Why You Should Choose Metabolic Conditioning Workout or HIIT?


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Metabolic conditioning workouts are also referred to as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that teach the body to access energy stores effectively during and after a workout.

The exercise time splits up into short bursts of intensive exercise followed by rest periods. The idea is to quickly increase your heart rate then to rest for a period.

These workouts include lifting moderate to heavy weights or performing calisthenics in sets with targeted timed recovery breaks.

This style of exercise elevates the heart rate quickly, adding a cardio component to the strength training regimen and causes the body to burn fat rapidly.


How Metabolic Workouts Work?

The body accesses energy based on the activity being performed. There are rapid, moderate, and slow energy burning modes within the metabolism. Metabolic Conditioning activates them synchronically to maximize caloric burn.

Quick Energy

Power exercises, which are performed quickly, 10 seconds or less, utilize the creatine phosphate pathway to supply the body’s energy needs.

Directing a lot of energy quickly to perform this type of exercise, for example, a power lift, like the clean and jerk, is very demanding.

The intensity of the activity requires a longer recovery time of about three to five minutes.


Moderate Burn

Intense activities of short duration, one to four minutes, access the glycolytic pathway.

Examples of activities, which activate this energy pathway, are lifting weights and running 400m to 800m.

Recovery time for this energy pathway is one to three minutes.

Slow Burn

The aerobic energy pathway is the one most discussed and best understood by the average person. It supports activities of easy to moderate intensity.

This energy pathway draws on stored fat cells to fuel the body’s activities. It can engage for hours.

The rich fuel source of this energy pathway, fat cells, means its recovery time measured in seconds.

The variety  of exercises involved in a Metabolic Conditioning workout, the level of intensity applied to them and the duration of recovery  periods determines which energy pathway becomes activated.

The objective of the exercises in a given session also determines the recovery period allowed for each exercise.

For example, doing bicep curls with a low weight but high repetitions will access the aerobic or slow burn pathway.

Since the objective of this type of workout is to keep the body in an adaptive mode, all of the energy pathways become engaged at some point during the workout.

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HIIT: Fat Burning

Studies have shown that interval training offers higher fat burning and weight loss than normal, slow cardio.

In fact, not only does interval training work better for fat burning, but the interval training workouts are much shorter and require far less workout time than normal cardio workouts.

However, many are reluctant to switch from ineffective cardio to fat burning intervals as according to exercise machines (which are not even 100% accurate), higher amount of calories is burned with the old way.

They are also hung-up on the marathon mentality of always having an elevated heart-rate, which they think is the most important component of a fat burning workout. But that is not true.

Instead, the most important workout factor is how much “WORK” is done. If you increase the intensity of the work, as you do in interval training, then you will do more work and put more stress on the muscles.

Heart rate goes up and then comes way back down during recovery. By doing so, more fat is burned.

What one should know is that the heart rate need not stay constant for 30 minutes for that to happen.

One of the biggest problems many have with interval training is that they do not rest enough during the recovery period.

Because they are addicted to an elevated heart rate, they skimp on the recovery, by either exercising too hard or recovering too little.

This leads to a decrease in the intensity used in the work interval and that might lead to less total work or total fat burning done in that session.

Therefore, the quality and intensity of the work interval should play important role when doing interval training.

This is to say the only time exercising is mainly done during the work interval.

On the other hand, during the recovery interval, one should go as slow as possible without stopping.

This allows your heart rate to recover and for you to be prepared to work really hard in your next work interval.

So, an interval training workout is a time of extremes. You should be going at an 8/10 or 9/10 intensity level in the work interval, and dropping down to a 3/10 in the recovery period.

To give you a perspective, a normal 30 minute cardio workout would be considered a 6/10 intensity level. Try it out yourself!

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Results of HIIT

Metabolic Conditioning workouts can be crafted to maximize desired outcomes: weight loss and fat burning, muscle growth, improved speed, power or endurance.

