Heard the buzz about metabolic workouts for women? Let’s talk about what they are, whether they’re worth the hype, and how you can get started with them. Read on.
Metabolic conditioning is praised as a workout that allows you to do more in less time.
Touted benefits range from weight loss to muscle building to improving certain health conditions—and all in a very efficient way.
So, is it worth the hype? And if so, how do you get started?
We’ll give you the lowdown on metabolic workouts for women and how you might be able to integrate them into your life.
IMPORTANT: Before starting any new workout—particularly if it’s of the high-intensity variety, check in with your doctor first to see if it’s a good idea for you. And if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious.
In this article: 📝
- What are metabolic workouts?
- Are metabolic workouts the same as HIIT?
- Are metabolic workouts good for weight loss?
- Metabolic exercises for women
What are metabolic workouts?
Metabolic workouts are a type of circuit training that focuses on short bursts of intense exercise using more than one muscle at a time.
As the name suggests, the goal here is to boost the efficiency of your metabolism so that you keep burning calories long after your workout has ended.
To do this, this form of exercise includes both strength and aerobic training.
Whether you’ve heard it from professional athletes, soldiers, or your next-door neighbor, metabolic workouts have a pretty good rep (no pun intended, we swear).
There’s been a surge of recent interest in metabolic workouts, and while the research is still ongoing, here’s what we’re discovering:
Metabolic workouts may:
- Help manage Type 2 Diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
- Have a positive impact on cholesterol.
- Build muscle and improve endurance.
Are metabolic workouts the same as HIIT?
HIIT (or High-Intensity Interval Training) is a type of metabolic workout.
HIIT is cardiovascular exercise that is done at a very high intensity to raise your heart rate for short periods.
These bursts are then accompanied by short rest periods.
Other types of metabolic conditioning that you may have heard of are CrossFit and P90X.
Are metabolic workouts good for weight loss?
Before we answer this, let’s start by saying that weight loss is far from the only goal of exercise, and your health doesn’t depend on being at a certain weight.
Exercise has so many other benefits for your body and mind even if the number on the scale doesn’t budge at all.
That said, metabolic conditioning workouts do happen to be very effective at burning calories, which can lead to weight loss.
Physical activity increases the number of calories you burn.
Combined with reducing the number of calories you eat, this creates a “calorie deficit,” which can lead to weight loss.
But, and this is an important consideration, it takes quite a bit of exercise to get to this point.
So combining diet and exercise is essential if you want to reduce your weight.
So how does metabolic conditioning fit into this picture?
Advocates believe that it not only burns calories during the workout, similar to other physical activities, but also maximizes calorie burn during and after workouts.
That’s because of something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Basically, the effects of the workout continue after you’ve put down your last dumbbell.
And, in practice, it does appear to work.
This study of resistance training and HIIT for women showed that this afterburn was detected up to fourteen hours after a 30-minute workout.
Sounds promising. But the other important thing to mention here is that metabolic training is tough. And exhausting.
So if you prefer a calmer activity that won’t put your body through its paces to this degree, this may not be the right option for you.
Metabolic exercises for women
If you’d like to try a metabolic conditioning workout, here are some of our favorite exercises to try:
- Jump squats. With your feet shoulder-width apart, head into a regular squat. Once you’re down, engage your core and jump up in the air. Land back in a squat position. Repeat.
- Burpees. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower into a squat position and put your hands on the floor. Step or jump your legs back so that you end up in a plank position. From there, reverse the move by jumping your legs back into a squat and then up to standing. Repeat.
- Dumbell step-ups. You need a small step for this one. Dumbbells in hand, step your right foot onto the step, then step your left foot up to meet it. Then reverse it, putting your left foot down on the floor, then your right. Repeat, starting with the left leg this time.
- Floor wipers. Lie on your back with your arms out to the side. Keeping your legs straight, raise them up so your body is at a 90 degree angle. Then lower them to the left, then back up, and then to the right—slowly and with control. Exhale as you bring your legs to center—don’t hold your breath.
- Power jacks. Stand with your feet under your shoulders, your back straight, and your core engaged. Jump down into a squat while bringing your arms up at the same time. Then jump back to the starting position.
- Lunge switch jumps. Legs shoulder-width apart and core engaged, take a big step forward with one of your legs. Once you’re in a lunge, jump up and swap your legs so that the other one is now in front. Repeat.
- Mountain climbers. Begin with your hands on the floor and your body in a straight line (aka a plank). Bring one knee to the center of your stomach and then swap them over quickly. Alternate.
- Flutter kicks. Lie on your back with your hands under your butt. Keep your lower back on the ground as you lift one leg off the floor vertically in line with your hips (or as high as works for your body). Raise the other leg so that it’s hovering just above the floor. Hold and change, so it looks like you’re doing fluttering kicks.
- Box jumps. As you may have guessed, you’ll need a box for this one. Start with a smaller one if you’re a beginner. With the box just in front of you, bend down and bring your arms straight behind you. From here, propel yourself forward so that you jump onto the box, and let your arms swing out in front of you. Now it’s time to reverse that movement. Pro tip? Land back down with bent knees to avoid injury.
What are 15-minute metabolic workouts?
There’s some great news here: particularly when you’re just starting out, your metabolic circuits can be short. That means you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to see results.
For beginners: Think work for 30 seconds, then rest for 15.
Once you’ve built up your fitness a little, you can increase your work-time to 45 seconds while keeping your rest time to 15.
And finally, once you reach pro level, you can try a full 60 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest.
Here’s one way to put that all together in a short beginner workout:
- Short warm-up of stretches to make sure that your body is ready for this!
- 30 seconds of burpees. Rest for 15.
- 30 seconds of power jacks. Rest for 15.
- 30 seconds of box jumps. Rest for 15.
- 30 seconds of jump squats. Rest for 15.
- Repeat this sequence three times.
And remember that while this is supposed to be hard work, it’s not meant to hurt your joints or create extreme muscle agony.
Be gentle with yourself, and listen to your body.
Have a blast!
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