penny barnshaw garage fitness girl

Metabolic Workouts Explained: What they are and how to do them!


There’s a new buzz-word in the fitness industry you may have heard of: metabolic workouts.

As you know, when it comes to exercise, I like to demystify all the jargon so that you are fully informed rather than overwhelmed!

Metabolic workouts combine cardio and strength training for an efficient fat-blasting, muscle building training session.

The intention behind a metabolic workout is to raise your heart rate, increase the number of calories burned, and (through strength training) boost your metabolic rate AFTER the workout, not just while you’re exercising.

It’s that simple!

Metabolic Workouts vs HIIT

Based on the explanation I’ve given, you may be wondering: Isn’t that the same as a HIIT workout?

The answer is that not all HIIT workouts are necessarily metabolic workouts (although some are).

While HIIT workouts may include resistance (for example with dumbbells or bodyweight), metabolic workouts always include resistance in order to maximise metabolic demand on the body. Metabolic workouts also have a shorter rest period than HIIT; they are actually designed especially to really get that heart rate up while building those muscles!

The best metabolic workouts also focus primarily on compound exercises, which means many muscle groups will be working together at the same time.

As you can imagine, it’s a full-on workout!

That’s not to say metabolic workouts are better than HIIT. I like both! (I have created plenty of free HIIT and metabolic workouts on my YouTube channel, all of which I do in my own home!).

It’s worth remembering that all exercise is worthwhile for your mind and body, especially if you enjoy it.

The Benefits of Metabolic workouts:

Here’s a short summary of the benefits of metabolic workouts:

  • They’re excellent for calorie burning and fat loss
  • They help you build muscle
  • Metabolic workouts increase full-body functional strength
  • They provide a time-efficient form of exercise training (most metabolic workouts go for 20 to 30 minutes, and they use super-efficient compound movements)
  • They increase aerobic fitness and anaerobic fitness
  • They increase post-workout caloric expenditure (in other words, they elevate your metabolic rate after your workout, to help you burn more fat).

Exercises for metabolic workouts

If you want to create your own metabolic workout, the best metabolic training exercises are compound strength movements that target multiple muscle groups. You want to keep your rest periods short (40 seconds work with 15 seconds rest is a good guideline), and overall the workout should be no more than 30 minutes.

Some good movements to use include (but are not limited to:

Want to try a metabolic workout for yourself?

Here are two of my favourites. Sign up to my YouTube channel if you enjoy them, because there are more on the way!

30 MIN METCON | Total Body Metabolic Conditioning Workouts
Maximize your caloric burn and increase your metabolic rate with these two total body workouts designed to get you in combat shape. Each workout contains different exercises designed to burn calories, build strength and increase your metabolic rate. In each workout there are 2 circuits to complete 2 x through with 40 seconds work with 15 seconds rest.

Be warned: I’ve added a Tabata superset finisher so we can finish with nothing left in the tank!🥵

Let me know what you think of these workouts! I hope you love them just as much as I enjoyed creating them for you.

Don’t forget to sign up to my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss any of my follow-along workouts. I upload new workouts every week! You can also sign up to my newsletter to say up-to-date and receive free monthly workout calendars.

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