They also provide faster results, because they apply knowledge of the body’s energy systems strategically.

Work and rest ratios should be applied to ensure the desired results.

Objective: Improve power

Focus: creatine phosphate pathway

Work to rest ratio: 1:10


Objective: Improve sports performance

Focus: creatine phosphate pathway

Work to rest ratio: 1:2


Objective: Improve endurance performance

Focus: aerobic pathway

Work to rest ratio: 4:1


Objective: Burn body fat

Focus: targets the creatine phosphate and aerobic pathways

Work to rest ratio: 1:2 and 3:1 workouts each performed once a week

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Creating HIIT Workout

Creating a workout is pretty straightforward. For example, weighted squats for power performance would be performed for 10 seconds followed by 1.5 to 2 minutes of rest.

Three more power-building exercises, plyometric jumps, broad jumps and plyometric push-ups, would follow to form a circuit.

Each of the exercises would be completed with the same work to rest ratio.

One set of all exercises included in a session forms a circuit. The circuit is usually completed 3 to 4 times.


Implementing Metabolic Conditioning Workouts

Metabolic Conditioning must be done at least two to three times per week to see results.

This approach to exercise activates all three of the body’s energetic pathways during one workout. It is this component of the workout, which makes it so effective.

In addition, the post workout calorie burns associated with these types of workouts last up to 36 hours following exercise and that is what makes this type of workout routine one of the best choices for burning fat.

The workout needs to include 3 to 4 exercises performed in sets based on time intervals with energy pathway based recovery times.

These are intensive workouts and not ideal for beginners who should take care and work up to the fitness level required to perform them.

It is also important to check with your doctor before starting this type of fitness routine.

While they are intensive, their effectiveness and results they provide from very short sessions of exercise make the effort totally worthwhile.

Sample workouts are widely available in fitness forums, online, on workout DVDs, and in magazines.

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Benefits of Metabolic Workouts or HIIT

Recent studies are showing that when it comes to fitness maintenance, less can surely be more.

1. HIIT helps the body reach its maximum capability.

This is not something easily achieved by long exercise periods.

A short burst of exercise gets the heart rate increased to a higher intensity and stimulates the body in ways that can’t be achieved by ‘regular’ exercising.

Therefore, these exercise periods of short bursts of intense exercise can be done by almost everyone and doesn’t necessarily require special equipment or a gym membership.

2. HIIT helps burn fat

Running on a treadmill will burn fat. However, the lower intensity, which the body is working at, doesn’t have the metabolic benefits of short bursts of exercise.

When you have an intense burst of exercise you create an oxygen debt. The body will have to use energy to recover from this and this happens during the rest period.

Therefore, you keep burning fat when you are resting. This also increases the body’s metabolism.

All exercising increases the levels of the hormone cortisol. What cortisol does in the body is to break down muscle and stall fat loss.

Thus, although you are burning energy, you aren’t necessarily losing a lot of fat.

Unlike regular exercising, short bursts of exercise raise muscle-building hormones (anabolic) and human growth hormones resulting in more fat burned compared with regular exercising.

Therefore, short bursts of exercise together with rest periods boost the body’s immunity, reduce inflammation, and stimulate fat burning properties.

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3. HIIT improves heart health

A study on teenagers in England found that short bursts of exercise could help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes in later life.

It showed improvements in how the brain controls heartbeats and in the function of blood vessels. In adults, it was noted that heart structure was improved.

4. HIIT helps Type 2 Diabetes

Many studies now show that High-Intensity Interval Training helps type 2 diabetes suffers to control blood sugar more effectively than ‘traditional’ exercising.

One study in Canada reported that participants over a three month period subject to HIIT regime showed a larger reduction in cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Their heart health was better and in general lost more weight.

It was also noted that it was easier for people to incorporate a high-intensity exercising schedule into their weekly routine and therefore were more willing to continue the exercise program.

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5. HIIT helps fit in your busy schedule

It seems from various studies that even shorter ‘burst exercise’ periods of under a minute or so can also have significant health benefits. This means that most people will be able to fit HIIT into their schedule.

For many it is also a more enjoyable form of exercise.

Endurance exercise – running for half an hour or so on a treadmill can be physically and mentally draining for many.

Others just don’t have the time to go to the gym 2 or 3 times a week.

Some have used the excuse that they’ve “no time for exercise.”

Studies into the benefits of short bursts of exercise have shown the all find the time to keep them fit and healthy.

Numbers 2 and 5 are good enough for me, how about you?

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Which One: High Intensity or Low Intensity Workout?

high intensity or low intensity workouts

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What are your workout routines and what are their results so far? It is beneficial to check your actual workouts and your progress with those.

When you are still starting or reworking your exercise program, consider the intensity level.

Both high intensity and low-intensity workouts have their advantages. It all depends on what your fitness goals are.

Now let’s make some comparison between low-intensity workouts with high-intensity workouts.

Hopefully, this helps in finding what will be your focus in your exercise program.

High Intensity

This is the most popular type of exercise these days because it gives more results in less time.

We are all hard pressed for time nowadays and many would rather get their workout done and over with so they can move on to their many other responsibilities.

High intensity burns more calories because you reach about 75% or your maximum heart rate as opposed to only 50% of your maximum heart during low-intensity workouts.

Your metabolism will be really pumping and you will continue to burn more calories after completing high-intensity workouts.

You also burn more calories from fat per minute than you would do a low-intensity workout.


If your goal is to burn fat, gain strength, and do it in less time, high-intensity workouts the right choice for you.


It should be noted that high-intensity workouts should not be overdone as it could be very taxing on the body and cause a burnout.

It is best to perform high-intensity workouts within 20 to 30 minutes and not beyond an hour.

Examples of high-intensity workouts are sprinting, interval training with bodyweight exercises and plyometrics.

Read here about HIIT for more information: http://prcvir.com/blog/what-to-know-about-metabolic-conditioning-workouts-or-hiit/

Low Intensity

Low-intensity workouts are more traditional but don’t provide as many results as high-intensity workouts. That’s not to say that low-intensity workouts are a waste of time.

Many people enjoy a low-intensity workout and have the time to dedicate to it and there is nothing wrong with that. Some find that a low-intensity workout is much more stress relieving.

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Although it takes much more time to get the results you would see from high-intensity workouts, you can still burn fat with low-intensity workouts. In fact, it is the best workout for certain cases.

The elderly usually can’t do high-intensity workouts but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to get in their cardio. Low-intensity workouts allow them to stay fit and healthy without the risk of injury.

What about those who already have injuries? They can’t perform a high-intensity workout either. Again, low-intensity workouts are good for them.

Also, there are fitness professionals who are trying to lose that last inch of fat without losing any muscle.

They are eating a very strict low-calorie diet and wouldn’t want to do high-intensity workouts as this would deplete their muscle mass.

So, they perform low-intensity workouts to get rid of fat without losing precious muscle.

Examples of low-intensity workouts are: jogging on a trail or treadmill, simple cycling, elliptical machines without intervals, or water aerobics.

How about a combination of high intensity and low intensity exercises?

Here’s an example of doing so and why it is a successful recipe.

How to Incorporate Yoga to Your HIIT Fitness Routine

As a fitness buff and a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) practitioner, incorporating yoga to your regular routine is truly one of the best ways to add more spice and variety to your practice.

While most people think that yoga and HIIT are worlds apart, and incomparable, incorporating them can only lead to positive gains in your fitness and overall health.

Mixing up fitness routines prevents burnout. It also allows for the use of muscles that aren’t often used in the usual HIIT routine.

Plus, yoga helps build muscles in the upper body, thanks to its challenging strengthening poses.

As a matter of fact, even the most experienced bodybuilders will find it difficult to execute some of strengthening poses of this ancient art.

