time, you probably went too hard. It can be difficult to recover in time for your next workout if you are consistently killing yourself in the gym.

A typical template (in order) for this type of training is:

  1. Do an exercise to get the heart rate up (burpees, bike/rower, sprints, high knees, prowler push, mountain climbers, etc)
  2. Do an exercise to either build strength in weak areas (pull aparts, deadlift to high pull, curl/press) or to increase flexibility/mobility (grasshoppers, the animal movements, lateral lunge, etc)
  3. Do an exercise for the trunk/core (planks, crunches, bird dogs, Russian twists, etc),

You would then repeat the above order according to the type of session you are aiming for. The exercises programmed after the initial movement should be done with a strong enough effort to maintain that higher heart rate.

For our 40+ Crowd at L.E.A.N., we use several different methods to keep the workouts fun and exciting. Actually, the key to sustainability in a fitness program is to make sure that people are having fun and smiling. All of us work hard all day at a job. The last thing that we want to do is go somewhere else that seems like a job. At L.E.A.N., we want you to come to a party. We want it to be the best hour of our members’ day!

Here are just some of the ways that we keep things fun and their descriptions:

  1. AMRAP: As Many Rounds (or reps) As Possible. This is timed. Pick 2-6 exercises and do them one right after another. Perform 8-15 reps each exercise for 8-20 minutes. Try to complete as many rounds of these exercises as possible. Repeat the workout next week and try to beat your number.
  2. EMOM: Every Minute On the Minute. Choose 2 exercises, let’s use kettlebell swings and Med ball slams as an example. At the top of every minute (5-12 minutes) do 4-6 reps of each exercise, then rest the remaining portion of that minute. For example, a 10 min EMOM of KB swings and MB slams would go: at 10:00 do 5 swings immediately followed by 5 slams. That should take 20-25 seconds, so the clock should be close to  9:35 remaining, then rest till 9:00, then 5 swings and 5 slams at the top of every minute until the clock hits 0:00.
  3. Tabata: The classic example is on an Airdyne bike, do all out sprints for 30 seconds, then 30 seconds of rest/slow bike pedaling and repeat. Do this for 5-10 minutes. This method can be applied to a circuit as well. An example would be 30 seconds of work/30 seconds rest each, of jumping jacks, russian twists, grasshoppers, bike sprints, bicycle crunch, and row ups. Then take a 1-2min rest and repeat. You don’t have to stick to 30/30, 45/15, 30/20, 30/15, 20/10 are all other options.
  4. Circuit: 4-6 exercises can be done can be 10 reps each, one after another rest for 1 minute after completion of exercises and repeat 3-5 times.
  5. Strong man style: carry, lift, push or pull heavy things for time, in a circuit, as a Tabata, or AMRAP.

The above information should give you the framework you need to plan your own metabolic sessions. If you have any questions or want to try out a class, you can reach us at

Don’t miss our FREE Inaugural “LEAN Metabolic Boot Camp” Class happening Saturday December 15th at 10am! Sign Up for FREE at: