Burning fat and building muscle at the same time. It’s like the Holy Grail of fitness. And yes, it is possible … with the right program and proper dedication.
The best part is it can be done without spending two hours a day in the gym.
Let me walk you through my little routine to show you how.
Got home last night and was not at all interested in the trek to the gym, an hour-long workout, followed by the commute back home. We’ve all been there, too. Just not into it. Or don’t have the time to do it … especially after a long day’s work. And especially on nights when the better-half has reminded us that it’s our turn to cook.
Now, this would be a pretty quick blog post if I decided to skip the workout altogether. That’s not what I did. Instead, I kept it short, sweet and to the point with Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT).
Think of it as the icing on the fat-burning, muscle-building cake.
The goal of an MRT-style workout is to maximize energy expenditure – i.e., burn more fat – while increasing metabolic rate, which in turn improves your body’s ability to burn even more fat throughout the day. And we do this through high-intensity, total-body workouts with minimal periods of rest, and that means less time spent in the gym.
Sign me up.
There are a number of ways to structure an MRT session: weights, kettlebells, resistance bands, and/or bodyweight exercises can all be grouped together in supersets or circuits for your workout. In fact, one of the most popular methodologies in all of fitness, CrossFit, is essentially designed in similar MRT protocols of grouping movements together to maximize time and efficiency.
My favorite style of MRT workouts comes from fellow Certified Turbulence Trainer, Craig Ballantyne. His Turbulence Training system really puts it all together in a time-efficient way. I’d highly recommend viewing his workout system.
We’ve discussed how intervals are one of the most effective methods of fat loss. It’s one of the best ways to cap off a great workout, whether it be sprinting, circuit training or interval training on a bike or treadmill.
Well, Metabolic Resistance Training is kind of a form of interval training. But, these circuits hit the entire body. So, where treadmill intervals might mostly work the leg muscles, a properly-designed MRT program will activate all of the muscle groups. In turn, this promotes even more fat burn and yes, actually build some muscle in the process.
And the awesomeness doesn’t just end at the gym.
MRT workouts also lead to increased Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), or afterburn. In other words, calorie burning is boosted throughout the remainder of the day. So, that 35-minute MRT workout session keeps the body in a fat-burning state and we continue to burn calories and fat even hours after we’ve polished off our last set.(1)
But wait. There’s more.
Another added benefit? Improved cardiovascular capacity. Believe it or not, performing an MRT-style workout can actually improve your body’s ability to handle aerobic training, like jogging. In other words, you’ll get better at those hamster wheel sessions by just adding more interval-style metabolic training into your routine.
And to be honest, you don’t even need a gym to get that metabolic pump. Here’s just a quick sample of how you can craft an MRT workout by using bodyweight-only movements:
Superset No. 1
A1 – Pushups x 1 rep short of failure
A2 – Bulgarian Split Squats x 8 reps/leg
Rest 1 minute and repeat 3 more times
Superset No. 2
B1 – Ski Jumps x 10 reps/side
B2 – Burpees x 10
B3 – Bodyweight Squats x 20
B4 – Jumping Jacks x 20
Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times
That’s a 10-15 minute workout that will leave you gasping for air and looking for a towel to wipe off the sweat. And best of all, no equipment is needed for this one.
So, back to my dilemma last night. Long day of work. No desire to head all the way to the gym to crank out a long workout. Those are the nights you fight through. That’s exactly what I did. I stayed home, actually. But instead of grabbing the remote, turning on the TV and finding some snacks, I completed a 30-minute, full-body workout using my adjustable dumbbells and kettlebells that I have laying around the house.
Absolutely blasted my body. And my entire workout was finished with enough time to cook a culinary masterpiece.
1. Gibala MJ, Mcgee SL. Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training: a little pain for a lot of gain?. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2008;36(2):58-63.