The Benefits of Adding Yoga to Your Fitness Routine

As you combine yoga with your HIIT routine, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. In yoga, practitioners get to enjoy a plethora of health benefits, including weight loss, stress reduction, flexibility and increased fitness.

Not to mention, yoga helps manage chronic conditions, such as sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and pain.

HIIT, on the other hand, results in overall improvement in physique, toned muscles, better bone density, prevention of muscle loss, and flexibility in joints.

Of course, it also helps weight management because it burns more fat than any other cardio workout.

Yoga is a low-impact and effective way to lose a few calories during your non-HIIT days, without compromising your recovery.

In addition, this ancient art helps prevent injuries from your intense HIIT workouts.

With yoga, you are flushing out excess lactic acid in your over-worked muscles, helping you reduce your chances of experiencing stiffness and soreness that can make your next HIIT workout a lot more challenging.

Yoga, ultimately, draws oxygen into your muscles, allowing them to perform in a more efficient manner as well as become stronger.

The Ideal Yoga Style to Pair with Your HIIT Program

As with HIIT, yoga comes in a variety of styles and form. As expected, each yoga style or discipline has its own specific goals.

There are some yoga styles that are tailored for those who want to build strength, while others are designed for stretching, meditation, and relaxation.

But in this case, you should stay away from Vinyasa style and other power yoga styles, as it can stunt muscle growth.

Furthermore, combining these yoga styles with your HIIT routine can make it difficult for your tissues to recover.

Just imagine doing a power yoga session the day after a vigorous full-body HIIT workout with dumbbells and kettlebells.  Your body may not have enough energy to execute the demanding flows of Vinyasa.

However, if you opt for a lighter style of yoga, then this ancient practice can be a great complementary restorative workout for your HIIT program.

Hatha Yoga and HIIT: A Winning Combination

The best yoga style you can pair with your regular routine is Hatha. Founded in India more than five centuries ago, Hatha is a gentle, slow-paced yoga style that is focused on meditation and breathing.

With Hatha, you get to improve breathing, relieve stress and stretch out fatigue muscles. Moreover, it introduces you to the relaxation techniques and basic poses of yoga.


As a form of active recovery, yoga can be practiced during your off days, when you are not doing any cardio workouts and intense exercises.

A good and relaxing yoga session will only take thirty minutes to an hour.

It is also possible to practice yoga after an exhaustive workout.  It’s good for stretching, cooling down, and restoring the body to its normal functions.

In this case, yoga can help balance your energy after a stimulating activity like a full-body HIIT workout.

Can You Handle It?

Anyone who regularly participates in HIIT workouts can pretty much handle anything.

High-Intensity Interval Training is one of the most intense workouts in fitness, and Hatha yoga in comparison is like taking a nap, at least as far as exertion and endurance are concerned, though the poses are no cake walk.

Learn the proper way to do Hatha yoga by taking a class with a qualified instructor or by purchasing any one of the great Hatha Yoga workout programs on DVD, like Hatha Yoga on the Forgotten Coast or Element: Hatha & Flow Yoga For Beginners, both available on Amazon.

It is important to learn the proper techniques for the poses and breathing exercises to get the most out of incorporating yoga into your HIIT fitness lifestyle.

Now, which do you think you would benefit from?

Many would choose to do high-intensity workouts for the best results, but understandably there are some who would say that low intensity is all they can handle.

Even if the high intensity is your workout of choice, there may be days where you don’t feel up to a hard workout but getting in anything is better than nothing. This is when low-intensity workouts will come in handy.

Therefore, you can be flexible in having both or in mixing up your exercise routines.

Whether you choose high intensity or low intensity, consistency is the key. Any workout program that you follow regularly will serve you in promoting good health, healthy weight management, and effective weight management.

How about a combination of high intensity and low-intensity exercises? Here’s an example of doing so and why it is a successful recipe.

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